Joseph Wood Krutch Quotations

Joseph Wood Krutch

A book unlike a television program, moving picture or any other "modern means of communication" can wait for years, yet be available at any moment when it happens to be needed.

As machines get to be more and more like men, men will come to be more like machines.

Both the cockroach and the bird would get along very well without us, although the cockroach would miss us most.

Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.

Common sense was the acceptance of certain current assumptions, traditions, and standards of value which are never called into question because so to question any of them might be to necessitate a revision of government, society, and private conduct, more thoroughgoing than anyone liked to contemplate.

Electronic calculators can solve problems which the man who made them cannot solve but no government-subsidized commission of engineers and physicists could create a worm.

Even a casual reading of newspapers and magazines will keep you constantly supplied with new occasions for pet indignations.

Few people have ever seriously wished to be exclusively rational. The good life which most desire is a life warmed by passions and touched with that ceremonial grace which is impossible without some affectionate loyalty to traditional form and ceremonies.

I thought I was an intellectual because of the number of things I did not believe. Only very slowly did I come to realize that what was really characteristic of myself and my age was not that we did not believe anything but that we believed very firmly in a number of things which are not really so. We believed, for example, in the exclusive importance of the material, the measurable, and the controllable. We had no doubts about what science proves and we took it for granted that whatever science did not prove was certainly false ... The trouble was not that we were skeptical but that we were not skeptical enough.

It is not ignorance but knowledge which is the mother of wonder.

Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.

Most wicked deeds are done because the doer proposes some good to himself...[but] the killer for sport has no such comprehensible motive. He prefers death to life, darkness to light. He gets nothing except the satisfaction of saying, "Something that wanted to live is dead. There is that much less vitality, consciousness, and perhaps, joy in the universe. I am the Sprit that Denies."

Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.

Technology made large populations possible; large populations now make technology indispensable.

The methods employed for the study of man have been for the most part those originally devised for the study of machines or the study of rats, and are capable, therefore, of detecting and measuring only those characteristics which the three have in common.

The most important part of our lives -- our sensations, emotions, desires, and aspirations -- takes place in a universe of illusions which science can attenuate or destroy, but which it is powerless to enrich.

The snow itself is lonely or, if you prefer, self-sufficient. There is no other time when the whole world seems composed of one thing and one thing only.

Those whose conscience demands that they defy authority in some ways that involve great consequences must be willing to accept some penalty.

What man knows is everywhere at war with what he wants.

When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man, we call him a vandal. When he wantonly destroys one of the works of God, we call him a sportsman.