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"Totalitarianism is patriotism institutionalized."
Steve Allen
Samuel Butler Quotes
A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide.
Samuel Butler

A friend who cannot at a pinch remember a thing or two that never happened is as bad as one who does not know how to forget.
Samuel Butler

A genius can never expect to have a good time anywhere, if he is a genuine article, but America is about the last place in which life will be endurable at all for an inspired writer of any kind.
Samuel Butler

A hen is only an egg's way of making another egg.
Samuel Butler

A man should be just cultured enough to be able to look with suspicion upon culture at first, not second hand.
Samuel Butler

A man's friendships are, like his will, invalidated by marriage - but they are also no less invalidated by the marriage of his friends.
Samuel Butler

A skilful leech is better far, than half a hundred men of war.
Samuel Butler

A virtue to be serviceable must, like gold, be alloyed with some commoner, but more durable alloy.
Samuel Butler

All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.
Samuel Butler

All of the animals except for man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it.
Samuel Butler

All philosophies, if you ride them home, are nonsense, but some are greater nonsense than others.
Samuel Butler

All progress is based upon a universal innate desire on the part of every organism to live beyond its income.
Samuel Butler

All truth is not to be told at all times.
Samuel Butler

An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have heard one side of the case. God has written all the books.
Samuel Butler

Any fool can tell the truth, but it requires a man of some sense to know how to lie well.
Samuel Butler

Because they did not see merit where they should have seen it, people, to express their regret, will go and leave a lot of money to the very people who will be the first to throw stones at the next person who has anything to say and finds a difficulty in getting a hearing.
Samuel Butler

Conscience is thoroughly well-bred and soon leaves off talking to those who do not wish to hear it.
Samuel Butler

Do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.
Samuel Butler

Don't learn to do, but learn in doing. Let your falls not be on a prepared ground, but let them be bona fide falls in the rough and tumble of the world.
Samuel Butler

Dullness is so much stronger than genius because there is so much more of it, and it is better organized and more naturally cohesive inter se. So the arctic volcano can do nothing against arctic ice.
Samuel Butler

Eating is touch carried to the bitter end.
Samuel Butler

Every man's work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.
Samuel Butler

Every one should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it - torn up to irrecoverable tatters.
Samuel Butler

Evil is like water, it abounds, is cheap, soon fouls, but runs itself clear of taint.
Samuel Butler

Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself.
Samuel Butler

For most men, and most circumstances, pleasure -tangible material prosperity in this world -is the safest test of virtue. Progress has ever been through the pleasures rather than through the extreme sharp virtues, and the most virtuous have leaned to excess rather than to asceticism.
Samuel Butler

For truth is precious and divine, too rich a pearl for carnal swine.
Samuel Butler

Friendship is like money, easier made than kept.
Samuel Butler

Genius is a nuisance, and it is the duty of schools and colleges to abate it by setting genius-traps in its way.
Samuel Butler

God cannot alter the past, though historians can.
Samuel Butler

God was satisfied with his own work, and that is fatal.
Samuel Butler

Half the vices which the world condemns most loudly have seeds of good in them and require moderate use rather than total abstinence.
Samuel Butler

He that complies against his will is of his own opinion still.
Samuel Butler

He was born stupid, and greatly increased his birthright.
Samuel Butler

Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning.
Samuel Butler

I believe that more unhappiness comes from this source than from any other - I mean from the attempt to prolong family connections unduly and to make people hang together artificially who would never naturally do so.
Samuel Butler

I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.
Samuel Butler

If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him.
Samuel Butler

If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death.
Samuel Butler

If there is any moral in Christianity, if there is anything to be learned from it, if the whole story is not profitless from first to last, it comes to this: that a man should back his own opinion against the world s.
Samuel Butler

If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.
Samuel Butler

If you follow reason far enough it always leads to conclusions that are contrary to reason.
Samuel Butler

In law, nothing is certain but the expense.
Samuel Butler

Is life worth living? This is a question for an embryo not for a man.
Samuel Butler

It has been said that the love of money is the root of all evil. The want of money is so quite as truly.
Samuel Butler

It is immoral to get drunk because the headache comes after the drinking, but if the headache came first and the drunkenness afterwards, it would be moral to get drunk.
Samuel Butler

It is our less conscious thoughts and our less conscious actions which mainly mould our lives and the lives of those who spring from us.
Samuel Butler

Let us be grateful to the mirror for revealing to us our appearance only.
Samuel Butler

Life is a quarry, out of which we are to mold and chisel and complete a character.
Samuel Butler

Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
Samuel Butler

Life is not an exact science, it is an art.
Samuel Butler

Life is one long process of getting tired.
Samuel Butler

Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
Samuel Butler

Logic is like the sword - those who appeal to it, shall perish by it.
Samuel Butler

Look before you leap for as you sow, ye are like to reap.
Samuel Butler

Lying has a kind of respect and reverence with it. We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him.
Samuel Butler

Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them.
Samuel Butler

Man is the only animal that laughs and has a state legislature.
Samuel Butler

Marriage is distinctly and repeatedly excluded from heaven. Is this because it is thought likely to mar the general felicity?
Samuel Butler

Most people have never learned that one of the main aims in life is to enjoy it.
Samuel Butler

Natural amiableness is too often seen in company with sloth, with uselessness, with the vanity of fashionable life.
Samuel Butler

Neither irony or sarcasm is argument.
Samuel Butler

No mistake is more common and more fatuous than appealing to logic in cases which are beyond her jurisdiction.
Samuel Butler

Nobody shoots at Santa Claus.
Samuel Butler

Oaths are but words, and words are but wind.
Samuel Butler

Opinions have vested interests just as men have.
Samuel Butler

Parents are the last people on earth who ought to have children.
Samuel Butler

People are always good company when they are doing what they really enjoy.
Samuel Butler

People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practiced.
Samuel Butler

Rare virtues are like rare plants or animals, things that have not been able to hold their own in the world. A virtue to be serviceable must, like gold, be alloyed with some commoner but more durable metal.
Samuel Butler

Self-preservation is the first law of nature.
Samuel Butler

Some men love truth so much that they seem to be in continual fear lest she should catch a cold on overexposure.
Samuel Butler

The advantage of doing one's praising for oneself is that one can lay it on so thick and exactly in the right places.
Samuel Butler

The Ancient Mariner would not have taken so well if it had been called The Old Sailor.
Samuel Butler

The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way.
Samuel Butler

The Bible may be the truth, but it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Samuel Butler

The clergyman is expected to be a kind of human Sunday.
Samuel Butler

The function of vice is to keep virtue within reasonable bounds.
Samuel Butler

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself too.
Samuel Butler

The healthy stomach is nothing if it is not conservative. Few radicals have good digestions.
Samuel Butler

The hen is an egg's way of producing another egg.
Samuel Butler

The history of art is the history of revivals.
Samuel Butler

The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore.
Samuel Butler

The oldest books are only just out to those who have not read them.
Samuel Butler

The one serious conviction that a man should have is that nothing is to be taken too seriously.
Samuel Butler

The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in its milk, on the principle that it is cheaper to do this than to keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.
Samuel Butler

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

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

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

There are two great rules in life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that every one can in the end get what he wants if he only tries. This is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is more or less of an exception to the general rule.
Samuel Butler

There is but one step from the Academy to the Fad.
Samuel Butler

There is no such source of error as the pursuit of truth.
Samuel Butler

There is nothing so unthinkable as thought, unless it be the entire absence of thought.
Samuel Butler

Those who have never had a father can at any rate never know the sweets of losing one. To most men the death of his father is a new lease of life.
Samuel Butler

Though analogy is often misleading, it is the least misleading thing we have.
Samuel Butler

To give pain is the tyranny; to make happy, the true empire of beauty.
Samuel Butler

To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead.
Samuel Butler

To live is like to love - all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it.
Samuel Butler

Vaccination is the medical sacrament corresponding to baptism.
Samuel Butler

Virtue knows that it is impossible to get on without compromise, and tunes herself, as it were, a trifle sharp to allow for an inevitable fall in playing.
Samuel Butler

We all like to forgive, and love best not those who offend us least, nor who have done most for us, but those who make it most easy for us to forgive them.
Samuel Butler

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.
Samuel Butler

When you've told someone that you've left them a legacy the only decent thing to do is to die at once.
Samuel Butler

Words are not as satisfactory as we should like them to be, but, like our neighbors, we have got to live with them and must make the best and not the worst of them.
Samuel Butler

Work with some men is as besetting a sin as idleness.
Samuel Butler

Type:
Poet
Date of Birth:
1835-12-04
Year of Death:
1902
Nationality:
British
 

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