Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Philip Wylie, fully Philip Gordon Wylie

American Syndicated Newspaper Columnist, Playwright, Novelist, Short-Story Writer and Science Fiction Author

"Ignorance is not bliss - it is oblivion."

"God must hate common people, because he made them so common."

"One good teacher in a lifetime may sometimes change a delinquent into a solid citizen"

"A few suits of clothes, some money in the bank, and a new kind of fear constitute the main differences between the average American today and the hairy men with clubs who accompanied Attila to the city of Rome."

"Our history is every human history; a black and gory business, with more scoundrels than wise men at the lead, and more louts than both put together to cheer and follow."

"Material blessings, when they pay beyond the category of need, are weirdly fruitful of headache."

"If liberty has any meaning it means freedom to improve."

"Light was the symbol I tried to give them...The Cross was the symbol they adopted. The pain of self-sacrifice was obvious to them. The subjective reward--incomprehensible. Thus they changed it all. I told them of many mansions. They chose this mansion or that--scoured each other off the earth, to set one heaven in place of the heaven of those they defeated. Holy wars! Is such a thing conceivable to God as a holy war? Alas. The words--the images--the effort is still uncomprehended. I said Light. I said truth. I said Freedom. I meant enlightenment. Yet nearly every church that uses my name is a wall against light and a rampart against enlightenment, using fear, not love, to chain the generations in terror and pain and ignorance . . . And now--this is called civilization, and in my name, also!"

"There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action."

"The novelist now usurps the chair of the educator, the pulpit of the preacher, the columns of the journalist. Yet his original purpose of entertaining may have been his highest purpose."

"Superiority and inferiority are individual, not racial or national."

"The first gold star a child gets in school for the mere performance of a needful task is its first lesson in graft."

"Since half the human beings who apply to a doctor for care arrive in the waiting room with a psychological cause for their physical complaint, it is necessary only to convince them that the treatment is going to succeed for it to do so."

"Absolute dominion of a powerful people by a minority always produces national aggression."

"A thought that had been in the archives of his mind for many months came sharply into relief: of all human beings alive, the scientists were the only ones who retained imagination, ideals, and a sincere interest in the larger world. It was to them he should give his allegiance, not to the statesmen, not to industry or commerce or war."

"But you don't know how to read anymore! When you open a book, you do it in the faith and assurances that you are already master of what it contains and that the author has written only so you may prove him wrong!"

"But we are as other men, exactly. Of one blood, one species, one brain, one figure, one fundamental set of collective instincts, one solitary body of information, one everything. Superiority and inferiority are individual, not racial or national."

"Common man has at long last got himself so far out of gear with nature and his environment that he is beginning to see the shape of extinction, whether he recognizes it as such or not."

"I don't believe they are [women mutilated by marriage]. I believe that what mutilates them, in her sense, is the great... is a parable ageless misunderstanding, since the evolution of man from animals, cultures have pended before they had knowledge of their real anatomy, the real physiology, the real nature of human beings, through the medical and the scientific knowledge that we have. They just assumed from the distance an event between the sexes and the strength of man, that women were inferior. And they've been treated that way ever since. And indeed, our whole... our whole culture assumes that in many senses."

"Few men, indeed, are so mad that they do not know when they are doing wrong. But so avid is their pursuit of goods that wrongdoing has become an element of all they do. To protest that fact is idle. Our politics, our business ? little and big, our professions, our labor, are smitten in every facet with a corruption occasioned by reckless determination to make not just a reasonable profit but all the profit that can be wrung from every enterprise. Our commonest man, emulating his superiors, forges ahead with a brick on the safety valve of his conscience. Think over your morning paper in that light."

"Faith's the agreement to abandon detachment, John! To supplant a packaged security for open integrity. To agree not to learn anymore. It is the acceptance of a channel, by a man who was previously able to move on the whole terrain"

"I don't like people--much. This kind, I mean. And they don't like me at all, as a rule. Maybe the latter explains the former."

"I think this is getting at the heart of one of the things I protest most. Because about a hundred years ago it began to be apparent to Americans that our technology in mass production could give to multitudes, to the majority, maybe everybody, ease, comfort, luxury, possessions that have belonged further to only the king. And men, women, and everybody went for that, and the... the real authority in men historically is rested on their knowledge of the arts, their sensitivity, their appreciation of music, their knowledge of literature, their awareness of sciences, a man and we still have that feeling in Charlie Van Doren."

"It dawned upon everybody that Aggie, at perhaps a hundred and sixty pounds and five feet nine and a half, was, as Beth later said, 'dynamite in the physical culture department."

"The blame for Armageddon lies on man. And the millennium will come only when the average man exhibits a scientific integrity about all he is and does ? instead of half of it. Many a psychological Archimedes has put signposts on the hard road man must follow if he is to avoid self-destruction and come into his own. A few very great modern scientists have added to the lore. Indications of what man may expect of himself are everywhere at hand. But most men must first be persuaded that the task lies ahead and not behind ? that we are infants still, with loaded guns for toys."

"Not to understand the doer is to have no certain knowledge of what has been done, or why it was undertaken"

"The businessmen have corrupted liberty by trying to propose it as a material quality."

"Religion was a way to give himself a system of what to do and what not to do. In other words to replace what animals did automatically but it had symbols that explained: Does God?"

"Simone de Beauvoir made a wonderful case for the abuses of women through history, and in our culture. But, I think that that had nothing to do with my feeling. I wrote a book once, called ?The Disappearance,? to show what would happen if all the men mysteriously vanished, and also the other half of the book, that the women vanished from the men. Then I ended my book by saying something like this, "There is no such thing as a person without both sexes. There is not just a man alone, or a woman alone.""

"The church has stood, a rock colossus of bigotry, in the path of ten thousand proposed reforms. Sane efforts to legalize birth control information, the manufacture of proper birth control appliances, appliances for the inhibition of the spread of venereal disease, public instruction in sex hygiene, free clinics for the treatment of venereal disease, the inspection and treatment of prostitutes, controlled prostitution itself, the publication of psychological and physical sex information, aid for unwed mothers?myriad attempts by sane men acting sanely on real problems ? have been fought down by church-frightened legislatures and church-dominated courts."

"The mealy look of men today is the result of momism and so is the pinched and baffled fury in the eyes of womankind."

"There are in America from fifteen to twenty million religious fundamentalists who are dedicated to doctrines incompatible with democracy in that they insist on their prerogatives as first principles. An even larger group feebly follows the trail of fire breathed by those fundamentalists. They are the most dangerous minority we have because they categorically eschew the reasoned judgments of the majority. Democracy properly allows them the right to worship as they choose. It should never have conceded them the right to establish schools. Education is not a function of any church ? or even of a city ? or a state; it is a function of all mankind."

"There is no advance without strife."

"What egotism, what stupid vanity, to suppose that a thing could not happen because you could not conceive it!"

"Great men with great truths have seldom had much support from their associates."

"The chaos of our society is the product of the dishevelment of our desires."

"The Sabbath is the link between the paradise which has passed away, and the paradise which is yet to come."

"Truth cannot be escaped within, any more than it can be escaped without."

"The sex instinct is one of the three or four prime movers of all that we do and are and dream, both individually and collectively."