George Bernard Shaw Quotes

George Bernard Shaw

Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950)

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All my life affection has been showered upon me, and every forward step I have made has been taken in spite of it.

Categorized under Affection

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Any person under the age of thirty, who, having any knowledge of the existing social order, is not a revolutionist, is an inferio

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I'm only a beer teetotaler, not a champagne teetotaler. I don't like beer.

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Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

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Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.

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You see things; and you say "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say "Why not?"

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If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

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If parents would only realize how they bore their children!

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Our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or mal-experienced dupes; our power wielded by cowards and weaklings; and our honour false in all its points. I am an enemy of the existing order for good reasons.

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First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity: no really self-respecting woman would take advantage of

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An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.

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Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

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I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind.

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Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

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The love of economy is the root of all virtue.

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Money is the most important thing in the world. It represents health, strength, honor, generosity and beauty as conspicuously as the want of it represents illness, weakness, disgrace, meanness and ugliness.

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The seven deadly sins...Food, clothing, firing, rent, taxes,respectability and children. Nothing can lift those seven millstones from man's neck but money; and the spirit cannot soar until the millstones are lifted.

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The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time.

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Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads.

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All great truths begin as blasphemies.

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It is most unwise for people in love to marry.

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The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.

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The perfect love affair is one which is conducted entirely by post.

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We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.

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Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.

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The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than saying a drunken man is happier than a sober man.

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Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.

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The Churches must learn humility as well as teach it.

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Do you know what a pessimist is? A person who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself and hates them for it.

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Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.

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Life is a disease; and the only diference between one another is the stage of the disease at which he lives.

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Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

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England and America are two countries seperated by the same language.

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Success covers a multitude of blunders.

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Martyrdom is the only way a person can become famous without ability.

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Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.

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You see things, and you say "Why?" But I dream things that never were, and say "Why not?

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Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.

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A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

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Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

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Virtue is insufficient temptation.

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Democracy: The substitution of election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

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We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.

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The world is populated in the main by people who should not exist.

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We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession.

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The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.

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When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.

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What is virtue but the trades unionism of the married.

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Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.

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Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended.

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It took me twenty years of studied self-restraint, aided by the natural decay of my faculties, to make myself dull enough to be accepted as a serious person by the British public.

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The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.

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Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.

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It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

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Let a short Act of Parliament be passed, placing all street musicians outside the protection of the law, so that any citizen may assail them with stones, sticks, knives, pistols, or bombs without incurring any penalties.

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The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

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I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.

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What is the matter with the poor is poverty; what is the matter with the rich is uselessness.

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Beware of the man whose God is in the skies.

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Marriage is popular because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.

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We should all be obliged to appear before a board every five years and justify our existence...on pain of liquidation.

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I showed my appreciation of my native land in the usual Irish way by getting out of it as soon as I possibly could.

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Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

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Fashions are the only induced epidemics, proving that epidemics can be induced by tradesmen.

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The fickleness of the women whom I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.

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A man ought to be able to be fond of his wife without making a fool of himself about her.

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It is most unwise for people in love to marry

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Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.

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A pessimist thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.

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The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.

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A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth.

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Life would be tolerable but for its amusements.

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Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.

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The 100% American is 99% an idiot.

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A dramatic critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned.

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To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it.

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Home life as we understand it is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo.

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Reviewing has one advantage over suicide: in suicide you take it out on yourself; in reviewing you take it out on other people.

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Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else.

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Chess is a foolish expedient for making idle people believe they are doing something very clever when they are only wasting their time.

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The perfect love affair is one which is conducted entirely by post.

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If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

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The love of money is the root of all virtue.

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All my life, affection has been showered upon me, and every forward step I have made has been taken in spite of it.

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I make a fortune from criticizing the policy of the government, and then hand it over to the government in taxes to keep it going.

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Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.

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My main reason for adopting literature as a profession was that, as the author is never seen by his clients, he need not dress respectably.

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If more than ten percent of the population likes a painting it should be burned, for it must be bad.

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Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.

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All professions are conspiracies against the laity.

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Make money and the whole nation will conspire to call you a gentleman.

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The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.

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The chief objection of playing wind instruments is that it prolongs the life of the player.

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There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it.

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I am a gentleman: I live by robbing the poor.

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In order to fully realize how bad a popular play can be, it is necessary to see it twice.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

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What God hath joined together no man shall put asunder: God will take care of that.

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There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it.

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An institution which is populare because it combines the maximum of temptation with the maximum of opportunity.

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All great truths begin as blasphemies.

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All professions are conspiracies against the laity.

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Do not do unto others as you would they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

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He who can, does. He who cannot teaches.

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He who has never hoped can never despair.

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Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

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Nothing ever is done in this world until men are prepared to kill one another if it is not done.

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The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

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Nobel prize money is a lifebelt thrown to a swimmer who has already reached the shore in safety.

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We should have had socialism already, but for the socialists.

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Pardon him, Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.

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If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

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I can forgive Alfred Nobel for having invented dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.

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If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.

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If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

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Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

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If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must man be of learning from experience.

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The English have no respect for their language, and will not teach their children to speak it.

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Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

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Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.

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Nothing is worth doing unless the consequences may be serious.

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When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.

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My method is to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity.

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A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it: it would be hell on earth.

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The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

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A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.

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You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.

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Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.

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This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

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Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

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Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.

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Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough.

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He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

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Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

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Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.

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Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

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Audacious ribald: your laughter will finish in hideous boredom before morning.

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Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.

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Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.

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All great truths begin as blasphemies.

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Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

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He who has never hoped can never despair.

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The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.

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Beware of the man whose God is in the skies.

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The fickleness of the women I love is only equalled by the infernal constancy of the women who love me.

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I never resist temptation because I have found that things that are bad for me do not tempt me.

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We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.

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Do you think that the things people make fools of themselves about are any less real and true than the things they behave sensibly about? They are more true: they are the only things that are true.

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I am a Millionaire. That is my religion.

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Alcohol is a very necessary article... It makes life bearable to millions of people who could not endure their existence if they were quite sober. It enables Parliament to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning.

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He knows nothing; and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

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There is no love sincerer than the love of food.

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Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned.

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An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable.

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Every man over forty is a scoundrel.

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Youth, which is forgiven everything, forgives itself nothing: age, which forgives itself everything, is forgiven nothing.

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Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.

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There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.

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It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.

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Assassination is the extreme form of censorship.

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"Do you know what a pessimist is?" "A man who thinks everybody is as nasty as himself, and hates them for it."

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All great truths begin as blasphemies.

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Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.

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Hell is full of musical amateurs.

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No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

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I

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A life spent in making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.

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If the lesser mind could measure the greater as a footrule can measure a pyramid, there would be finality in universal suffrage. As it is, the political problem remains unsolved.

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Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

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If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.

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Take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then say it with the utmost levity.

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If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.

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Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.

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A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.

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While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth?

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A learned man is an idler who kills time with study. Beware of his false knowledge: it is more dangerous than ignorance.

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The unconscious self is the real genius. Your breathing goes wrong the moment your conscious self meddles with it.

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English is the easiest language to speak badly.

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To drift is to be in hell; to be in heaven is to steer.

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Virtue is insufficient temptation.

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Gambling promises the poor what property performs for the rich--something for nothing.

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It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

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Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of organized life.

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Lack of money is the root of all evil.

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Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

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It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

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Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage -- it can be delightful.

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This is the true joy in life -- being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one...

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When a thing is funny, search it for a hidden truth.

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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

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The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

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All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.

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The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

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The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.

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The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.

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Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

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What we call education and culture is for the most part nothing but the substitution of reading for experience, of literature for life, of the obsolete fictitious for the contemporary real.

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We must make the world honest before we can honestly say to our children that honesty is the best policy.

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Life does not cease to be funny when people die; any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

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Criminals do not die by the hands of the law. They die by the hands of other men.

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Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.

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I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.

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Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

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England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

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The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.

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My way of joking is to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world.

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Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing.

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