"To see a world in a grain of sand
and heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
and eternity in an hour."
"The most perfect society is that whose purpose
is the universal and supreme happiness."
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
"A string of excited, fugitive, miscellaneous pleasures is not happiness; happiness resides in imaginative reflection and judgment,
when the picture of one's life, or of human life, as it truly has been or is, satisfies the will, and is gladly accepted."
"If there is to be any peace it will come through being, not having."
"Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands,
but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is."
"Happiness is like a sunbeam, which the least shadow intercepts."
"Drugs bring us to to the gates of paradise, then keep us from entering."
"The happiest people seem to be those who have no particular
cause for being happy except that they are so."
William Ralph Inge
"The happy man's without a shirt."
"Men can only be happy when they do not assume that the object of life is happiness."
"The secret of happiness is to face the world is horrible, horrible, horrible."
"Happiness is a mystery, like religion, and should never be rationalized."
Gilbert K. Chesterton
"It is better to be happy for a moment and be burned up with beauty
than to live a long time and be bored all the while."
"The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."
"It is not God's will merely that we should be happy, but that we should make ourselves happy"
"He who lives happiest has forgotten most"
Robert Anton Wilson
"The happy think a lifetime short, but to the unhappy one night can be an eternity."
"To describe happiness is to diminish it."
Henri B. Stendhal
"Hope is itself a species of happiness, and, perhaps, the chief happiness which this world affords."
"The surest way to happiness is to lose yourself in a cause greater than yourself."
"Remember, happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think."
"Happiness is unrepentant pleasure."
"Happiness is a very pretty thing to feel,
but very dry to talk about."
"The essence of philosophy is that a man should so live that his happiness
shall depend as little as possible on external things."
"Pleasure is the only thing to live for. Nothing ages like happiness."
"Most of us believe in trying to make other people happy only if they can be happy in ways which we approve."
Robert S. Lynd
"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."
"Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence."
"Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it."
"To be happy is not the purpose of our being rather it is to deserve happiness."
Johann G. Fichte
"Act in such a way that you will be worthy of being happy."
"The happier the moment the shorter."
Pliny The Elder
"Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place
to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."
Robert Green Ingersoll
"If you want to understand the meaning of happiness, you must see it as a reward and not as a goal."
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
"Happiness does not lie in happiness, but in the achievement of it."
"Happiness is like those palaces in fairy tales whose gates are guarded by dragons: we must fight in order to conquer it."
"A world full of happiness is not beyond human power to create; the obstacles imposed by inanimate nature are not insuperable. The real obstacles
lie in the heart of man, and the cure for these is a firm hope, informed and fortified by thought."
"Happiness depends, as Nature shows, less on exterior things than most suppose."
"Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy they are, who already possess it."
François Duc de La Rochefoucauld
"I am happy and content because I think I am."
"Happiness, though an indefinite concept, is the goal of all rational beings"
"The greatest happiness of the greatest number is the foundation of morals and legislation."
"Gaiety - a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine."
"It appeared to me obvious that the happiness of mankind should be the aim of all action, and I
discovered to my surprise that there were those who thought otherwise."
"Let no man be called happy before his death. Till then, he is not happy, only lucky."
"To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright"
"Scarcely one person in a thousand is capable of tasting the happiness of others."
"I have the happiness of a passing moment, and what more can mortal ask?"
"I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen."
"It is pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness; poverty and wealth have both failed."
"Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.”
"There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn."
"Suspicion of happiness is in our blood."
E. V. Lucas
"Happiness consumes itself like a flame. It cannot burn for ever, it must go out, and the presentiment of its end destroys it at its very peak."
J. August Strindberg
"The important question is not, what will yield to man a few scattered pleasures, but what will render his life happy on the whole amount."
"Happiness is like manna; it is to be gathered in grains, and enjoyed every day. It will not
keep; it cannot be accumulated; nor have we got to go out of ourselves or into remote
places to gather it, since it has rained down from a Heaven, at our very door."
"...happiness is the highest good, being a realization and perfect practice of virtue, which some can attain, while others have little or none of it..."
"Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible."
"I had rather have a fool make me merry, than experience make me sad."
"Point me out the happy man and I will point you out either egotism, selfishness, evil --or else an absolute ignorance."
"Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't."
"If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day."
W. Beran Wolfe
"Happiness is in the taste, and not in the things."
"The happiness which we receive from ourselves is greater than that which we obtain from our surroundings. . . . The world in which a person lives shapes itself chiefly by the way in which he or she looks at it."
"Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul."
"If there were in the world today any large number of people who desired their own happiness more than they desired the unhappiness of others, we could have paradise in a few years."
"There is no happiness; there are only moments of happiness."
[anon; Spanish Proverb]
"Happiness is the light on the water. The water is cold and dark and deep."
"Happiness ain't a thing in itself - it's only a contrast with something that ain't pleasant."
"The most exciting happiness is the happiness generated by forces beyond your control."
"All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves."
"Life's greatest happiness is to be convinced we are loved."
"Do not speak of your happiness to one less fortunate than yourself."
"When a man has lost all happiness, he's not alive. Call him a breathing corpse."
"Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness impossible."
"The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom."
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
"Tranquil pleasure constitutes human beings' supreme good."
"What is the worth of anything,
But for the happiness 'twill bring?"
Richard Owen Cambridge
"Really high-minded people are indifferent to happiness, especially other people's."
"By heaven we understand a state of happiness infinite in degree, and endless in duration."
"The great end of all human industry is the attainment of happiness. For this were arts invented, sciences cultivated, laws ordained, and societies modeled, by the most profound wisdom of patriots and legislators. Even the lonely savage, who lies exposed to the inclemency of the elements and the fury of wild beasts, forgets not, for a moment, this grand object of his being."
"The thirst after happiness is never extinguished in the heart of man."
Jean Jacques Rousseau
"Present joys are more to flesh and blood
Than a dull prospect of a distant good."
"To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over, but part of the stream of life slowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future."
"Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly often attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults."
"Happiness is not a brilliant climax to years of grim struggle and anxiety. It is a long succession of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment."
J. Donald Walters
"He is happy that knoweth not himself to be otherwise."
"He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sun rise."
"I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them."
John Stuart Mill
"Be happy. It's one way of being wise."
"Those who seek happiness miss it, and those who discuss it, lack it."
"The highest happiness of man ... is to have probed what is knowable and quietly to revere what is unknowable."
"Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks."
"Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence becomes a mad lamentable experiment."
"The more refined one is, the more unhappy."
"No pleasure is evil in itself; but the means by which certain pleasures
are gained bring pains many times greater than the pleasures."
"How to gain, how to keep, and how to recover happiness is in fact for
most men at all times the secret motive for all they do."
"Tranquil pleasures last the longest; we are not fitted to bear the burden of great joys."
Christian Nestell Bovee
"How you feel right now is about equally genetic and circumstantial, but how you will feel
on average over the next ten years is fully 80 percent because of your genes."
"It is reasonable to suppose that the goal of a future-mind will be to optimize a mathematical measure
of its well-being or achievement, based on its internal state. (Economists speak of 'maximizing
utility'', normal people of 'finding happiness'.) The future-mind could discover, by its powerful
introspective abilities or through experience, its best possible state the Magic Moment - or several
excellent ones. It could build up a library of favourite states. That would be like a library of
favourite movies, but more vivid, since to recreate magic moments accurately would be equivalent to
living through them. Since the joys of discovery, triumph and fulfillment require novelty, to re-live a
magic moment properly, the future-mind would have to suppress memory of that moment's previous realizations.
A future-mind focused upon magic moments is well matched to the limitations of reversible computers, which
expend no energy. Reversible computers cannot store new memories, and they are as likely to run
backwards as forwards. Those limitations bar adaptation and evolution, but invite eternal cycling
through magic moments. Since energy becomes a scarce quantity in an expanding universe, that scenario might
well describe the long-term future of mind in the cosmos."
(1951 - )
[Big troubles, imagined and real; published in Global Catastrophic Risks,
eds Nick Bostrom, Milan M. Cirkovic, OUP, 2008)
Quotations on Utopia
Quotations about Love
Quotations about Pleasure
Quotations about Paradise
Quotations about Suffering and its Abolition