Henry James, Sr.

Henry
James, Sr.
1811
1882

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

Earnestness means willingness to live with energy, though energy brings pain.

If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick.

It makes a tremendous emotional and practical difference to one whether one accepts the universe in the drab discolored way of stoic resignation to necessity, or with the passionate happiness of Christian saints.

Only necessity understood, and bondage to the highest is identical with true freedom.

The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.

Every man who has reached even his intellectual teens begins to suspect that life is no farce; that it is not genteel comedy even; that it flowers and fructifies on the contrary out of the profoundest tragic depths of the essential dearth in which its subject's roots are plunged. The natural inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an un-subdued forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters.

If merely 'feeling good' could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.

Keep the faculty of effort alive in you by a little gratuitous exercise every day. That is, be systematically ascetic or heroic in little unnecessary points, do every day or two something for no other reason than that you would rather not do it, so that when the hour of dire need draws nigh, it may find you not unnerved and untrained to stand the test.

Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that assures the successful outcome of any venture.

The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.

Every man who possibly can should force himself to a holiday of a full month in a year, whether he feels like taking it or not.

If theological ideas prove to have a value for concrete life, they will be true, for pragmatism, in the sense of being good for so much. How much more they are true, will depend entirely on their relations to the other truths that also have to be acknowledged.

Let everything you do be done as if it makes a difference.

Our esteem for facts has not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devout.

The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.

Every way of classifying a thing is but a way of handling it for some particular purpose.

If there is aught of good in the style, it is the result of ceaseless toil in rewriting. Everything comes out wrong with me at first; but when once objectified I can torture and poke and scrape and pat it till it offends me no more.

Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.

Our lives are like islands in the sea, or like trees in the forest. The maple and the pine may whisper to each other with their leaves... but the trees also commingle their roots in the darkness underground, and the islands also hang together through the ocean's bottom.

The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.

First, you know, a new theory is attacked as absurd; then it is admitted to be true, but obvious and insignificant; finally it is seen to be so important that its adversaries claim that they themselves discovered it.

If things are ever to move upward, someone must take the first step, and assume the risk of it. No one who is not willing to try charity, to try non-resistance as the saint is always willing, can tell whether these methods will or will not succeed.

Many persons nowadays seem to think that any conclusion must be very scientific if the arguments in favor of it are derived from twitching of frogs' legs (especially if the frogs are decapitated) and that, on the other hand, any doctrine chiefly vouched for by the feelings of human beings (with heads on their shoulders) must be benighted and superstitious.

Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.

The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way.

Author Picture
First Name
Henry
Last Name
James, Sr.
Birth Date
1811
Death Date
1882
Bio

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James