A small trouble is like a pebble. Hold it too close to your eye and it fills the whole world and puts everything out of focus. Hold it at a proper viewing distance and it can be examined and properly classified. Throw it at your feet and it can be seen in its true setting, just one more tiny bump on the pathway to eternity.
There is no outward sign of politeness which has not a deep, moral reason. Behavior is a mirror in which every one shows his own image. There is a politeness of the heart akin to love, from which springs the easiest politeness of outward behavior... Politeness is not always a sign of wisdom, but the want of it always leaves room for the suspicion of folly.
Man is in his actions and practice, as well as in his fictions, essentially a story-telling animal. He is not essentially, but becomes through is history, a teller of stories that aspire to truth. But the key question for men is not about their own authorship; I can only answer the question ‘What am I to do?’ if I can answer the prior question, ‘Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?’ We enter human society, that is, with one or more imputed characters - roles into which we have been drafted - and we have to learn what they are in order to be able to understand how others respond to us and how our responses to them are a part to be construed... Deprive children of stories and you leave them unscripted, anxious strutters in their actions as in their words. Hence there is no way to give us an understanding of any society, including our own, except through the stock of stories which constitute its initial dramatic resource. Mythology, in its original sense, is at the heart of things. Vico was right and so was Joyce. And so too of course is that moral tradition fro heroic society to its medieval heirs according to which the telling of stories has a key part in educating us into the virtues.
Age, when it does not harden the heart and sour the temper, naturally returns to the milky disposition of infancy. Time as the same effect upon the mind as on the face. The predominant passion, the strongest feature, becomes more conspicuous from the others retiring.
Laughter, indeed, is God’s therapy... in order that we might understand that at the heart of our mortal existence there lies a mystery, at once unutterably beautiful and hilariously funny.
Petty vexations may at times be petty, but still they are vexations. The smallest and most inconsiderable annoyances are the most piercing. As small letters weary the eye most, so also the smallest affairs disturb us most.
If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless, since their chief purpose is to make us bear with patience the injustice of our fellows.
The worth and value of a man is in his heart and his will; there lies his real honor. Valor is the strength, not of legs and arms, but of heart and soul.
Programmes of a political nature are important and products of social quality that can be effective only if the underlying structure of social values is right. The social values are right only if the individual values are right. The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outside from there.