"I am bound by my own definition of criticism: a disinterested endeavour to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world.'
"The people who believe most that our greatness and welfare are proved by our being very rich, and who most give their lives and thoughts to becoming rich, are just the very people whom we call the Philistines. Culture says: 'Consider these people, then, their way of life, their habits, their manners, the very tones of their voice; look at them attentively; observe the literature they read, the things which give them pleasure, the words which come forth out of their mouths, the thoughts which make the furniture of their minds; would any amount of wealth be worth having with the condition that one was to become just like these people by having it?'"
"Our society distributes itself into Barbarians, Philistines, and Populace; and America is just ourselves, with the Barbarians quite left out, and the Populace nearly."
“Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming.”
“The need of expansion is as genuine an instinct in man as the need in a plant for the light, or the need in man himself for going upright. The love of liberty is simply the instinct in man for expansion.”
“We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I do not know.”
"Culture is then properly described not as having its origin in curiosity, but as having its origin in the love of perfection; it is a study of perfection."
"The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light. He who works for sweetness and light, works to make reason and the will of God prevail. He who works for machinery, he who works for hatred, works only for confusion. Culture looks beyond machinery, culture hates hatred; culture has one great passion, the passion for sweetness and light."
"Everything in our political life tends to hide from us that there is anything wiser than our ordinary selves."