Skip to content

Favorite Quotes

These are by no means all of my favorite quotes. This is a work in process. It will be amended and updated periodically.

Note: Some of the quotes have been altered a bit to make them more aphoristic or to reflect current grammatical usage.

Man is an actor, playing a part in the drama of being and, through the brute fact of his existence, committed to play it without knowing what it is. Eric Voegelin laying down the crux of the matter

The existence of a good society depends on the social predominance of a group of men in whom the excellences are actualized. When the predominance of such a group is endangered by the masses whose passions are not restrained, then the quality of the society will decline. Eric Voegelin on the Clinton and Nixon presidencies

Far best is he who knows all things himself;
Good, he that hearkens when men counsel right;
But he who neither knows nor lays to heart
Another's wisdom, is a useless wight.
Hesiod on American individualism

The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason. T.S. Eliot on attending church to get clients. Related: The good is no longer good if it be not rightly done. Simeon the New Theologian

The wise man knows himself for debtor, and his actions will be inspired by a deep sense of obligation. Bertrand de Jouvenal

Mr. Kirilov simply collects observations; he does not touch upon the essence of the matter or, as we might say, the moral aspect of it. Indeed, he denies there is any such thing as morality and he advocates the latest principle–total destruction in the name of the ultimate good. Mr. Kirilov has already demanded that more than one hundred heads roll so that reason may be introduced in Europe, and that considerably exceeds the figure proposed at the last peace conference. In that sense, Alexei Kirilov is ahead of everyone. Dostoyevsky (The Possessed) giving a little precursor to Stalin, Hitler, and even the scientific approach of Alfred Kinsey

Barbarism is not a picturesque myth or a half-forgotten memory of a long-passed stage of history, but an ugly underlying reality that may erupt with shattering force whenever the moral authority of a civilization is lost. Christopher Dawson's slap at modern smugness

I, the Captain of a Legion of Rome, serving in the desert of Libya, have learnt and pondered this truth: ‘There are in life but two things to be sought, Love and Power, and no one has both’. (One of Malcolm Muggeridge's favorites)

The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. There also are rough and uneven roads; there are precipices. But there too is God, the angels, the life and the Kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace–all things are there. The Pseudo-Macarius against self-assurance

Only the good souls are in hell. Berdyaev speaking of thanatos. Related: Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepios; will you remember to pay the debt? Socrates right before he died.

Being unable to cure death, wretchedness and ignorance, men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things. Pascal on amusement parks and Arena Football

Nothing is so insufferable to man as to be completely at rest, without passions, without business, without diversion, without study. He then feels his nothingness, his forlorness, his insufficiency, his dependence, his weakness, hsi emptiness. There will immediately arise from the depth of his heart weariness, gloom, sadness, fretfulness, vexation, despair. Pascal on blogging.

C.S. Lewis
God knows the end for which he has created us and knows that we will not ultimately be happy if we remain alienated from that end: fellowship with him and with other human beings.

The characteristic of lost souls is their rejection of everything that is not simply themselves.

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.'

The ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon self is the mark of Hell.

The family offers us the first step beyond self-love.

Nonsense draws evil after it.

Lewis thought of Hell as a heavily bureaucratized state in which everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement. Gilbert Meilaender on Lewis.

G.K. Chesterton
My country, right or wrong, is like saying ‘my mother, drunk or sober’.

The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.

There is not really any courage in attacking hoary or antiquated things, any more than in offering to fight one’s grandmother.

How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute.

Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them.

Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.

Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.

Let all the babies be born. Then let us drown those we do not like.

A citizen can hardly distinguish between a tax and a fine, except that the fine is generally much lighter.

There are some desires that are not desirable.

It's not that we don't have enough scoundrels to curse; it's that we don't have enough good men to curse them.

The test of all happiness is gratitude. Children are grateful when Santa Claus puts in their stockings gifts of toys or sweets. Could I not be grateful to Santa Claus when he put in my stockings the gift of two miraculous legs?

Hilaire Belloc
We are all familiar with science's prodigious results. Not one of them has, as yet, added to human happiness: all have been misused to the misery of man.

The modern mind is as averse to precision in ideas as it is enamored of precision in measurement.

An Assortment from The Philokalia
Thoughts gather about the soul according to its underlying quality.

He who loves God lives the angelic life on earth, fasting and keeping vigils, praying and singing psalms and always thinking good of every man.

Always keep the same measure of self-control; otherwise through irregularity you will go from one extreme to another.

To give free reign to the senses is to shackle the soul, to shackle the senses is to liberate it.

Contradiction and contentiousness come from deceit, a companion of unbelief and haughtiness.

A few favorite quotes from Modern Drunkard Magazine's "Wino Wisdom"

I was in Hollywood a long, long time. I was on the verge of making it too, but someone stole my shopping cart and I was back to square one.

My wife never knew I drank until I made the mistake of coming home sober.

Yes, and I have the solution right here. Jake S., 29, responding to the comment that he might have a drinking problem at the Lion's Lair Lounge.

Give me another glass of wine, and pour it strong this time.

Behind every good man, there’s a bartender in front of him.

I just escaped from detox. Can you drive me to a liquor store?

Will Drink For Food. Sign held by a wino who wants it all, with minimum effort, at Speer and 8th.

Pour me a Guinness, and I’ll have a PBR while it’s settling.

You know what the difference between a lounge and bar is? About a dollar a drink.

I’d tip you, but I need that money to get drunk. Unnamed patron vocalizing a very powerful subconscious desire for a very weak Jack and Coke at the Streets of London Pub.

That beer you’re drinking looks suspiciously similar to the one that was stolen from me two days ago.

Oh, I’m not a drunk. I’m a drank. As in, I just drank all my beer. But I’m willing to be a drunk if you buy me a drink.

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll sit in the boat and drink all day.

I love to drink and I love to sing. But most people like to hear me drink.