Iris Murdoch Love Quotes and Sayings
#1 The Bell [S]
1. God can always show us, if we will, a higher and a better way; and we can only learn to love by loving. Remember that all our failures are ultimately failures in love. Imperfect love must not be condemned and rejected, but made perfect. The way is always forward, never back.
#2 The Bell [S]
2. The talk of lovers who have just declared their love is one of life’s most sweet delights. Each vies with the other in humility, in amazement at being so valued. The past is searched for the first signs, and each one is in haste to declare all that he is so that no part of his being escapes the hallowing touch.
#3 The Sublime and the Good, in the Chicago Review, Vol. 13 Issue 3, Autumn 1959
3. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.
#4 Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals [S]
4. Loving is an orientation, a direction of energy, not just a state of mind.
#5 The Nice And The Good [S]
5. A love without reservation ought to be a life force compelling the world into order and beauty. But that love can be so strong and yet so entirely powerless is what breaks the heart.
#6 An Unofficial Rose [S]
6. Goodness accepts the contingent. Love accepts the contingent. Nothing is more fatal to love than to want everything to have form.
#7 An Unofficial Rose [S]
7. Most of our love is shabby stuff…but there is always a thin line of gold, the bit of pure love on which all the rest depends—and which redeems all the rest.
#8 An Unofficial Rose [S]
8. There’s enough hatred in the world already. Only love has clear vision. Hatred has cloudy vision. When we hate we know not what we do.
#9 Under the Net [S]
9. Love is not a feeling. It can be tested. Love is action, it is silence.
#10 Under the Net [S]
10. Nothing is more maddening than being questioned by the object of one’s interest about the object of hers, should that object not be you.
#11 A Severed Head [S]
11. Falling out of love is chiefly a matter of forgetting how charming someone is.
#12 The Sublime and The Good, Existentialists and Mystics: Writings on Philosophy and Literature [S]
12. Love is the perception of individuals. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real.
Excerpt from Wikipedia: Dame Iris Murdoch (15 July 1919 – 8 February 1999) was an Irish author and philosopher, best known for her novels about sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious. Her first published novel, Under the Net, was selected in 2001 by the editorial board of the American Modern Library as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. In 1987, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Sayings by Iris Murdoch
#1 The Nice and the Good, 1968 [S]
1. 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.
#2 A Fairly Honourable Defeat [S]
2. People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
#3 The Black Prince [S]
3. The absolute yearning of one human body for another particular one and its indifference to substitutes is one of life’s major mysteries.
#4 Profiles Iris Murdoch Crusading in a Fantasy World, Billington, Rachel, The Times (London), 25 April 1983
4. I believe we live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. And the great task in life is to find reality.
#5 The Sea, the Sea [S]
5. One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better.
#6 The Sacred & Profane Love Machine [S]
6. Dogs, like humans, can be disturbed forever by an unhappy childhood.
#7 The Bell [S]
7. The chief requirement of the good life…is that one should have some conception of one’s capacities. One must know oneself sufficiently to know what is the next thing. One must study carefully how best to use such strength as one has.
#8 The Red and the Green [S]
8. I think being a woman is like being Irish…Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same.
#9 The Red and the Green [S]
9. 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.
#10 BRANS, JO, and Iris Murdoch. “Virtuous Dogs and a Unicorn: An Interview with Iris Murdoch.” Southwest Review, vol. 70, no. 1, 1985, pp. 43–54
10. I think that goodness at every level of sophistication demands the ability to face life and be truthful, and the ability to be honest and faithful and loving, and the ability to give help.
#11 An Accidental Man [S]
11. …one shouldn’t dream too much about other people’s destinies, even if they are one’s children.
#12 Under the Net [S]
12. For most of us, for almost all of us, truth can be attained, if at all, only in silence. It is in silence that the human spirit touches the divine.
#13 Sartre: Romantic Rationalist [S]
13. We know that the real lesson to be taught is that the human person is precious and unique; but we seem unable to set it forth except in terms of ideology and abstraction.
#14 The Unicorn [S]
14. Another person’s illness is often harder to bear than one’s own. The other is all imagined suffering; with one’s own, one knows its ways and its limits.
#15 Chapter Two, A Severed Head [S]
15. 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.
#16 An Unofficial Rose [S]
16. As the world runs, evil soon makes tools out of those who don’t hate it.
#17 Virtuous Dogs and a Unicorn: An Interview with Iris Murdoch by Jo Brans which was Published in Southwest Review 70 (1985) & in Brans’s “Listen to the Voices: Conversations with Contemporary Writers, From a Tiny Corner in the House of Fiction: Conversations with Iris Murdoch
17. Dogs are very different from cats in that they can be images of human virtue. They are like us.