It is easier to clarify one’s thoughts than to polish one’s style.
Mirages depend on distance for their effect. And so it is with happiness, which appears substantial and real only at a distance—whether of space or time.
“Educated” is now a euphemism for “has progressive opinions.”
This one weird trick that will make you an expert in anything: consistent practice over an extremely long period of time.
No one is so poor at writing that he feels unqualified to dispense advice on how to do it.
The road to hell is paved with Deontologists.
One instance of the hidden justice in life is that we generally only aspire to things we’re actually capable of: proles don’t want to be Shakespeare, etc.
When we don’t like what it says literally, we are eager to interpret it metaphorically.
It’s easier to render our faults attractive than it is to correct them.
It’s strange to hear the body spoken of as a prison when, in actuality, it is our only escape.
It may be darkest before the dawn, but the dawn is never assured.
Manners are superior to kindness in the same sense that discipline is superior to motivation.
A pessimistic worldview is actually a kind of inoculation against the extremes of suffering; optimists experience life as a series of disappointments, whereas the pessimist is sometimes pleasantly surprised.
“Be yourself” sounds like good advice until you realize there’s no alternative.
The thesaurus exists to help you find the correct word, not merely a different word.
We took more care with our words when we had to write them out by hand, and still more care when we had to chisel them into rocks.
Ugliness is its own refutation.
Language is the container into which we pour our thoughts, which must perforce take on the form and shape of the container we choose. Hence, thoughts can be perceived, but never expressed, in their original purity.
Your wound—where you are hurt—where life has hurt you—that is what makes you profound and worth listening to. God makes use of us precisely where we are wounded.
A stable society is one in which the majority of men feel they have something to lose by upsetting the balance.
The hardest part of writing is having something to say. Good writing is rare because clear thinking is rare.
Time is money: no refunds.
History broadens the mind in a way that mere travel cannot.
Mediocrity has more places to hide in the essay than the aphorism.
It is a worse error to conclude that stereotypes permit many exceptions than to conclude that they permit no exceptions.
There are more people who don’t believe in God than there are people who don’t believe in ghosts.
The first lesson of wisdom: the world is imperfect, and there’s nothing anyone can do to fix it.
Nothing occasions more unhappiness than the belief that life is supposed to be happy.
Poetry is prose on its tiptoes; it reaches new heights, perhaps, but at the expense of balance.
A man is wealthy when he can satisfy his wants, even if he lives in a barrel. A man is poor when he is unable to satisfy his wants, even if he lives in a palace.
Next to talent is taste; next to genius is being the first to recognize it.
One of the major obstacles to happiness is that we are not designed to value anything that isn’t scarce, whereas the good things in life are usually not scarce at all, but all around us.
“He believed in me” is good enough for modest success, but major success calls for “You’ll never do it, not in a million years.”
If you can write a sentence, you can write a paragraph; if you can write a paragraph, you can write an essay; if you can write an essay, you can write a book
Sexual perversion can be simply defined as an attraction to females who are incapable of bearing children. A proclivity for older women, for instance, is a type of perversion not unlike pedophilia.
Mental health seems to hinge on escapism: reading, music, exercise, learning, long walks.
Writing is the most intense form of reading.
Power does not corrupt per se but only reveals corruption that was already latent in you, just as light does not create dirt but only reveals dirt that was already there. But power does more than just bring out the worst in us, for it is often the case that good people are humbled by it and become better when they acquire it. On the other hand, some are at their worst when they feel they have no power at all.
The wretched talk about happiness; the degenerate preach morality; the sickly are preoccupied with health. This is the way it has always been.