Saturday 9 March 2019

Aphorisms of Malcom Muggeridge

Every happening, great and small, is a parable whereby God speaks to us, and the art of life is to get the message.

The most terrible thing about materialism, even more terrible than its proneness to violence, is its boredom, from which sex, alcohol, drugs, all devices for putting out the accusing light of reason and suppressing the unrealizable aspirations of love, offer a prospect of deliverance.

Sex is the mysticism of materialism and the only possible religion in a materialistic society.

I can say that I never knew what joy was like until I gave up pursuing happiness, or cared to live until I chose to die. For these two discoveries I am beholden to Jesus.

The pursuit of happiness, which American citizens are obliged to undertake, tends to involve them in trying to perpetuate the moods, tastes and aptitudes of youth.

Travel, of course, narrows the mind.


  1. Travel narrows the mind in an older traveller : it's revelatory to the young

  2. Malcolm Muggeridge, Chronicles of Wasted Time

    on journalists and power

    “Journalists follow authority as sharks do a liner, hoping to feed off the waste it discharges, with perhaps someone occasionally falling overboard to make a meal, and once in a way the whole ship going down and providing a positive feasts.”

    on love at first sight

    “It is always easy to talk to someone with whom one is going to become intimate; the future casts its shadow backwards, and there is no explaining to be done, even though there is everything to explain.”

    on “the personal is political”

    “I have never been able to relate my feelings about people as individuals to my relations to their public attitudes and behaviour, whether approving or disapproving—something that has often got me into trouble.”

    on free will

    “Free will, in my experience, is tactical rather than strategic; in all the larger shaping of a life, there is a plan already, into which one has no choice but to fit, or contract out of living altogether.”

    on man’s dreams

    “The really terrible thing about life is not that our dreams are unrealised but that they come true.”

    on hypocrisy and the reformer

    “He represented, indeed, to a superlative degree, the great moral fallacy of our time—that collective virtue may be pursued without reference to personal behaviour.”

    on politicians

    “Commentators on the political scene tend in retrospect to regard the figures who emerge into prominence as totally derisory. Understandably so. It is extremely difficult, as I know from personal experience, to spend time with one or other of them without reaching the conclusion that some accomplished clown like Peter Sellers has substituted for him.”

    on fake news

    “I also learnt at an early age the great truth that the twentieth century is an age of almost inconceivable credulity, in which critical faculties are stifled by a plethora of public persuasion and information, so that, literally, anyone will believe anything.”

    Quoted February 18-March 1, 2019 by Terry Teachout at