William James Quotes

Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism.

Sobriety diminishes, discriminates, and says no; drunkenness expands, unites, and says yes. Not through mere perversity do men run after it.

If merely “feeling good” could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.

When once a decision is reached and execution is the order of the day, dismiss absolutely all responsibility and care about the outcome.

By the word ‘happiness’ every human being understands something different. It is a phantom pursued only by weaker minds. The wise man is satisfied by the more modest but much more definite term ‘contentment’. What education should aim at is to save us from a discontented life. (quoting a friend)

The community stagnates without the impulse of the individual. The impulse dies away without the sympathy of the community.

The first thing the intellect does with any object is too class it along with something else… Probably a crab would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear us class it without ado or apology as a crustacean, and thus dispose of it. “I am no such thing,” it would […]

Each of us literally chooses, by his way of attending to things, what sort of universe he shall appear to himself to inhabit.

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can change his life by changing his attitude of mind.