Best Quote Challenge—On Happiness (July 6, 2008)

Lytton Strachey (1880-1932) broke new ground as a biographer committed to describing the psychology of each subject he wrote about. His most familiar work is a set of chapter-length biographies called Eminent Victorians (1918). Strachey’s close study of the human condition led him to conclude that “happiness is the perpetual possession of being well deceived.” It’s doubtful that anyone who believed such a thing could be happy.

Born to privilege and suffering great reversals later in life, François de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) was not quite as pessimistic. He wrote, “We are never so happy nor so unhappy as we imagine.” If he’s right, one has to wonder how he knew.

The Best Quote Challenge for this week—July 6 to July 12—is “On Happiness.”

Here are the rules:

  1. Submit your quotation no later than July 12, 2008.
  2. Submit no more than one quotation for this challenge.
  3. Identify the source for the quotation you submit.
  4. Feel free to quote yourself; that is, you’re welcome to submit a quote of your own invention.
  5. Use the “Leave a Comment” link below this post to enter your submission.
  6. All submissions will be screened and must be consistent with the general guidelines for posting comments at this blog. (See the “Comments Policy” page.)

On Sunday, July 13, a new Best Quote Challenge will be set at this blog. During the week of July 13-19, votes will be taken for the “Best Quote on Freedom” submitted this week. So be sure to come back to this post then to cast your vote using the “Leave a Comment” link below.

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About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

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