We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.
Beware of the man who does not return your blow: he neither forgives you nor allows you to forgive yourself.
If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience.
We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
Common sense is instinct. Enough of it is genius.
The surest way to ruin a man who doesn't know how to handle money is to give him some.
Beware of the man whose God is in the skies.
I like a bit of mongrel myself, whether it's a man or a dog.
Lack of money is the root of of all evil.
God is on the side of the big battalions.
The universal regard for money is the one hopeful fact in our civilization.
Two things define you: your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.
The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.
He who has never hoped can never despair.
Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it.
Men have to do some awfully mean things to keep up their respectability.
Every man over forty is a scoundrel.
Beauty is a short-lived tyranny.
What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which he habitually acts.
It is most unwise for people in love to marry.
A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
No man who is occupied in doing a very difficult thing, and doing it very well, ever loses his self-respect.
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.
The roulette table pays nobody except him that keeps it. Nevertheless a passion for gaming is common, though a passion for keeping roulette tables is unknown.
Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness.
When people shake their heads because we are living in a restless age, ask them how they would like to live in a stationary one, and do without change.
People exaggerate the value of things they haven't got: everybody worships truth and unselfishness because they have no experience with them.
People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.
Independence? That's middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth.
Hinduism is so elastic and subtle that the most profound Methodist and crudest Idolator are equally at home with it.
Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books nobody reads.
This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.
I have nothing to offer you but my strength for your defence, my honesty for your surety, my ability and industry for your livelihood, and my authority and position for your dignity. That is all it becomes a man to offer a woman.
The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity.
When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport. When a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.
Life is a flame that is always burning itself out, but it catches fire again everytime a child is born.
It is easy -- terribly easy -- to shake a man's faith in himself. To take advantage of that, to break a man's spirit is devil's work.
Most of the money given by rich people in 'charity' is made up of conscience money, 'ransom,' political bribery, and bids for titles.... One buys moral credit by signing a cheque, which is easier than turning a prayer wheel.
I'm not a teacher: only a fellow-traveller of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead- ahead of myself as well as you.
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.
The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.
Some men see things as they are and say, 'Why. ' I dream of things that never were, and say, 'Why not?'
In literature the ambition of the novice is to acquire the literary language: the struggle of the adept is to get rid of it.
Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody can read.
Here there is no hope, and consequently no duty, no work, nothing to be gained by praying, nothing to be lost by doing what you like. Hell, in short, is a place where you have nothing to do but amuse yourself.
A man's own self is the last person to believe in him, and is harder to cheat than the rest of the world.
My opportunities were still there, nay, they multiplied tenfold; but the strength and youth to cope with them began to fail, and to need eking out with the shifty cunning of experience.
I was convinced that Ceylon is the cradle of the human race because everybody there looks an original. All other nations are obviously mass produced.
We have in England a curious belief in first-rate people, meaning all the people we do not know; and this consoles us for the undeniable second-rateness of the people we do know.
Just as I cannot remember any time when I could not read and write, I cannot remember any time when I did not exercise my imagination in daydreams about women.
No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus.
A book is like a child: it is easier to bring it into the world than to control it when it is launched there.
We educate one another; and we cannot do this if half of us consider the other half not good enough to talk to.
When a prisoner sees the door of his dungeon open, he dashes for it without stopping to think where he shall get his dinner outside.
The trouble with the media is that it seems unable to distinguish between the end of the world and a bicycle accident.
What is wrong with the prosaic Englishman is what is wrong with the prosaic men of all countries: stupidity.
There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find Englishmen doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does everything on principle.
A man's behaviour may be quite harmless and even beneficial, when he ismorally behaving like a scoundrel. And he may do great harm when he is morally acting on the highest principles.
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these 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.
If you demand my authorities for this and that, I must reply that only those who have never hunted up the authorities as I have believe that there is any authority who is not contradicted flatly by some other authority.
It is the inefficiency and sham of ... our schools ... that save us from being dashed on the rocks of false doctrine instead of drifting down the midstream of mere ignorance.
There are scores of thousands of human insects who are ready at a moment's notice to reveal the Will of God on every possible subject.
If you do not say a thing in an irritating way, you may as well not say it at all because people will not trouble themselves about anything that does not trouble them.
The Jews generally give value. They make you pay; but they deliver the goods. In my experience the men who want something for nothing are invariably Christians.
Some persons, by hating vice too much, come to love men too little. Hatred is self-punishment. Hatred is the cowards revenge for being intimidated.
I shall always be a flower girl to Professor Higgins, because he always treats me as a flower girl, and always will; but I know I can be a lady to you, because you always treat me as a lady, and always will.
Worst of all, there is no sign of any relaxation of antisemitism. Logically it has nothing to do with Fascism. But the human race is imitative rather than logical; and as Fascism spreads antisemitism spreads.
It is ridiculous to say that art has nothing to do with morality. What is true is that the artist's business is not that of the policeman.
We don't bother much about dress and manners in England, because as a nation we don't dress well and we've no manners.
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.
I loathe the mess of mean superstitions and misunderstood prophecies which is still rammed down the throats of children under the name of Christianity.
A healthy nation is as unconscious of its nationality as a healthy man of his bones. But if you break a person's nationality it will think of nothing else but getting it set again.
Marry Ann; and at the end of a week you'll find no more inspiration in her than in a plate of muffins.
My own education has been entirely controversial: that is why I know what I am writing about; and appear eccentric to dogmatically educated Old School Ties whose heads are stuffed with obsolete shibboleths.
To a professional critic (I have been one myself) theatre-going is the curse of Adam. The play is the evil he is paid to endure in the sweat of his brow; and the sooner it is over, the better.
As 99 per cent of English authors and 100 per cent of American ones authors are just such imbeciles, managers and publishers make a practice of asking for every right the author possesses.
It is clear that a novel cannot be too bad to be worth publishing... It certainly is possible for a novel to be too good to be worth publishing.
Most of my recent plays were written in the railway train between Hatfield and Kings Cross. I write anywhere, on the top of omnibuses or wherever I may be; it is all the same to me.
I want to destroy ownership in order that possession and enjoyment may be raised to the highest point in every section of the community.
If any religion had a chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam.
A love affair should always be a honeymoon. And the only way to make sure of that is to keep changing the man; for the same man can never keep it up.
The whole strength of England lies in the fact that the enormous majority of the English people are snobs.
The most sublime courage I have ever witnessed has been among that class too poor to know they possessed it, and too humble for the world to discover it.
I feel nothing but the accursed happiness I have dreaded all my life long: the happiness that comes as life goes, the happiness of yielding and dreaming instead of resisting and doing, the sweetness of the fruit that is going rotten.
You accepted Allah or you had your throat cut by someone who did accept him, and who went to Paradise for having sent you to Hell.
There is at bottom only one genuinely scientific treatment for all diseases, and that is to stimulate the phagocytes.
The theory that music has a depraving effect on morals has now been abandoned to the old women of both sexes.
Nothing can save us from a perpetual headlong fall into a bottomless abyss but a solid footing of dogma; and we no sooner agree to that than we find that the only trustworthy dogma is that there is no dogma.
The technical history of modern harmony is a history of growth of toleration by the human ear of chords that at first sounded discordant and senseless to the main body of contemporary professional musicians.
A socialist is somebody who doesn't have anything, and is ready to divide it up equally among everybody.
Whenever an obviously well founded statement is made in England by a person specially well acquainted with the facts, that unlucky person is instantly and frantically contradicted by all the people who obviously know nothing about it.
It is a woman's business to get married as soon as possible, and a man's to keep unmarried as long as he can.
Caesar: this is not proper.
CAESAR (recovering his self-possession).
Pardon him. Theodotus: he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
We live in an atmosphere of shame. We are ashamed of everything that is real about us; ashamed of ourselves, of our relatives, of our incomes, of our accents, of our opinions, of our experience, just as we are ashamed of our naked skins.
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.
What I say today everybody will say tomorrow, though they will not remember who put it into their heads. Indeed they will be right for I never remember who puts things into my head : it is the Zeitgeist.
It is nearly 50 years since I was assured by a conclave of doctors that if I did not eat meat I should die of starvation.
When the horrors of anarchy force us to set up laws that forbid us to fight and torture one another for sport, we still snatch at every excuse for declaring individuals outside the protection of law and torturing them to our hearts content.
Once there was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time is called the Dark Ages. He who can, does. He who cannot teaches.
The person who is ignorant enough to believe that his nourishment depends on meat is in a horrible dilemma.
Make me a beautiful word for doing things tomorrow; for that surely is a great and blessed invention.
Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned. May not one lost soul be permitted to abstain?
I don't. I look my age; and I am my age. It is the other people who look older than they are. What can you expect from people who eat corpses and drink spirits?
When an apparent miracle happened.it proved divine mission to the credulous, and proved a contract with the devil to the skeptical.
What is wrong with priests and popes is that instead of being apostles and saints, they are nothing but empirics who say I know instead of I am learning, and pray for credulity and inertia as wise men pray for skepticism and activity.
I believe in Michelangelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed. Amen. Amen.
Idiots are always in favour of inequality of income (their only chance of eminence), and the really great in favour of equality.
Go anywhere in England where there are natural, wholesome, contented, and really nice English people; and what do you always find? That the stables are the real centre of the household.
Financiers live in a world of illusion. They count on something which they call the capital of the country, which has no existence.
The British are apt to make merits of their stupidities, and to represent their various incapacities as points of good breeding.
Quotes by George Bernard Shaw are featured in:
Common Sense Quotes