Henry James, Sr.

James, Sr.

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

Philosophy is at once the most sublime and the most trivial of human pursuits.

The ideas gained by men before they are twenty-five are practically the only ideas they shall have in their lives.

Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor.

If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it.

Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly.

Pretend what we may, the whole man within us is at work when we form our philosophical opinions. Intellect, will, taste, and passion co-operate just as they do in practical affairs; and lucky it is if the passion be not something as petty as a love of personal conquest over the philosopher across the way.

The impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race.

He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.

If you want a quality, act as if you already had it.

Modern war is so expensive that we feel trade to be a better avenue to plunder; but modern man inherits all the innate pugnacity and all the love of glory of his ancestors.

Religion is the monumental chapter in the history of human egotism.

The man whose acquisitions stick is the man who is always achieving and advancing whilst his neighbors, spending most of their time in relearning what they once knew but have forgotten, simply hold their own.

A paradise of inward tranquility seems to be faith's usual result.

A thing is important if anyone think it important.

Acceptance of what happened is the first step to overcoming the consequence of any misfortune.

Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.

Action may not bring happiness but there is no happiness without action.

Alexander's career was piracy pure and simple, nothing but an orgy of power and plunder, made romantic by the character of the hero. There was no rational purpose in it, and the moment he died his generals and governors attacked one another.

All natural goods perish. Riches take wings; fame is a breath; love is a cheat; youth and health and pleasure vanish.

All our scientific and philosophic ideals are altars to unknown gods.

All the higher, more penetrating ideals are revolutionary. They present themselves far less in the guise of effects of past experience than in that of probable causes of future experience.

An act has no ethical quality whatever unless it be chosen out of several all equally possible.

An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation.

An unlearned carpenter of my acquaintance once said in my hearing: "There is very little difference between one man and another; but what little there is, is very important." This distinction seems to me to go to the root of the matter.

As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use.

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American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James