Henry James, Sr.

James, Sr.

American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James

Author Quotes

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second.

Religion, whatever it is, is a man's total reaction upon life.

Circumstance does not make me, it reveals me.

Human beings, by changing the inner attitude of their minds, can change the outer aspect of their lives.

In modern eyes, precious though wars may be they must not be waged solely for the sake of the ideal harvest. Only when forced upon one, is a war now thought permissible.

My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will.

The aim of a college education is to teach you to know a good man when you see one.

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.

I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big success. I am for those tiny, invisible, loving, human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of pride.

In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly.

My thinking is first and last and always for the sake of my doing.

The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

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.

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.

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American Theologian and Swedenborgian, Father of William and Henry James