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Samuel Butler Quotes


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The seven deadly sins: Want of money, bad health, bad temper, chastity, family ties, knowing that you know things, and believing in the Christian religion.
 

The sinews of art and literature, like those of war, are money.
 

The slighter and more inconsistent the opinions of the obstinate man are, the faster he holds them, otherwise they would fall asunder of themselves: for opinions that are false he holds with more strictness and assurance than those that are true. - He is resolved to understand no man's reason but his own, because he finds no man can understand his but himself. His wits are like a sack, which the proverb says, is tied faster before it is full, than when it is; and his opinions are like plants that grow upon rocks, that stick fast, though they have no rooting. His understanding is hardened like Pharaoh's heart, and is proof against all sorts of judgments whatsoever.
[Obstinacy]
 

The tendency of modern science is to reduce proof to absurdity by continually reducing absurdity to proof.
[Decisions]
 

The test of a good critic is whether he knows when and how to believe on insufficient evidence.
 

The three most important things a man has are, briefly, his private parts, his money, and his religious opinions.
 

The true laws of God are the laws of our own well-being.
 

The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance.
 

The voice of the Lord is the voice of common sense, which is shared by all that is.
 

The want of money is the root of all evil.
 

The Will-be and the Has-been touch us more nearly than the Is. So we are more tender towards children and old people than to those who are in the prime of life.
 

The world will, in the end, follow only those who have despised as well as served it.
 

The worst of governments are always the most changeable, and cost the people dearest.
[Government]
 

The worst thing that can happen to a man is to lose his money, the next worst his health, the next worst his reputation.
 

The written law is binding, but the unwritten law is much more so. You may break the written law at a pinch and on the sly if you can, but the unwritten law - which often comprises the written - must not be broken. Not being written, it is not always easy to know what it is, but this has got to be done.
 

The youth of an art is, like the youth of anything else, its most interesting period. When it has come to the knowledge of good and evil it is stronger, but we care less about it.
 

Theist and atheist: the fight between them is as to whether God shall be called God or shall have some other name.
 

There are more fools than knaves in the world, else the knaves would not have enough to live upon.
 

There are some things which it is madness not to try to know but which it is almost as much madness to try to know.
 

There are two classes [of scientists], those who want to know and do not care whether others think they know or not, and those who do not much care about knowing but care very greatly about being reputed as knowing.
 


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