Henry S. Haskins

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Henry S. Haskins (1875–1957) was a stockbroker and man of letters. His aphorisms were edited and published anonymously with an introduction by Albert Jay Nock in 1940.

Sourced[edit]

Meditations in Wall Street (1940)[edit]

  • Man is sadly retarded by allowable imperfections.
    • p. 22
  • Thoughts left unsaid are never wasted.
    • p. 22
  • It is only an uncivilized world that would worship civilization.
    • p. 22
  • The tongues of conscience need a conscience of their own to keep them from speaking before they know what they are talking about.
    • p. 29
  • No conscience which is a palimpsest of the consciences of others is a safe guide.
    • p. 29
  • Avoid membership in a body of persons pledged to only one side of anything.
    • p. 30
  • If we exiled our sins, our virtues would get lonely without their old sparring partners.
    • p. 31
  • When study becomes labor, we had better change the subject-matter as quickly as possible.
    • p. 35
  • Only occasional hours meet our full requirements.
    • p. 37
  • If you obtain provision for yourself of spiritual abundance, don’t throw the surplus at people’s heads; feed it back into your own industry as capital for the production of more abundance.
    • p. 37
  • There is not an ounce of our former strength which is not doing some sort of job, right now.
    • p. 38
  • Our portion of life is the whole thing for us.
    • p. 38
  • Proud souls in the true sense are never humbled by adversity.
    • p. 43
  • Remembrance of hopes that were silly has an especial tenderness, for much of their silliness came from a thoughtless credulity which we would be glad to have back again.
    • p. 46
  • ... memories that never ride anything but sound waves.
    • p. 46
  • Dive where the water is deep.
    • p. 49
  • The man who has a dogmatic creed has more time left for his business.
    • p. 49
  • It would be as natural for a full-grown tiger to mew as for a man released from the slavery of imitations ever to go back to his neighbor again with: “What do you think of this? What do you advise about that?”
    • p. 52
  • There never is any diminution of the vast majority, indifferent to what they are, whence they came, and whither they go, who rush from business to pastime, and from pastime back to business, leaving no vacancy into which the unknown might slip a little experimental greatness.
    • p. 57
  • Twenty is in hot haste to become a year older and cast its first vote, which Forty will know was cast like the legendary pearls.
    • p. 58
  • It is the honest lies we tell—statements factually correct and essentially deceiving—which debauch our manhood and stunt our growth.
    • p. 68
  • Some have half-baked ideas because their ideals are not heated up enough.
    • p. 69
  • Many a superior brain is blockaded by inferior thoughts.
    • p. 69
  • Vacant minds have their uses, yet it seems a pity to waste first-class bodies on them.
    • p. 70
  • The unfortunate who has to travel for amusement lacks capacity for amusement.
    • p. 70
  • The man who is too old to learn was probably always too old to learn.
    • p. 74
  • Make a party over your negative thoughts, assuring them that they are the safest, the most cautious, company you have ever kept. At first they will swallow your flattery, but then suddenly, stricken with shame, and knowing themselves for the impostors they are, out and off they will go.
    • p. 77
  • Some talk in quarto volumes and act in pamphlets.
    • p. 77
  • We cannot be too earnest, too persistent, too determined, about living superior to the herd instinct.
    • p. 79
  • Many of our intentions die after we have put their harness on.
    • p. 80
  • The darkness around us might somewhat light up if we would first practice using the light we have on the place we are.
    • p. 80
  • The way to get the most out of a victory is to follow it with another that makes it look small.
    • p. 80
  • A soul which is truly in earnest is not above disabling the body to discourage dangerous competition.
    • p. 81
  • When you start to indulge yourself, remember it is what they do with invalids and children.
    • p. 81
  • Many of us are impersonations of what we know we ought to be.
    • p. 82
  • Be a sincere effort never so misguided, to laugh at it is a breach of faith with decency.
    • p. 82
  • We demand about everything of ourselves but discrimination in what we demand.
    • p. 82
  • Ugly facts are a challenge to beautify them.
    • p. 82
  • There are many branches of learning, but only the one solid tree-trunk of wisdom.
    • p. 91
  • The art of a pedant is to divert his pupils from noticing the smallness of his puddle, and to make them attribute his apparent size to his being a really big toad.
    • pp. 91-92
  • It is not so much tutoring that the minds needs, but clearer recognition and better use of what it already knows.
    • p. 92
  • It is the semi-learned who scorn the ignorant; the learned know too much about them for that.
    • p. 92
  • The highest grades of humanity have passed through the millstones more than once.
    • p. 92
  • Man is liberated from his illusions to make room for a fresh set.
    • p. 93
  • The rare individual who has learned to govern himself is too fed up with the labor of it to want to govern anybody else.
    • p. 94
  • Academic questions are interlopers in a world where so few of the real ones have been answered.
    • p. 94
  • It is when we start to discipline our mind that we discover how many undisclosed relationships it already has.
    • p. 94
  • Sedate ignorance is the last stage of deterioration.
    • p. 94
  • Imitation can acquire pretty much everything but the power which created the thing imitated.
    • p. 96
  • Symbols have a trick of stealing the show away from the thing they stand for.
    • p. 99
  • Compliments have lost their lure by the time a man does not have to fish for them.
    • p. 100
  • Expletives serve opinions well which are not sure enough of themselves to risk expression in restrained language.
    • p. 100
  • Having climbed to a height, it is easier to slip from it than to stay there after the zest of striving is removed.
    • p. 101
  • We should train our desires to show the way to our dreams.
    • p. 103
  • The man who feels that he must be hopeful and cheerful to get along ignores the careers of some pretty successful misanthropes.
    • p. 103
  • Contentment has been worn as a crown by no end of sleepy heads.
    • p. 104
  • When a man’s success becomes commonplace to him, it is his success no longer.
    • p. 104
  • We have to serve ourselves for many years before we gain our own confidence.
    • p. 104
  • When you think of the silly things people have said to you which have stopped you from saying the same silly things, you simply can’t do justice to your gratitude.
    • p. 107
  • The deadliest contagion is majority opinion.
    • p. 108
  • Tradition is a prison with majority opinion the modern jailer.
    • p. 108
  • By an unfailing coincidence, the man who wrongs us is a villain, and the man who does us a kindness is a saint.
    • p. 109
  • Not a little of our condemnation of the acts of others is spillage from our own condemnation of our own acts.
    • p. 110
  • Acting as your own sovereign power, grant yourself oblivion for past offences.
    • p. 111
  • He who longs for the far-away proves thereby that he has corrupted the near-at-hand.
    • p. 111
  • Stand aloof from your own opinions; they seek to lure you with an illusive certainty.
    • p. 111
  • Thought the fool is to be pitied, still he is spared watching spurious wisdom turn to ashes in his head.
    • p. 115
  • A distant destination austerely reached rarely compensates for a loved starting-point forever lost.
    • p. 115
  • We fall short when we ascribe all the modes of happiness to walking in paths of rectitude. There are joys which only tramps and thieves know.
    • p. 116
  • If imagination would disentangle itself from absurdities, soon we should have it harnessed to reason, pulling the same plough.
    • p. 117
  • Where you find imagination tracing the outlines and reason filling in the details, there you have a man.
    • p. 118
  • Some live lies who won’t tell them; some tell lies who won’t live them.
    • p. 119
  • If someone offers to furnish a sure test, ask what the test was which made the sure test sure.
    • p. 120
  • What lies behind us and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
    • p. 131
  • Who can set us straight in our labyrinth from the mazes of his own?
    • p. 132
  • It is getting what we started to get, not the thing got, which spells success.
    • p. 133
  • We are no more alike under the skin than we are on top of it.
    • p. 134
  • Tradition supplants inspiration with the warmed-over article.
    • p. 134
  • We condemn a sin before we have even tried it.
    • p. 135
  • Normal is the wrong name often used for average.
    • p.135
  • Good behavior is the last refuge of mediocrity.
    • p. 135
  • Discontent follows ambition like a shadow.
    • p. 137
  • How often our bosom swells and our temples throb to a thought which proves itself not to be worth anything but for the exaltation we feel while the swelling and throbbing are going on, which after all is something.
    • p. 139
  • The things we counterfeit are not worth the trouble of falling into disgrace with ourselves.
    • p. 140
  • For a competent audience, uncommon men must have other uncommon men.
    • p. 146