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This is mostly going to be about what I appreciated in Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham.

1. The importance of money in our lives:

Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.

There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one’s means of livelihood. Without an adequate income half the possibilities in life are shut off. The only thing to be careful about is that you do not pay more than a shilling for the shilling you earn…necessary to preserve ones’ dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, kind, and independent.

2. About Good and Evil:

Sin is a prejudice from which a free man should free himself.

Society stands on one side, an organism with its own laws of growth and self-preservation, while the individual on the other. The actions which are to the advantage of society it terms virtuous and those which are not it calls vicious. Good and evil means nothing more than that. Society has three arms in its contest with the individual, laws, public opinion, and conscience: the first two can be met by guile, guile is the only weapon of the weak against the strong: common opinion puts the matter well when it states sin consists in being found out; but conscience is the traitor within the gates; it fights in each heart the battle of society, and causes the individual to throw himself, a wanton sacrifice, to the prosperity of his enemy.

3. How to lead one’s life:

Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.

It’s a funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.

Life was described as a Persian carpet in this book. One makes his own design of it from the threads of facts and events in one’s life. The protagonist in the book had an intense desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, from some myriad and meaningless events but he eventually reckons that the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise the most perfect.

4. A complement in disguise of a scorn:

Art is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.

Awesome.

5. My thoughts in Somersets’ words:

When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me.

There was another line somewhere in the book which went as- I read because it helps me identify myself.

And of course, the controversial:

There’s always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.

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2 Comments

  1. inspiring.

  2. Hey thanks Rayhan…you *should* read the book btw…


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Joy « Inchoate on 23 Jun 2008 at 10:54 pm

    […] You can read some more of my personal favorites by Maugham here. […]

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