John Cowper Powys Quotations

John Cowper Powys

An original mind has no more respect for modern ideas than it has for any other ideas. All ideas are human.

Can it be said too often that the meaning of culture is nothing less than the conduct of life itself, fortified, thickened, made more crafty and subtle, by contact with books and with art?

Every day that we allow ourselves to take things for granted, every day that we allow some little physical infirmity or worldly worry to come between us and our obstinate, indignant, defiant exultation, we are weakening our genius for life.

If by the time we are 60 we haven't learned what a knot of paradox and contradiction life is, and how exquisitely the good and bad are mingled in every action we take, we haven't grown old to much purpose.

I shall...NEVER see any Television. I think these Televisions have done more harm to human intelligence than any other invention.

It is ever the mark of the 'parvenu' in education to chafe and fret till his opinions correspond to the last word of modish sophistication. Culture, however, like aristocracy, goes its own way and does not bother about justifying itself.

It is strange how few people make more than a casual cult of enjoying Nature. And yet the earth is actually and literally the mother of us all. One needs no strange spiritual faith to worship the earth.

Love is always in the mood of believing in miracles.

Not the wretchedest man or woman but has a deep secretive mythology with which to wrestle with the material world and to overcome it and pass beyond it. Not the wretchedest human being but has his share in the creative energy that builds the world. We are all creators. We all create a mythological world of our own out of certain shapeless materials.

Our rulers at the present day, with their machines and their preachers, are all occupied in putting into our heads the preposterous notion that activity rather than contemplation is the object of life.

The cultured man is the man whose interior consciousness is forever obstinately writing down, in the immaterial diary of his psyche's sense of life, every chance aspect of every new day that he is lucky enough to live to behold!

The law of the universe is righteousness and justice and mercy and pity; and not all the Science in your laboratories can make wrong right!

The love that interferes and knows not how to leave alone is a love alien to Nature's ways; and, as everyone knows who has looked into the eyes of snakes, birds, toads, geese, and sea-gulls, there is an upwelling from the heart of Nature of a resolute will to be happy in spite of all, which is stronger than any creed, deeper than any philosophy, and more potent than any renunciation.

The unspoken creed of culture implies an obstinate determination to be happy at all costs.

To philosophize is not to read philosophy; it is to feel philosophy. The raw spikes and jagged edges, the sour-tasting dust and wind-blown debris of superficial real life have to be deliberately comprehended, or at least evaded, before the more secret rhythms, the more recondite patterns of Nature, her humours, her tragedies, her poetry take shape in the mind.

Torturing animals to prolong human life has separated science from the most important thing that life has produced - the human conscience.

What real culture can do for personal happiness is to simplify existence down to bed-rock, to heighten in fact those great permanent sensations which belong, as Wordsworth puts it, to "the pleasure there is in life itself".

Your science may torture all it likes with your precious license, but the vengeance of Heaven will fall on your race. More will perish because of science than will live because of it.