Most critical writing is drivel and half of it is dishonest. It is a short cut to oblivion, anyway. Thinking in terms of ideas destroys the power to think in terms of emotions and sensations.

Each man must grant himself the emotions that he needs and the morality that suits him.

The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts.

It is mankind's discovery of language which more than any other single thing has separated him from the animal creation. Without language, what concept have we of past or future as separated from the immediate present? Without language, how can we tell anyone what we feel, or what we think? It might be said that until he developed language, man had no soul, for without language how could he reach deep inside himself and discover the truths that are hidden there, or find out what emotions he shared, or did not share, with his fellow men and women. But because this greatest gift of all gifts is in daily use, and is smeared, and battered and trivialized by commonplace associations, we too often forget the splendor of which it is capable, and the pleasures that it can give, from the pen of a master.

Maybe there's a chance to get back to grown-up films. Anything that uses humor and dramatic values to deal with human emotions and gets down to what people are to people.

But our gusty emotions say to me that we have tasted heaven many times: these delicacies are left over from some larger party.

Until a man has expressed his emotion, he does not yet know what emotion it is. The act of expressing it is therefore an exploration of his own emotions. He is trying to find out what these emotions are.

Literature is an art, and the essence of all art is mood.

When I was a small boy I was always being told by others, especially grown-ups, to behave, to be good. It never occurred to me that I was always behaving in some manner. But I didn't have the awareness or skill to ask those grown-ups what they meant when they told me to behave and to be good. Now I realize that all they wanted was for me to conform to their idea of what was good and not to do what they called bad behavior, which they sometimes changed at will. Even today people are still telling me how I should behave, but now I ask what they mean and sometimes it drives them up a wall.

Most people today fail to recognize that happiness is a fairly recent aspiration of the human race. For most of history, survival was the goal.

For I am actually not at all a man of science, not an observer, nor an experimenter, not a thinker. I am by temperament nothing but a conquistador—an adventurer... with all the curiosity, daring, and tenacity characteristic of a man of this sort.

War strips off the later deposits of civilization and allows the primitive man in us to reappear. It forces us again to be heroes who cannot believe in their own death, it stamps all strangers as enemies whose death we ought to cause or wish; it counsels us to rise above the death of those whom we love. But war cannot be abolished; as long as the conditions of existence among races are so varied and the repulsions between them are so vehement, there will have to be wars. The question then arises whether we shall be the ones to yield and adapt ourselves to it. Shall we not admit that in our civilized attitude towards death we have again lived psychologically beyond our means? Shall we not turn around and avow the truth? Were it not better to give death the place to which it is entitled both in reality and in our thoughts and to reveal a little more of our unconscious attitude towards death which up to now we have so carefully suppressed? This may not appear a very high achievement and in some respects rather a step backwards, a kind of regression, but at least it has the advantage of taking the truth into account a little more and of making life more bearable again. To bear life remains, after all, the first duty of the living. The illusion becomes worthless if it disturbs us in this.

It's completely stupid to write love letters, cannot be reproduced by a simple letter, but what to do when this terrible ocean separates us from the man we love?

I was helping Uncle Sam to make dollars. Maybe mine were not as good gold as his, but they looked as well and were cheaper to make.

The test of a work is our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good.

The first qualification for a historian is to have no ability to invent.

The deepest cause ...of the present devastation is found in a mode of consciousness that has established a radical discontinuity between the human and other modes of being and the bestowal of all rights on the humans.

There is a set of people whom I cannot bear—the pinks of fashionable propriety,—whose every word is precise, and whose every movement is unexceptionable, but who, though versed in all the categories of polite behaviour, have not a particle of soul or cordiality about them. We allow that their manners may be abundantly correct. There may be eloquence in every gesture, and gracefulness in every position; not a smile out of place, and not a step that would not bear the measurement of the severest scrutiny. This is all very fine: but what I want is the heart and gaiety of social intercourse; the frankness that spreads ease and animation around it; the eye that speaks affability to all, that chases timidity from every bosom, and tells every man in the company to be confident and happy. This is what I conceive to be the virtue of the text, and not the sickening formality of those who walk by rule, and would reduce the whole of human life to a wire-bound system of misery and constraint.

Those who refuse His mercy satisfy His justice in another way. Without His mercy, they cannot love Him. Without love for Him they cannot be 'justified' or 'made just'. That is to say: they cannot conform to Him Who is love. Those who have not received His mercy are in a state of injustice with regard to Him. It is their own injustice that is condemned by His justice. And in what does their injustice consist? In the refusal of His mercy.

The mystical theory of ethics is logically forced into the position of maintaining that all love (though not necessarily all kinds of appetition), whether in men or in animals, arises out of mystical experience either explicit or latent. The mystical theory can thus only maintain itself by supposing that mystical experience is latent in all living beings, but that in most men and in all animals it is profoundly submerged in the subconscious; and that it throws up influences above the threshold in the form of feelings of sympathy and love. To say that I love or sympathize with another living being is to say that I feel his feelings -- for instance that I suffer when he suffers or rejoice when he rejoices. The mystical theory will allege that this phenomenon is an incipient and partial breaking down of the barriers and partitions which separate the two individual selves; and if this breakdown were completed, it would lead to an actual identity of the “I” and the “he.” Love is thus a dim groping towards that disappearance of individuality in the Universal Self which is part of the essence of mysticism.