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An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.
Brave men are all vertebrates; they have their softness on the surface and their toughness in the middle.
If a man proves too clearly and convincingly to himself . . . that a tiger is an optical illusion--well, he will find out he is wrong. The tiger will himself intervene in the discussion, in a manner which will be in every sense conclusive.
It's not the world that's gotten so much worse, but the news coverage that's gotten so much better.
Modesty is the only sure bait when you are fishing for praise.
- [Fishing : Modesty]
There is but an inch of difference between the cushioned chamber and the padded cell.
There is one thing which gives radiance to everything. It is the idea of something around the corner.
The Sentimentalist, roughly speaking, is the man who wants to eat his cake and have it. He has no sense of honor about ideas; he will not see that one must pay for an idea as well as for anything else. He will have them all at once in one wild intellectual harem, no matter how much they quarrel and contradict each other.
- Alarms and Discussions [Sentimentality]
Bowing down in blind credulity, as is my custom, before mere authority and the tradition of the elders, superstitiously swallowing a story I could not test at the time by experiment or private judgment, I am firmly of the opinion that I was born on the 29th of May, 1874, on Campden Hill, Kensington; and baptised according to the formularies of the Church of England in the little church of St. George opposite the large Waterworks Tower that dominated that ridge.
- Autobiography [Books (First Lines)]
To be in the weakest camp is to be in the strongest school.
- Heretics [Education]
Truths turn into dogmas the moment they are disputed.
- Heretics [Truth]
It is still bad taste to be an avowed atheist. But now it is equally bad taste to be an avowed Christian.
- Heretics, Introductory Remarks
[Atheism : Christians]
Of all the marks of modernity that seem to mean a kind of decadence, there is none more menacing and dangerous that the exaltation of very small and secondary matters of conduct at the expense of very great and primary ones, at the expense of eternal ties and tragic human morality. If there is one thing worse that the modern weakening of major morals, it is the modern strengthening of minor morals. Thus it is considered more withering to accuse a man of bad taste than of bad ethics.
- On Lying in Bed [Morals]
"My country, right or wrong," is a thing that no patriot would think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying, "My mother, drunk or sober."
- The Defendant [Patriotism]
When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.
With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.
- The Donkey [Birth : Donkeys : Fish]
You can only find truth with logic if you have already found truth without it.
- The Man who was Orthodox [Logic]
The suburb of Saffron Park lay on the sunset side of London, as red and ragged a cloud of sunset.
- The Man Who Was Thursday (ch. 1)
[Books (First Lines)]
It isn't that they can't see the solution. It is that they can't see the problem.
- The Scandal of Father Brown
(The Point of a Pin) [Problems]
The world will never starve for want of wonders; but only for want of wonder.
- Tremendous Trifles [Wonder]
I realized that ritual will always mean throwing away something; Destroying our corn or wine upon the altar of our gods.
- Tremendous Trifles--Secret of a Train
You can never have a revolution in order to establish a democracy. You must have a democracy in order to have a revolution.
- Tremendous Trifles--Wind and the trees