Great Throughts Treasury

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

William Ralph Inge

English Prelate, Dean of Westminster, Writer

"Civilization is being poisoned by its own waste products."

"Consciousness is a phase of mental life which arises in connection with the formation of new habits. When habit is formed, consciousness only interferes to spoil our performance."

"Deliberate cruelty to our defenseless and beautiful little cousins is surely one of the meanest and most detestable vices of which a human being can be guilty."

"Democracy is only an experiment in government, and it has the obvious disadvantage of merely counting votes instead of weighing them."

"Don't get up from the feast of life without paying for your share of it."

"Each generation takes a special pleasure in removing the household gods of its parents from their pedestals, and consigning them to the cupboard."

"Events in the past may be roughly divided into those which probably never happened and those which do not matter."

"Every institution not only carries within it the seeds of its own dissolution, but prepares the way for its most hated rival."

"Experience is a good teacher, though her fees are terribly high."

"Experience proves that none is so cruel as the disillusioned sentimentalist."

"Faith begins as an experiment, and ends as an experience."

"Faith is an act of rational choice, which determines us to act as if certain things were true, and in the confident expectation that they will prove to be true."

"Faith is an act of self-consecration, in which the will, the intellect, and the affections all have their place."

"For better or worse, man is the tool-using animal, and as such he has become the lord of creation. When he is lord also of himself, he will deserve his self-chosen title homo sapiens."

"Gambling is a disease of barbarians superficially civilized."

"He who loves not his home and country which he has seen, how shall he love humanity in general which he has not seen?"

"How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive o all they do, and of all they are willing to endure."

"I have no fear that the candle lighted in Palestine years ago will ever be put out."

"I think middle-age is the best time, if we can escape the fatty degeneration of the conscience which often sets in at about fifty."

"In dealing with Englishmen you can be sure of one thing only, that the logical solution will not be adopted."

"In imperialism nothing fails like success. If the conqueror oppresses his subjects, they will become fanatical patriots, and sooner or later have their revenge; if he treats them well, and governs them for their good, they will multiply faster than their rulers, till they claim their independence."

"In praising science, it does not follow that we must adopt the very poor philosophies which scientific men have constructed. In philosophy they have much more to learn than to teach."

"Individuals are occasionally guided by reason, crowds never."

"It is a harder and a nobler task to preserve detachment in a crowd than in a cell; the little daily sacrifices of family life are often a greater trial than self-imposed mortifications."

"It is becoming impossible for those who mix at all with their fellow-men to believe that the grace of God is distributed denominationally."

"It is quite natural and inevitable that, if we spend sixteen hours daily of our waking lives in thinking about the affairs of the world and five minutes in thinking about God and our souls, this world will seem two hundred times more real to us than God."

"It is said that Mr. Gladstone could persuade most people of most things, and himself of anything."

"It is useless for the sheep to pass resolutions in favor of vegetarianism, while the wolf remains of a different opinion."

"It was said that Mr. Gladstone could persuade most people of most things, and himself of anything."

"Let none of us delude himself by supposing that honesty is always the best policy. It is not."

"Let us remember, when we are inclined to be disheartened, that the private soldier is a poor judge of the fortunes of a great battle."

"Literature flourishes best when it is half a trade and half an art."

"Love remembered and consecrated by grief belongs, more clearly than the happy intercourse of friends, to the eternal world; it has proved itself stronger than death."

"Man as we know him is a poor creature; but he is half-way between an ape and a god, and he is travelling in the right direction."

"Many people believe that they are attracted by God, or by Nature, when they are only repelled by man."

"Mysticism may be defined as the attempt to realize the presence of the living God in the soul and in nature, or, more generally, as the attempt to realize, in thought and feeling, the immanence of the temporal in the eternal, and of the eternal in the temporal."

"No healthy civilization can ever be reared on a foundation of devitalized work."

"No word in our language ? not even "Socialism"? has been employed more loosely than "Mysticism." ? The history of the word begins in close connexion with the Greek mysteries. A mystic is one who has been, or is being, initiated into some esoteric knowledge of Divine things, about which he must keep his mouth shut?"

"Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful or to discover something that is true."

"Of all tyrannies a country can suffer, the worst is the tyranny of the majority."

"Originality is undetected plagiarism."

"Originality, I fear, is too often only undetected and frequently unconscious plagiarism."

"Our test is infallible. Whatever view of reality deepens our sense of the tremendous issues of life in the world wherein we move, is for us nearer the truth than any view which diminishes that sense."

"Over-population is a phenomenon connected with the survival of the unfit, and it is a mechanism which has created conditions favorable to the survival of the unfit and the elimination of the fit."

"Patriotism varies, from a noble devotion to a moral lunacy."

"Perhaps the most lasting pleasure in life is the pleasure of not going to church."

"Philosophy means thinking things out for oneself. Ultimately, there can be only one true philosophy, since reason is one and we all live in the same world."

"Prayer gives a man the opportunity of getting to know a gentleman he hardly ever meets. I do not mean his maker, but himself."

"So the pendulum swings, now violently, now slowly; and every institution not only carries within it the seeds of its own dissolution, but prepares the way for its most hated rival."

"Such as men themselves are, such will God appear to them to be; and such as God appears to them to be, such will they show themselves in their dealings with their fellow men."