A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.

— Iris Murdoch

The most floundering Iris Murdoch quotes that are little-known but priceless

Perhaps when distant people on other planets pick up some wavelength of ours all they hear is a continuous scream.

60

We can only learn to love by loving.

56

He was a sociologist; he had got into an intellectual muddle early on in life and never managed to get out.

50

Our actions are like ships which we may watch set out to sea, and not know when or with what cargo they will return to port.

46

Writing is like getting married. One should never commit oneself until one is amazed at one's luck.

42

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.

Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.

41

I feel half faded away like some figure in the background of an old picture.

34

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.

30

Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary and everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self.

26

When does one ever know a human being? Perhaps only after one has realized the impossibility of knowledge and renounced the desire for it and finally ceased to feel even the need of it. But then what one achieves is no longer knowledge, it is simply a kind of co-existence; and this too is one of the guises of love.

25

Happiness is a matter of one's most ordinary everyday mode of consciousness being busy and lively and unconcerned with self. To be damned is for one's ordinary everyday mode of consciousness to be unremitting agonizing preoccupation with self.

25

In philosophy if you aren't moving at a snail's pace you aren't moving at all.

25

About Iris Murdoch

Quotes 183 sayings
Nationality Irish
Profession Author
Birthday October 16

Literature could be said to be a sort of disciplined technique for arousing certain emotions.

22

Art is the final cunning of the human soul which would rather do anything than face the gods.

20

We are all the judges and the judged, victims of the casual malice and fantasy of others, and ready sources of fantasy and malice in our turn. And if we are sometimes accused of sins of which we are innocent, are there not also other sins of which we are guilty and of which the world knows nothing?

20

I hate solitude but I am afraid of intimacy.

The substance of my life is a private conversation with myself and to turn it into a dialogue would be equivalent to self-destruction. The company I need is the company which a pub or a cafe will provide. I have never wanted a communion of souls.

20

Falling out of love is very enlightening. For a short while you see the world with new eyes.

14

The priesthood is a marriage. People often start by falling in love, and they go on for years without realizing that love must change into some other love which is so unlike it that it can hardly be recognized as love at all.

14

I think being a woman is like being Irish.

Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the same.

13

Our destiny can be examined, but it cannot be justified or totally explained. We are simply here.

13

Falling out of love is chiefly a matter of forgetting how charming someone is.

12

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.

12

The cry of equality pulls everyone down.

11

I just enjoy translating, it's like opening one's mouth and hearing someone else's voice emerge.

11

But fantasy kills imagination, pornography is death to art.

11

Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved.

10

There is no substitute for the comfort supplied by the utterly taken-for-granted relationship.

10

All art deals with the absurd and aims at the simple.

Good art speaks truth, indeed is truth, perhaps the only truth.

9

Perhaps misguided moral passion is better than confused indifference.

9

We need a moral philosophy in which the concept of love, so rarely mentioned now by philosophers, can once again be made central.

8

Most real relationships are involuntary.

8

Philosophy! Empty thinking by ignorant conceited men who think they can digest without eating!

8

Intense mutual erotic love, love which involves with the flesh all the most refined sexual being of the spirit, which reveals and perhaps even ex nihilo creates spirit as sex, is comparatively rare in this inconvenient world.

8

No love is entirely without worth, even when the frivolous calls to the frivolous and the base to the base.

7

there is a natural tribal hostility between the married and the unmarried.

I cannot stand the shows so often quite instinctively put on by married people to insinuate that they are not only more fortunate but in some way more moral than you are.

7

All our failures are ultimately failures in love.

7

Art and psychoanalysis give shape and meaning to life and that is why we adore them, but life as it is lived has no shape and meaning.

7

Moralistic is not moral. And as for truth -- well, it's like brown -- it's not in the spectrum. Truth is so generic.

7

The sin of pride may be a small or a great thing in someone's life, and hurt vanity a passing pinprick, or a self-destroying or ever murderous obsession.

7

I daresay anything can be made holy by being sincerely worshipped.

6

A middling talent makes for a more serene life.

6

In almost every marriage there is a selfish and an unselfish partner.

A pattern is set up and soon becomes inflexible, of one person always making the demands and one person always giving way.

5

Being good is just a matter of temperament in the end.

5

Upon the demon-ridden pilgrimage of human life, what next I wonder.

5

Human affairs are not serious, but they have to be taken seriously.

5

Jealousy is the most dreadfully involuntary of all sins.

5

Possibly, more people kill themselves and others out of hurt vanity than out of envy, jealousy, malice or desire for revenge.

5

Real misery cuts off all paths to itself.

4

Every man needs two women, a quiet home-maker, and a thrilling nymph.

4
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