Lin Yutang quotes

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Lin Yutang

Birthdate: 10. October 1895
Date of death: 26. March 1976

Lin Yutang was a Chinese writer, translator, linguist and inventor. His informal but polished style in both Chinese and English made him one of the most influential writers of his generation, and his compilations and translations of classic Chinese texts into English were bestsellers in the West.

Works

Quotes Lin Yutang

„I am doing my best to glorify the scamp or vagabond.“

—  Lin Yutang, book The Importance of Living

Ch. I : The Awakening, p. 12
The Importance of Living (1937)
Context: I am doing my best to glorify the scamp or vagabond. I hope I shall succeed. For things are not so simple as they sometimes seem. In this present age of threats to democracy and individual liberty, probably only the scamp and the spirit of the scamp alone will save us from being lost in serially numbered units in the masses of disciplined, obedient, regimented and uniformed coolies. The scamp will be the last and most formidable enemy of dictatorships. He will be the champion of human dignity and individual freedom, and will be the last to be conquered. All modern civilization depends entirely upon him.

„By association with nature's enormities, a man's heart may truly grow big also.“

—  Lin Yutang, book The Importance of Living

p. 282
The Importance of Living (1937)
Context: By association with nature's enormities, a man's heart may truly grow big also. There is a way of looking upon a landscape as a moving picture and being satisfied with nothing less big as a moving picture, a way of looking upon tropic clouds over the horizon as the backdrop of a stage and being satisfied with nothing less big as a backdrop, a way of looking upon the mountain forests as a private garden and being satisfied with nothing less as a private garden, a way of listening to the roaring waves as a concert and being satisfied with nothing less as a concert, and a way of looking upon the mountain breeze as an air-cooling system and being satisfied with nothing less as an air-cooling system. So do we become big, even as the earth and firmaments are big. Like the "Big Man" described by Yuan Tsi (A. D. 210-263), one of China's first romanticists, we "live in heaven and earth as our house."

„The best that we can hope for in this life is that we shall not have sons and grandsons of whom we need to be ashamed.“

—  Lin Yutang, book The Importance of Living

p. 23
The Importance of Living (1937)
Context: A reasonable naturalist then settles down to this life with a sort of animal satisfaction. As Chinese illiterate women put it, "Others gave birth to us and we give birth to others. What else are we to do?".... Life becomes a biological procession and the very question of immortality is sidetracked. For that is the exact feeling of a Chinese grandfather holding his grandchild by the hand and going to the shops to buy some candy, with the thought that in five or ten years he will be returning to his grave or to his ancestors. The best that we can hope for in this life is that we shall not have sons and grandsons of whom we need to be ashamed.

„That is a final fact of my inner consciousness, and for no religion could I deny its truth.“

—  Lin Yutang, book The Importance of Living

p. 407
The Importance of Living (1937)
Context: I feel, like all modern Americans, no consciousness of sin and simply do not believe in it. All I know is that if God loves me only half as much as my mother does, he will not send me to Hell. That is a final fact of my inner consciousness, and for no religion could I deny its truth.

„This is a personal testimony, a testimony of my own experience of thought and life. It is not intended to be objective and makes no claim to establish eternal truths. In fact I rather despise claims to objectivity in philosophy; the point of view is the thing.“

—  Lin Yutang, book The Importance of Living

Preface
The Importance of Living (1937)
Context: This is a personal testimony, a testimony of my own experience of thought and life. It is not intended to be objective and makes no claim to establish eternal truths. In fact I rather despise claims to objectivity in philosophy; the point of view is the thing. I should have liked to call it "A Lyrical Philosophy," using the word "lyrical" in the sense of being a highly personal and individual outlook...

„Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.“

—  Lin Yutang, book The Importance of Living

Source: As quoted in Pearls of Wisdom: A Harvest of Quotations From All Ages (1987) by Jerome Agel and Walter D. Glanze, p. 46. From The Importance of Living: "besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone" (p. 162), "the wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials" (p. 10).

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„What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?“

—  Lin Yutang

Variant: What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

„When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.“

—  Lin Yutang

As quoted in Hard-to-Solve Cryptograms (2001) by Derrick Niederman, p. 96

„Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.“

—  Lin Yutang

"The Epigrams of Lusin"
Variant: Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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