Iris Murdoch Quotes
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It is not enough that I succeed, everyone else must fail.
Every man needs two women: a quiet home-maker, and a thrilling nymph.
A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.
Perhaps when distant people on other planets pick up some wavelength of ours all they hear is a continuous scream.
We can only learn to love by loving.
We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.
He was a sociologist; he had got into an intellectual muddle early on in life and never managed to get out.
Our actions are like ships which we may watch set out to sea, and not know when or with what cargo they will return to port.
The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.
I feel half faded away like some figure in the background of an old picture.
Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.
People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
Love is the perception of individuals. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.
Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.
There is no beyond, there is only here, the infinitely small, infinitely great and utterly demanding present.
Jealousy comes from self-love rather than from true love.
Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.
In philosophy if you aren't moving at a snail's pace you aren't moving at all.
Freedom may be a value in politics, but it is not a value in morals.
Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.
Literature could be said to be a sort of disciplined technique for arousing certain emotions.
The most essential and fundamental aspect of culture is the study of literature, since this is an education in how to picture and understand human situations.
All art is the struggle to be, in a particular sort of way, virtuous.
Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.
Love is the last and secret name of all the virtues.
The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular body and its indifference to substitutes is one of life's major mysteries.
Our destiny can be examined, but it cannot be justified or totally explained. We are simply here.
We shall be better prepared for the future if we see how terrible, how doomed the present is.
I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the same.
The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.
The cry of equality pulls everyone down.
I just enjoy translating, it's like opening one's mouth and hearing someone else's voice emerge.
Falling out of love is very enlightening. For a short while you see the world with new eyes.
There is no substitute for the comfort supplied by the utterly taken-for-granted relationship.
The chief requirement of the good life, is to live without any image of oneself.
Most real relationships are involuntary.
One should go easy on smashing other people's lies. Better to concentrate on one's own.
All art deals with the absurd and aims at the simple. Good art speaks truth, indeed is truth, perhaps the only truth.
We need a moral philosophy in which the concept of love, so rarely mentioned now by philosophers, can once again be made central.
Marriage isn't a tram. It doesn't have to get anywhere.
Anything that consoles is fake.
A middling talent makes for a more serene life.
The sin of pride may be a small or a great thing in someone's life, and hurt vanity a passing pinprick, or a self-destroying or ever murderous obsession.
All our failures are ultimately failures in love.
Art and psychoanalysis give shape and meaning to life and that is why we adore them, but life as it is lived has no shape and meaning.
Words are the most subtle symbols which we possess and our human fabric depends on them.
I daresay anything can be made holy by being sincerely worshipped.
Possibly, more people kill themselves and others out of hurt vanity than out of envy, jealousy, malice or desire for revenge.
In almost every marriage there is a selfish and an unselfish partner. A pattern is set up and soon becomes inflexible, of one person always making the demands and one person always giving way.
Upon the demon-ridden pilgrimage of human life, what next I wonder.