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Quotes of the day: Max Eastman

Published Sunday, January 04, 2015 @ 12:01 AM EST
Jan 04 2015

Max Forrester Eastman (January 4, 1883 – March 25, 1969) was an American writer on literature, philosophy and society; a poet, and a prominent political activist. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


A joke is not a thing but a process, a trick you play on the listener's mind. You start him off toward a plausible goal, and then by a sudden twist you land him nowhere at all or just where he didn't expect to go.

A liberal mind is a mind that is able to imagine itself believing anything.

A poet in history is divine; but a poet in the next room is a joke.

A smile is the universal welcome.

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. What puts man in a higher state of evolution is that he has got his laugh on the right end.

Emotion is the surest arbiter of a poetic choice, and it is the priest of all supreme unions in the mind.

History is not an escalator.

Humor is the instinct for taking pain playfully.

I don't know why it is we are in such a hurry to get up when we fall down. You might think we would lie there and rest for a while.

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process.

It is the ability to take a joke, not make one, that proves you have a sense of humor.

Laughter is, after speech, the chief thing that holds society together.

People who demand neutrality in any situation are usually not neutral but in favor of the status quo.

The defining function of the artist is to cherish consciousness

The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them.


(January 4 is also the birthday of Everett Dirksen.)

Categories: Max Eastman, Quotes of the day


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