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Seven Best Mark Twain Quotes

In a mission to find the best and share it with the rest of the world.

The Best of Lost Arts

"Honesty: The best of all the lost arts."

Mark Twain was one of those quick enough to recognize the importance of honesty. Honesty is the most basic human currency. But it is not easy to be honest without being rude. It is a true, lost art.

By giving importance to honesty, Mark Twain made sure that the human conflict in his stories remained important across time. What else, would you say is as important as honesty?

The Worship of Dead Radicals

"Conservatism is the blind and fear-filled worship of dead radicals."

Conservatism is the point of view that seeks to preserve the best from the past. The only problem is that it does this at the expense of new ideas, of innovation.

Mark Twain tells us that the ideas that conservatism worships were radical in their own time. All ideas were new and innovative at some point.

This means that we do not need conservatism. The only thing we need is a good filter for new ideas. Avoiding getting stuck in the past can mean everything to our society.

We Need Sorrow

"The source of all humor is not laughter, but sorrow."

By telling us this, Mark Twain speaks from the heart of all writers. Sorrow underlies all significant events. For anything to become important to us, for anything to matter, it must involve a measure of sorrow.

When we are moved to laughter, we recognize sorrow in the story. What makes it funny is that it is inevitable. Situations will inevitably arise when a good and clean choice is not available to us.

In such situations, it is really better to laugh. And we often laugh the hardest when we feel sorrow.

Do Not Be a Clown

"Never have a battle of wits with an unarmed person."

The electrifying wisdom transmitted moves us to the realization that we would not say certain hurtful things were it not for the fact that we cannot be harmed in doing so. Very often, we play with other people's feeling, hiding behind a mantle of civility.

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But Mark Twain urges us to go deeper, to be more human, to take our words seriously. He does not mean that we should go about seeking armed men with whom to test our wits.

Rather, when we feel the urge to get witty and start an argument, we can ask ourselves if we would do the same if the person were armed with a lethal weapon.

Are you ready to die for th sake of making fun of someone else?

A Frightening Truth

"The more things are forbidden, the more popular they become."

Everything that is taboo, everything that makes your heart twitch and gets your juices flowing, everything that your parents told you is out of bounds or is evil, will forever haunt your dreams.

Not only does the forbidden fill our nights and our fantasies, but it also spills over into the waking world. Decisions regarding how we live our life. What we choose to expose ourselves to. All of these are affected by what we consider taboo or forbidden. And it calls us. It beckons us.

We see this from the prohibition of certain sexual practices to the obsession with Hitler to the gratuitous violence that millions of men and women and children find both frightening but also extremely alluring.

Always Move Forward

"Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul."

Life is always changing, and we must change with it. If you get stuck in an old way of doing things or in an old way of thinking, then you will not be able to learn anything new.

The only way to become better, to improve things, is to change your opinions, to change how you approach things. And only in this way can the human soul reach the heights of freedom.

We Feel Before We Think

"But that is the way we are made: we don't reason, where we feel; we just feel."

As humans, we are defined by our feelings. Everything that is around us gives us feelings. We sense things and we have feelings about them. We think thoughts and we have feelings about these too.

So, even though we bethink ourselves extremely rational because of how far our technologies and understanding have come since we lived in caves, the truth is that feelings remain king.

By taking this into account, we can learn to better treat ourselves and communicate with others. Handling feelings also means not letting them rule our life. But we can only do this by listening to them and knowing how to deal with them in kind ways.

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