Henry James, Sr.

James, Sr.

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

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

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.

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 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.

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

A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain.

As we take, in fact, a general view of the wonderful stream of our consciousness, what strikes us first is this different pace of its parts. Like a bird's life, it seems to be made of an alternation of flights and perchings.

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.

Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.

A man has as many social selves as there are individuals who recognize him.

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

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.

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American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James