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A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.
—  William James
It is only by risking our persons from one hour to another that we live al all. And often enough our faith beforehand in an uncertified result is the only true thing that makes the result come true.
—  William James
Same old slippers, Same old rice, Same old glimpse of Paradise.
—  William James Lampton
Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.
—  William James
We are all potentially such sick men. The sanest and best of us are of one clay with lunatics and prison-inmates. And whenever we feel this, such a sense of the vanity of our voluntary career comes over us, that all our morality appears as a plaster hiding a sore it can never cure, and all our well-doing as the hollowest substitute for that well-being that our lives ought to be grounded in, but alas! are not so.
—  William James
Real culture lives by sympathies and admirations, not by dislikes and disdains; under all misleading wrappings it pounces unerringly upon the human core.
—  William James
There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers.
—  William James
The union of the mathematician with the poet, fervor with measure, passion with correctness, this surely is the ideal.
—  William James
To change your life: Start immediately; Do it flamboyantly; No exceptions.
—  William James
The emotions aren't always immediately subject to reason, but they are always immediately subject to action.
—  William James
Men habitually use only a small part of the power which they actually possess.
—  William James
This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it, from the moral point of view.
—  William James
Whereever you are it is your own friends who make your world.
—  William James
Faith is one of the forces by which men live, and the total absence of it means collapse.
—  William James
There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.
—  William James
Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.
—  William James
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
—  William James
He who refuses to embrace a unique opportunity loses the prize as surely as if he had failed.
—  William James
Our colleges ought to have lit up in us a lasting relish for the better kind of man, a loss of appetite for mediocrities.
—  William James
Belief is desecrated when given to unproved and unquestioned statements for the solace and private pleasure of the believer ... It is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
—  William James
In the deepest heart of all of us there is a corner in which the ultimate mystery of things works sadly.
—  William James
Every sort of energy and endurance, of courage and capacity for handling life's evils, is set free in those who have religious faith.
—  William James
Democracy is still upon its trial. The civic genius of our people is its only bulwark.
—  William James
Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that insures the successful outcome of our venture.
—  William James
We hear in these days of scientific enlightenment a great deal of discussion about the efficacy of Prayer. Many reasons are given why we should not pray. Others give reasons why we should pray. Very little is said of the reason we do pray. The reason is simple: We pray because we cannot help praying.
—  William James
Human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.
—  William James
What excites and interests the looker-on at life, what the romances and the statues celebrate, and the grim civic monuments remind us of, is the everlasting battle of the powers of light with those of darkness; with heroism reduced to its bare chance, yet ever and anon snatching victory from the jaws of death.
—  William James
If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it feels like a real fight.
—  William James
The best use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts life.
—  William James
Believe that life is worth living and your belief will held create the fact.
—  William James
A genius is the man in whom you are least likely to find the power of attending to anything insipid or distasteful in itself. He breaks his engagements, leaves his letters unanswered, neglects his family duties incorrigibly, because he is powerless to turn his attention down and back from those more interesting trains of imagery with which his genius constantly occupies his mind.
—  William James
There are two kinds of taste, the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.
—  William James
I wished by treating Psychology like a natural science, to help her become one.
—  William James
The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.
—  William James
Religion ... shall mean for us the feelings, acts and experiences of individual men in their solitude.
—  William James
Compared to what we ought to be, we are half awake.
—  William James
Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is still theoretically possible ... faith is the readiness to act in a cause the prosperous issue of which is not certified to us in advance.
—  William James
Modern man ... has not ceased to be credulous ... the need to believe haunts him.
—  William James
Whenever two men meet there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man was the other sees him, and each man as he really is.
—  William James
The whole drift of my education goes to persuade me that the world of our present consciousness is only one out of many worlds of consciousness that exist.
—  William James
Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication. Its validity is the process of its valid-ation.
—  William James
Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
—  William James
It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.
—  William James
The deepest craving in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
—  William James
The greatest use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it.
—  William James
Regarding mutual tolerance: It is negative in one sense, but positive in another. It absolutely forbids us to be forward in pronouncing on the meaninglessness of forms of existence other than our own; and it commands us to tolerate, respect, and indulge those whom we see harmlessly interested and happy in their own ways, however unintelligible these may be to us. Hands off.
—  William James
An idea, to be suggestive, must come to the individual with the force of a revelation.
—  William James
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
—  William James
They conquer who believe they can. He has not learned the first lesson of life who does not every day surmount a fear.
—  William James
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

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