Quotations by Shaw, George Bernard


It was from Handel that I learned that style consists in force of assertion. If you can say a thing with one stroke unanswerably, you have style; if not, you are at best a marchand de plasir, a decorative litterateur, or a musical confectioner, or a painter of fans with cupids and cocottes. Handel has this power. When he sets the words “Fixed in his everlasting seat,” the atheist is struck dumb; God is there, fixed in his everlasting seat by Handel, even if you live in an Avenue Paul Bert and despise such superstitions. You may despise what you like, but you cannot contradict Handel.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
“Causerie on Handel in England,” Ainslee’s Magazine (May 1913)

Originally a music society lecture given in France. Longer discussion.
Added on 3-Oct-07 | Last updated 3-Oct-07
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Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity; and fashion will drive them to acquire any custom.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
“Killing for Sport,” Nash’s Magazine (Sep 1914)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The moment a revolution becomes a government, it necessarily sets to work to exterminate revolutionists. … I certainly laughed at the Soviet for setting up a museum in Moscow to glorify revolution. For when the revolution triumphs, revolution becomes counter-revolution.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
“Touring in Russia,” Nash’s Magazine (Jan-Feb 1932)
Added on 18-Mar-14 | Last updated 18-Mar-14
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All very serious revolutionary propositions begin as huge jokes. Otherwise they would be stamped out by the lynching of their first exponents.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
“Where is the New Element in the Norwegian School?”, The Quintessence of Ibsenimsm (1891)
Added on 6-Apr-11 | Last updated 6-Apr-11
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Crude classifications and false generalizations are the curse of organized life.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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If you take too long in deciding what to do with your life, you’ll find you’ve done it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)

Unsourced. Also attributed to Pam Shaw.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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An election is a moral horror, as bad as battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A man learns to skate by staggering about making a fool of himself; indeed, he progresses in all things by making a fool of himself.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)

Sometimes cited with the Americanized "insures." Also given as "Democracy is a system ensuring that the people are governed no better than they deserve." Frequently quoted, but never sourced.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Apr-16
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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.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The trouble with her is that she lacks the power of conversation but not the power of speech.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered by anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A nation’s morals are like its teeth; when they’re rotten it hurts to touch them.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Poverty does not produce unhappiness: It produces degradation.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not. The cure is occupation.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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When I was young, I observed that nine out of every ten things I did were failures, so I did ten times more work.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 20-Jul-07 | Last updated 20-Jul-07
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The best reformers the world has ever seen are those who commence on themselves.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)

Unverified in Shaw's writings.
Added on 17-Jan-08 | Last updated 17-Jan-08
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LORD NORTHCLIFFE: The trouble with you, Shaw, is that you look as if there were famine in the land.

SHAW: The trouble with you, Northcliffe, is that you look as if you were the cause of it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)

Exchange with Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe. Likely apocryphal.

Added on 29-Aug-08 | Last updated 29-Aug-08
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Reading made Don Quixote a gentleman. Believing what he read made him mad.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 29-Jul-09 | Last updated 29-Jul-09
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We learn from experience that men never learn anything from experience.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 29-Jun-10 | Last updated 24-Jun-10
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SHAW: [To a woman seated by him at a dinner party.] Madam, if I gave you a million pounds, would you have sexual intercourse with me?
WOMAN: I think I would.
SHAW: Would you do it for five?
WOMAN: Sir, what kind of woman do you think I am?
SHAW: I thought we had established that, and were merely haggling over the price.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 15-Mar-13 | Last updated 15-Mar-13
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I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)
Added on 28-Mar-14 | Last updated 28-Mar-14
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Gentlemen: I shall never shave, for the same reason that I started a beard, and for the reason my father started his. I remember standing at his side, when I was five, while he was shaving for the last time. “Father,” I asked, “Why do you shave?” He stood there for a full minute and finally looked down at me. “Why the hell do I?” he said.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)

Postcard response when invited by an electric razor company to shave off his beard with their product. Variant:
  • "I was about five at the time, and I was standing at my father's knee whilst he was shaving. I said to him, 'Daddy, why do you shave?' He looked at me in silence, for a full minute, before throwing the razor out of the window, saying, 'Why the hell do I?' He never did again."
Added on 12-Feb-15 | Last updated 12-Feb-15
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England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Attributed)

Not found in Shaw's writing. See here for further discussion. See also Wilde.
Added on 12-Apr-16 | Last updated 12-Apr-16
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The problem with communication is the illusion that it has occurred.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Spurious)

Not found in Shaw's writings. Most likely originated by William Hollingsworth Whyte, "Is Anybody Listening?" Fortune (Sep 1950). More discussion here.
Added on 11-Feb-11 | Last updated 20-Oct-16
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Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
(Spurious)

This aphorism is frequently attributed to Shaw, but not found in his works and not attributed to him or in this form before around 1990. It may be a misattributed paraphrase from Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (1973): "People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds; it is something one creates."
Added on 31-Jul-15 | Last updated 31-Jul-15
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People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.

Shaw - attached to burdens - wist_info quote

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
A Treatise on Parents and Children (1910)
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[A pessimist] is a man who thinks everybody as nasty as himself, and hates them for it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
An Unsocial Socialist, ch. 5 (1887)
Added on 8-Feb-12 | Last updated 8-Feb-12
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They hate not only their enemies but everyone who does not share their hatred.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Androcles and the Lion, ch. 2 (1912)
Added on 22-Dec-15 | Last updated 22-Dec-15
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The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Androcles and the Lion, Preface
Added on 9-Jul-04 | Last updated 9-Jul-04
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We are members one of another; so that you cannot injure or help your neighbor without injuring or helping yourself.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Androcles and the Lion, Preface (“The Alternative to Barabbas”) (1912)
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Miracles, in the sense of phenomena we cannot explain, surround us on every hand: life itself is the miracle of miracles.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Androcles and the Lion, Preface, “Credibility of the Gospels” (1912)
Added on 10-Oct-11 | Last updated 10-Oct-11
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The open mind never acts: when we have done our utmost to arrive at a reasonable conclusion, we still … must close our minds for the moment with a snap, and act dogmatically on our conclusions.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Androcles nd the Lion, Preface, “Christianity and the Empire” (1912)
Added on 6-Aug-09 | Last updated 6-Aug-09
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All great truths begin as blasphemies.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Annajanska (1919)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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If the people cannot govern themselves, they must be governed by somebody.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Annajanska (1919)
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I see plenty of good in the world working itself out as fast as the idealists will allow it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Arms and the Man, Preface (1894)
Added on 31-Jan-11 | Last updated 31-Jan-11
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A man differs from a microbe only in being further on the path.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch, ch. 2 (1921)
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When a thing is funny, search it carefully for a hidden truth.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch, Part V “As Far as Thought Can Reach” [The He-Ancient] (1921)

Full text.

Added on 25-Sep-08 | Last updated 25-Sep-08
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THE SERPENT: You see things; and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah, 1.1 (1921)

The Serpent speaking to Eve. President John Kennedy quoted this addressing the Irish Parliament, Dublin (28 Jun. 1963). Sen. Robert Kennedy modified it for his campaign, as used by Sen. Edward Kennedy in his eulogy (1968): "Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.”
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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A world without conscience: that is the horror of our condition.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah, ch. 2 (1921)
Added on 20-May-09 | Last updated 20-May-09
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Man is not God’s last word: God can still create. If you cannot do His work, He will produce some being who can.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah, ch. 2 (1921)
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Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah, ch. 5 (1921)
Added on 21-Apr-11 | Last updated 21-Apr-11
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Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah, Part 5 (1921)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Apr-15 | Last updated 16-Apr-15
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Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage — it can be delightful.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Back to Methuselah, Part V (1921)
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When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Act 3 [Apollodorus] (1898)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 26-Feb-15
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Ye poor posterity, think not that ye are the first. Other fools before ye have seen the sun rise and set, and the moon change her shape and her hour. As they were so ye are; and yet not so great; for the pyramids my people built stand to this day; whilst the dustheaps on which ye slave, and which ye call empires, scatter in the wind even as ye pile your dead sons’ bodies on them to make yet more dust.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra
Added on 13-May-11 | Last updated 13-May-11
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CAESAR: To the end of history, murder shall breed murder, always in the name of right and honor and peace, until the gods are tired of blood and create a race that can understand.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Act 4 (1899)
Added on 11-Oct-11 | Last updated 11-Oct-11
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He is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Act II [Caesar] (1899)
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It is no use my liking or disliking; I do what must be done, and have no time to attend myself. That is not happiness, but it is greatness.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Act IV [Cleopatra] (1898)

Full text. An variation on this is frequently quoted, but I haven't been able to find a source: "Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness, but it is greatness."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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It’s always your moralist who makes assassination a duty.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Notes (“Julius Caesar”) (1899)
Added on 15-May-09 | Last updated 15-May-09
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The more ignorant men are, the more convinced are they that their little parish and their little chapel is an apex to which civilization and philosophy has painfully struggled up the pyramid of time from a desert of savagery.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Notes, “Apparent Anachronisms” (1889)
Added on 12-Apr-11 | Last updated 12-Apr-11
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The period of time covered by history is far too short to allow of any perceptible progress in the the popular sense of Evolution of the Human Species. The notion that there has been any such Progress since Caesar’s time (less than 20 centuries ago) is too absurd for discussion. All the savagery, barbarism, dark ages and the rest of it of which we have any record as existing in the past exists at the present moment.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Caesar and Cleopatra, Notes, “Apparent Anachronisms” (1899)
Added on 30-Oct-12 | Last updated 30-Oct-12
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Man can climb to the highest summits; but he cannot dwell there long.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Candida, Act 3 (1898)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jun-17 | Last updated 12-Jun-17
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We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Candida, Act I (1898)
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I’m a beer teetotaler, not a champagne teetotaler. I don’t like beer.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Candida, ch. 3 (1893)
Added on 8-Dec-08 | Last updated 8-Dec-08
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Give a man health and a course to steer; and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, ch. 3 (1901)
Added on 7-Jul-11 | Last updated 7-Jul-11
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Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Everybody’s Political What’s What? (1950 ed.)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Jul-17 | Last updated 27-Jul-17
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My own education operated by a succession of eye-openers, each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Everybody’s Political What’s What, ch. 19 (1944)
Added on 11-Jan-10 | Last updated 11-Jan-10
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A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Everybody’s Political What’s What?, ch. 30 (1944)
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The man of business goes on Sunday to the church with the regularity of the village blacksmith, there to renounce and abjure before his God the line of conduct which he intends to pursue with all his might during the following week.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Fabian Essays in Socialism, “The Basis of Socialism: Economic” (1889)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Jan-17 | Last updated 20-Jan-17
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FANNY: It’s all that the young can do for the old, to shock them and keep them up to date.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Fanny’s First Play (1911)

Full text.
Added on 14-May-08 | Last updated 14-May-08
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Well, dearie, men have to do some awfully mean things to keep up their respectability.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Fanny’s First Play, 3 (1913)
Added on 11-Jun-13 | Last updated 11-Jun-13
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When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and exhausting condition until death do them part.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Getting Married, Preface (1908)

Full text.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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We always hesitate to treat a dangerously good man as a lunatic because he may turn out to be a prophet in the true sense: that is, a man of exceptional sanity who is in the right when we are in the wrong.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Getting Married, Preface, “The Gospel of Laodicea” (1908)
Added on 18-Aug-11 | Last updated 18-Aug-11
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I did not let the fear of death govern my life, and my reward was, I had my life. You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life; and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Heartbreak House, Act 2 [Capt. Shotover] (1919)

In context.
Added on 8-Nov-07 | Last updated 8-Nov-07
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What really flatters a man is that you think him worth flattering.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
John Bull’s Other Island, ch. 4 (1904)
Added on 3-May-10 | Last updated 30-May-17
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I am, and have always been, and shall now always be, a revolutionary writer, because our laws make law impossible; our liberties destroy all freedom; our property is organized robbery; our morality is an impudent hypocrisy; our wisdom is administered by inexperienced or mal-experienced dupes; our power is wielded by cowards and weaklings; and our honor false in all its points. I am an enemy of the existing order for good reasons.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Major Barbara, “Sane Conclusions” (preface) (1905)
Added on 25-Mar-14 | Last updated 25-Mar-14
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Nothing ever is done in this world until men are prepared to kill one another if it is not done.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Major Barbara, Act III [Undershaft] (1905)

Full text.
Added on 8-Jul-09 | Last updated 8-Jul-09
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He knows nothing, and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Major Barbara, ch. 3 (1905)
Added on 6-Jul-12 | Last updated 29-Jun-12
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Lack of money is the root of all evil.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman (1903)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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This is the true joy in life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Epistle Dedicatory” (1903)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 20-Mar-13
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The man with toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound. The poverty stricken man makes the same mistake about the rich man,

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Beauty and Happiness, Art and Riches” (1903)

Full text.

Added on 20-Jun-08 | Last updated 20-Jun-08
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When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Crime and Punishment” (1903)

Full text.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Democracy” (1903)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 26-Feb-15
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Every fool believes what his teachers tell him, and calls his credulity science or morality as confidently as his father called it divine revelation.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Education” (1903)

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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Education” (1903)
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Added on 19-Sep-08 | Last updated 11-Aug-17
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The savage bows down to idols of wood and stone: the civilized man to idols of flesh and blood.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Idolatry” (1903)

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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. 

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Reason” (1903)

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Added on 5-Aug-09 | Last updated 5-Aug-09
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If you begin by sacrificing yourself to those you love, you will end by hating those to whom you have sacrificed yourself.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “Self-Sacrifice” (1903)

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Added on 18-Jun-08 | Last updated 18-Jun-08
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Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “The Golden Rule” (1903)
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See Matthew.

Added on 17-Jun-08 | Last updated 23-Oct-15
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Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists: Liberty and Equality” (1903)

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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 16-Jun-11
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Vulgarity in a king flatters the majority of the nation.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists: Royalty” (1903)
Added on 6-May-11 | Last updated 6-May-11
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It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists: Stray Sayings” (1903)
Added on 30-Jul-14 | Last updated 30-Jul-14
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The man who listens to Reason is lost: Reason enslaves all whose minds are not strong enough to master her.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “The Revolutionist’s Handbook,” “Reason” (1903)

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Added on 16-Oct-07 | Last updated 16-Oct-07
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What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which habitually acts.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “The Revolutionist’s Handbook,” “Religion” (1903)
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Added on 9-Aug-07 | Last updated 7-Nov-17
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TANNER: Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Which shall use up the other? That is the issue between them. And it is all the deadlier because, in your romanticist cant, they love one another.
OCTAVIUS: Even if it were so — and I don’t admit it for a moment — it is out of the deadliest struggles that we get the noblest characters.
TANNER: Remember that the next time you meet a grizzly bear or a Bengal tiger, Tavy.
OCTAVIUS: I meant where there is love, Jack.
TANNER: Oh, the tiger will love you. There is no love sincerer than the love of food. I think Ann loves you that way: she patted your cheek as if it were a nicely underdone chop.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, Act 1, l. 184-188 (1903)
    (Source)

Often just the "There is no love sincerer than the love of food" portion is quoted.
Added on 6-Jun-14 | Last updated 6-Jun-14
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Yes, Juan: we know the libertine’s philosophy. Always ignore the consequences to the woman.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, Act 3 (1903)
Added on 16-Oct-12 | Last updated 16-Oct-12
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The more things a man is ashamed of, the more respectable he is.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, Act I (1903)
Added on 12-Aug-09 | Last updated 12-Aug-09
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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.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, Act I [Tanner] (1903)

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I had become a new person; and those who knew the old person laughed at me. The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor: he took my measure anew every time he saw me, whilst all the rest went in with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, ch. 1 (1903)
Added on 16-Apr-14 | Last updated 16-Apr-14
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Man gives every reason for his conduct save one, every excuse for his crimes save one, every plea for his safety save one; and that one is his cowardice.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, ch. 3 (1903)
Added on 5-Feb-10 | Last updated 12-Dec-12
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The creature Man, who in his own selfish affairs is a coward to the backbone, will fight for an idea like a hero.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, ch. 3 (1903)
Added on 8-May-12 | Last updated 8-May-12
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NAPOLEON: There is nothing so bad or so good that you will not find an Englishman doing it; but you will never find an Englishman in the wrong. He does everything on principle. He fights you on patriotic principles; he robs you on business principles; he enslaves you on imperial principles.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man of Destiny (1898)
Added on 1-Sep-07 | Last updated 1-Sep-07
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The slave of fear: the worst of slaveries.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Misalliance (1910)
Added on 13-Apr-10 | Last updated 13-Apr-10
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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.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Mrs. Warren s Profession, Act III (1893)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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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 do not find them, make them.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Mrs. Warren’s Profession, ch. 2 (1893)
Added on 17-Apr-09 | Last updated 17-Apr-09
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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.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Preface (1893)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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The secret to being miserable is to have leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Parents and Children, “Children’s Happiness” (1914)
Added on 1-Feb-12 | Last updated 1-Feb-12
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People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Parents and Children, “Family Affection” (1914)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Parents and Children, “Family Affection” (1914)
Added on 9-Jan-09 | Last updated 9-Jan-09
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Rich men without convictions are more dangerous in modern society than poor women without chastity.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Plays Unpleasant, Preface (1898)
Added on 7-Jul-14 | Last updated 7-Jul-14
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There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Plays: Pleasant and Unpleasant, Vol. II, Preface (1898)

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Added on 15-Jul-09 | Last updated 15-Jul-09
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PICKERING: Have you no morals, man?
ALFRED DOOLITTLE: Can’t afford them, Governor. Neither could you if you was as poor as me.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Pygmalion, Act 2 (1912)
Added on 10-Dec-12 | Last updated 10-Dec-12
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HENRY HIGGINS: The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Pygmalion, Act 5 (1912)
Added on 6-Sep-11 | Last updated 6-Sep-11
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The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Quintessence of Ibsenism (1891)
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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JOAN: I hear voices telling me what to do. They come from God.
ROBERT: They comne from your imagination.
JOAN: Of course. That is how the messages of God come to us.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Saint Joan, Act 1 (1923)
Added on 31-May-13 | Last updated 31-May-13
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The churches must learn humility as well as teach it.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Saint Joan, Preface
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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There is nothing for us but to make it a point of honor to privilege heresy to the last bearable degree on the simple ground that all evolution in thought and conduct must at first appear as heresy and misconduct.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Saint Joan, Preface (1923)

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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Feb-04
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THE INQUISITOR: Heresy begins with people who are to all appearances better than their neighbors. A gentle and pious girl or a young man, who has obeyed the command of our Lord by giving all this riches to the poor and putting on the garb of poverty, the life of austerity, and the rule of humility and charity, may be the founder of a heresy that will wreck both Church and Empire if not ruthlessly stamped out in time.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Saint Joan, sc. 6 (1923)
Added on 19-Oct-10 | Last updated 19-Oct-10
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