Quotations from George Bernard Shaw

"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."

"England and America are two countries separated by the same language."

"A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected"

"A drama critic is a man who leaves no turn unstoned."

"A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic."

"A fool's brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education."

"A genius can't be forced; nor can you make an ape an alderman."

"A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul."

"A happy family is but an earlier heaven."

"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."

"A man never tells you anything until you contradict him."

"A man of great common sense and good taste - meaning thereby a man without originality or moral courage."

"A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows."

"A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell."

"A true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art."

"Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life."

"All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships."

"All great truths begin as blasphemies."

"All my life affection has been showered upon me, and every forward step I have made has been taken in spite of it."

"Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them."

"An Englishman thinks he is moral when he is only uncomfortable."

"An asylum for the sane would be empty in America."

"Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends."

"Assassination is the extreme form of censorship."

"Baseball has the great advantage over cricket of being sooner ended."

"Beauty is a short-lived tyranny."

"Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world."

"Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance."

"Capitalism has destroyed our belief in any effective power but that of self interest backed by force."

"Censorship ends in logical completeness when nobody is allowed to read any books except the books that nobody reads."

"Choose silence of all virtues, for by it you hear other men's imperfections, and conceal your own."

"Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of organized life."

"Cruelty would be delicious if one could only find some sort of cruelty that didn't really hurt."

"Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire."

"Democracy is a device that insures we shall be governed no better than we deserve."

"Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."

"Disobedience, the rarest and most courageous of the virtues, is seldom distinguished from neglect, the laziest and commonest of the vices."

"Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same."

"Every person who has mastered a profession is a skeptic concerning it."

"Everything happens to everybody sooner or later if there is time enough."

"Few of us have vitality enough to make any of our instincts imperious."

"Few people think more than two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week."

"First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity."

"Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!"

"Give a man health and a course to steer, and he'll never stop to trouble about whether he's happy or not."

"Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated."

"He knows nothing and thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career."

"Hegel was right when he said that we learn from history that man can never learn anything from history."

"I don't believe in circumstances. 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."

"I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one's business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship. I like a state of continual becoming, with a goal in front and not behind."

"I hate performers who debase great works of art; I long for their annihilation."

"I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

"I never resist temptation, because I have found that things that are bad for me do not tempt me."

"I never thought much of the courage of a lion tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from people."

"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake."

"If all the economists were laid end to end, they'd never reach a conclusion."

"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 must hold yourself up to your children as an object lesson, hold yourself up as a warning and not as an example."

"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will."

"In this world there is always danger for those who are afraid of it."

"It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid."

"It is most unwise for people in love to marry."

"It is the mark of a truly intelligent person to be moved by statistics."

"It's so hard to know what to do when one wishes earnestly to do right."

"Let a short Act of Parliament be passed, placing all street musicians outside the protection of the law, so that any citizen may assail them with stones, sticks, knives, pistols or bombs without incurring any penalties."

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."

"Life contains but two tragedies. One is not to get your heart's desire; the other is to get it."

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

"Love is a gross exaggeration of the difference between one person and everybody else."

"Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who can't sleep with the window shut, and a woman who can't sleep with the window open."

"Martyrdom: The only way a man can become famous without ability."

"Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience."

"Men have to do some awfully mean things to keep up their respectability."

"Most people do not pray; they only beg."

"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."

"Never fret for an only son, the idea of failure will never occur to him."

"New opinions often appear first as jokes and fancies, then as blasphemies and treason, then as questions open to discussion, and finally as established truths."

"No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain, you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office."

"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means."

"No question is so difficult to answer as that to which the answer is obvious."

"Nothing is worth doing unless the consequences may be serious."

"Only Lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt for jury duty."

"Parentage is a very important profession, but no test of fitness for it is ever imposed in the interest of the children."

"Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it."

"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. 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."

"People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them."

"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."

"Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family."

"Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman, but believing what he read made him mad."

"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people."

"Science... never solves a problem without creating ten more."

"Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing."

"She had lost the art of conversation but not, unfortunately, the power of speech."

"Some look at things that are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?"

"Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time."

"Syllables govern the world."

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."

"The faults of the burglar are the qualities of the financier."

"The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else."

"The love of economy is the root of all virtue."

"The man who writes about himself and his own time is the only man who writes about all people and about all time."

"The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty-stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man."

"The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it."

"The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me."

"The only secrets are the secrets that keep themselves."

"The only service a friend can really render is to keep up your courage by holding up to you a mirror in which you can see a noble image of yourself."

"The only way to avoid being miserable is not to have enough leisure to wonder whether you are happy or not."

"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."

"The perfect love affair is one which is conducted entirely by post."

"The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react."

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it."

"The secret of being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure for it is occupation."

"The seven deadly sins... food, clothing, firing, rent, taxes, respectability and children. Nothing can lift those seven millstones from man's neck but money; and the spirit cannot soar until the millstones are lifted."

"The test of a man or woman's breeding is how they behave in a quarrel."

"The things most people want to know about are usually none of their business."

"The true joy of life is being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown to the scrap heap being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish clod of ailments and grievances."

"The worst sin toward our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity."

"There is no satisfaction in hanging a man who does not object to it."

"To withhold deserved praise lest it should make its object conceited is as dishonest as to withhold payment of a just debt lest your creditor should spend the money badly."

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

"We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it."

"We must always think about things, and we must think about things as they are, not as they are said to be."

"When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work."

"When a man says money can do anything, that settles it: he hasn't got any."

"Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't!"

"Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable."

"You are going to let the fear of poverty govern you life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live."

"You'll never have a quiet world till you knock the patriotism out of the human race."

"Youth is wasted on the young."