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quotations The Best William James Quotes  

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A list of the best William James quotes. This list is arranged by which famous William James quotes have received the most votes, so only the greatest William James quotes are at the top of the list. All the most popular quotes from William James should be listed here, but if any were missed you can add more at the end of the list. This list includes notable William James quotes on various subjects, many of which are inspirational and thought provoking.

This list answers the questions, "What are the best William James quotes?" and "What is the most famous William James quote?"

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True ideas lead us into useful verbal and conceptual quarters as well as directly up to useful sensible termini. They lead to consistency, stability and flowing human intercourse. William James

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Events are influenced by our very great desires. William James

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There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self. William James

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Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune. William James

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A chain is no stronger than its weakest link, and life is after all a chain. William James

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Genius... means little more than the faculty of perceiving in an inhabitual way. William James

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We must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can...in the acquisition of a new habit, we must take car to launch ourselves with as strong and decided initiative as possible. Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life. William James

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Our esteem for facts has not neutralized in us all religiousness. It is itself almost religious. Our scientific temper is devout. William James

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The minute a man ceases to grow, no matter what his years, that minute he begins to be old. William James

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How can the moribund old man reason back to himself the romance, the mystery, the imminence of great things with which our old earth tingled for him in the days when he was young and well? William James

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If you care enough for a result, you will most certainly attain it. William James

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To give up pretensions is as blessed a relief as to get them ratified. William James

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Fatalism, whose solving word in all crises of behavior is All striving is vain, will never reign supreme, for the impulse to take life strivingly is indestructible in the race. Moral creeds which speak to that impulse will be widely successful in spite of inconsistency, vagueness, and shadowy determination of expectancy. Man needs a rule for his will, and will invent one if one be not given him. William James

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Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible. William James

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We, the lineal representatives of the successful enactors of one scene of slaughter after another, must, whatever more pacific virtues we may also possess, still carry about with us, ready at any moment to burst into flame, the smoldering and sinister traits of character by means of which they lived through so many massacres, harming others, but themselves unharmed. William James

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The god whom science recognizes must be a God of universal laws exclusively, a God who does a wholesale, not a retail business. He cannot accommodate his processes to the convenience of individuals. William James

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An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of revelation. William James

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It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. William James

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Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. William James

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There can be no existence of evil as a force to the healthy-minded individual. William James

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I am often confronted by the necessity of standing by one of my empirical selves and relinquishing the rest. Not that I would not. If I could, be... a great athlete and make a million a year, be a wit, a born -- vivant and a lady killer, as well as a philosopher, a philanthropist ... and saint. But the thing is simply impossible. The millionaire's work would run counter to the saint s; the bon-vivant and the philanthropist would trip each other up; the philosopher and the lady killer could not well keep house in the same tenement of clay. Such different characters may conceivably, at the outset of life. Be alike possible for a man. But to make any one of them actual, the rest must more of less be suppressed. So the seeker of his truest, strongest, deepest self must review the list carefully and pick out on which to stake his salvation. All other selves thereupon become unreal, but the fortunes of this self are real. Its failure are real failures, its triumphs real triumphs carrying shame and gladness with them. William James

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Failure, then, failure! so the world stamps us at every turn. We strew it with our blunders, our misdeeds, our lost opportunities, with all the memorials of our inadequacy to our vocation. And with what a damning emphasis does it then blot us out! No easy fine, no mere apology or formal expiation, will satisfy the world's demands, but every pound of flesh exacted is soaked with all its blood. The subtlest forms of suffering known to man are connected with the poisonous humiliations incidental to these results. William James

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Our faith is faith in someone else's faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. William James

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Habit is thus the enormous fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent. It alone is what keeps us all within the bounds of ordinance, and saves the children of fortune from the envious uprisings of the poor. William James

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Human beings are born into this little span of life of which the best thing is its friendship and intimacies, and soon their places will know them no more, and yet they leave their friendships and intimacies with no cultivation, to grow as they will by the roadside, expecting them to keep by force of inertia. William James

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We forget that every good that is worth possessing must be paid for in strokes of daily effort. We postpone and postpone, until those smiling possibilities are dead. William James

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Smitten as we are with the vision of social righteousness, a God indifferent to everything but adulation, and full of partiality for his individual favorites, lacks an essential element of largeness. William James

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Is life worth living? It all depends on the liver. William James

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We don't laugh because we're happy -- we're happy because we laugh. William James

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Individuality is founded in feeling; and the recesses of feeling, the darker, blinder strata of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making, and directly perceive how events happen, and how work is actually done. William James

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If you want a quality, act as if you already had it. Try the as if technique. William James

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Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make very small use of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger. William James

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The best argument I know for an immortal life is the existence of a man who deserves one. William James

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Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly. William James

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The further limits of our being plunge, it seems to me, into an altogether other dimension of existence from the sensible and merely understandable world. Name it the mystical region, or the supernatural region, whichever you choose. So far as our ideal impulses originate in this region (and most of them do originate in it, for we find them possessing us in a way for which we cannot articulately account), we belong to it in a more intimate sense than that in which we belong to the visible world, for we belong in the most intimate sense wherever our ideals belong. William James

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Mankind's common instinct for reality has always held the world to be essentially a theatre for heroism. In heroism, we feel, life's supreme mystery is hidden. We tolerate no one who has no capacity whatever for it in any direction. On the other hand, no matter what a man's frailties otherwise may be, if he be willing to risk death, and still more if he suffer it heroically, in the service he has chosen, the fact consecrates him forever. William James

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Only necessity understood, and bondage to the highest is identical with true freedom. William James

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The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it. William James

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Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. William James

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I am against bigness and greatness in all their forms, and with the invisible molecular moral forces that work from individual to individual, stealing in through the crannies of the world like so many soft rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, and yet rending the hardest monuments of mans pride, if you give them time. The bigger the unit you deal with, the hollower, the more brutal, the more mendacious is the life displayed. So I am against all big organizations as such, national ones first and foremost; against all big successes and big results; and in favor of the eternal forces of truth which always work in the individual and immediately unsuccessful way, under-dogs always, till history comes, after they are long dead, and puts them on top. You need take no notice of these ebullitions of spleen, which are probably quite unintelligible to anyone but myself. William James

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Spiritual energy flows in and produces effects in the phenomenal world. William James

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A new idea is first condemned as ridiculous and then dismissed as trivial, until finally, it becomes what everybody knows. William James

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Whenever two people meet there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is. William James

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I know that you, ladies and gentlemen, have a philosophy, each and all of you, and that the most interesting and important thing about you is the way in which it determines the perspective in your several worlds. William James

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Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you. William James

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There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision, and for whom the lighting of every cigar, the drinking of every cup, the time of rising and going to bed every day, and the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects of express volitional deliberation. William James

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The prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers. William James

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When we of the so-called better classes are scared as men were never scared in history at material ugliness and hardship; when we put off marriage until our house can be artistic, and quake at the thought of having a child without a bank-account and doomed to manual labor, it is time for thinking men to protest against so unmanly and irreligious a state of opinion. William James

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Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. which give happiness. Thomas Jefferson We never enjoy perfect happiness; our most fortunate successes are mingled with sadness; some anxieties always perplex the reality of our satisfaction. William James

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Much of what we call evil is due entirely to the way men take the phenomenon. It can so often be converted into a bracing and tonic good by a simple change of the sufferer's inner attitude from one of fear to one of fight; its string can so often depart and turn into a relish when, after vainly seeking to shun it, we agree to face about and bear it... William James