Henry James, Sr.

Henry
James, Sr.
1811
1882

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

Need and struggle are what excite and inspire us; our hour of triumph is what brings the void. Not the Jews of the captivity, but those of the days of Solomon's glory are those from whom the pessimistic utterances in our Bible come.

The best way to define a man's character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensely active and alive. At such moments there is a voice inside which speaks and says: 'This is the real me!'

Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct while in the plastic state.

I myself believe that the evidence for God lies primarily in inner personal experiences.

It is a fact that in each of us, when awake (and often when asleep), some kind of consciousness is always going on. There is a stream, a succession of states, or waves, or fields (or of whatever you please to call them), of knowledge, of feeling, of desire, of deliberation, etc., that constantly pass and re-pass, and that constitute our inner life. The existence of this stream is the primal fact, the nature and origin of it form the essential problem, of our science.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.

Each of us is in fact what he is almost exclusively by virtue of his imitativeness. We become conscious of what we ourselves are by imitating others.

I originally studied medicine in order to be a physiologist, but I drifted into psychology and philosophy from a sort of fatality. I never had any philosophic instruction, the first lecture on psychology I ever heard being the first I ever gave.

It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live at all.

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul, none is more gladdening or fruitful than to know You can regenerate and make yourself what you will.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

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

I will act as if what I do makes a difference.

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

One hearty laugh together will bring enemies into a closer communion of heart than hours spent on both sides in inward wrestling with the mental demon of uncharitable feeling.

The first lecture in psychology that I ever heard was the first I ever gave.

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

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.

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