Men Forget The Horrible Thoughts And Other Terrible Truths From The Summing Up By Somerset Maugham

Men forget the horrible thoughts that wander through their own minds, and are indignant when they discover them in others, is one of the many observations found in “The Summing Up” by English writer Somerset Maugham.

It is true that we all personally have unpleasant or dreadful thoughts stuck inside our head and we keep them secretly to our self.

But strangely, when we find out others have bad thoughts in them, we felt disturbed or disgruntled.

It is said that everybody chooses what they want to see, and don’t want to see in other people.

But the issue issue here is, we also have flaws as well.

Then why do we get agitated when knowing other people’s shortcomings?

One argument is, what we cannot tolerate in others, is the same as what we cannot tolerate in ourselves.

We are unconsciously projecting our own faults onto other people, so we don’t have to suffer the agony of seeing it in ourselves.

If you observed closely, many a time, what we cannot tolerate in other people, you would realize we are actually directing the intolerance at ourselves.

There are many more acute observations and ugly truths about people in Maugham’s book “The Summing Up“.

William Somerset Maugham wrote the fascinating literary memoir “The Summing up” at the ripe age of sixty-four.

According to this British playwright, novelist and short story writer, this book is not is not an autobiography nor nor is it a book of recollections.

men forget the horrible thoughtsTo quote this grand old man of letters, Maugham said:

“I am going to try to sort out my thoughts on the subjects that have chiefly interested me during the course of my life.”

(The Summing Up By William Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1954, 3, P. 12)

It is packed with engaging account of the different stages of his life from 1890-1938.

That includes his childhood days, his initial success in theater, his transition from theater to fiction writing, and other various topics such as travel, literature, art, philosophy and his agnostic views.

Men Forget The Horrible Thoughts

Now, take your time to go through each and every quote taken from the book and ponder over it.


“The prestige you acquire by being able to tell your friends that you know famous men proves only that you are yourself of small account.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 2, P. 4)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 2, P. 5)


“We know that all men are mortal…, but it remains for us little more than a logical premiss till we are forced to recognize that in the ordinary course of things our end can no longer be remote.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 3, P. 8)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1954, 3, P. 13)


“No one can tell the whole truth about himself.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 4, P. 7)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 4V, P. 10)


“There is a sort of man who pays no attention to his good actions, but is tormented by his bad ones. ” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 4, P. 7 )

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 4, P. 10)


“I must write as though I were a person of importance; and indeed, I am- to myself.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 5, P. 11)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 5, P. 11)


“There is only one thing about which I am certain, and this is that there is very little about which one can be certain.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 5, P. 12)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 5, P. 12)


“I have not been afraid of excess: excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 15, P. 47)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 15, P. 47)


“The future will one day be the present and will seem as unimportant as the present does now.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 15, P. 50)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 15, P. 50)


“There is not much to choose between men. They are all a hotchpotch of greatness and littleness, of virtue and vice, of nobility and baseness.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 16, P. 52)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 16, P. 52)


“I wonder how anyone can have the face to condemn others when he reflects upon his own thoughts.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 16, P. 52)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 16, P. 52)


“Men forget the horrible thoughts that wander through their own minds, and are indignant when they discover them in others.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 16, P. 53)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 16, P. 53)


“We learn resignation not by our own suffering, but by the suffering of others.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 19, P. 62)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 19, P. 62)


“Fear for the most part will shatter every defence; even vanity is unnerved by it.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 19, P. 63)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 19, P. 63)


“Reserve is an artificial quality that is developed in most of us but as the result of innumerable rebuffs.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 19, P. 63)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010,19, P. 63)


“A sense of humour leads you to take pleasure in the discrepancies of human nature.” – Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 20, P. 65)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 20. P. 65)


“Our natural egoism leads us to judge people in their relation to ourselves. We want them to be certain things to us, and for us that is what they are; because the rest of them is no good to us, we ignore it.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 20, P. 69)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House,2010, 20, P. 69)


“…men were moved by a savage egoism, that love was only the dirty trick nature played on us to achieve the continuation of the species.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 21, P. 71)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 21, P. 71)


“Reverie is the groundwork of creative imagination.” – Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 23, P. 81)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 23, P. 81)


“No reading is worth while unless you enjoy it.”  – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 27, P. 94)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 27, P .94)


Imagination grows by exercise and contrary to common belief is more powerful in the mature than in the young.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 43, P. 161)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 43, P. 161)


“Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 48; P. 178)

(The quote is also found in:The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham,  William Heinemann Ltd, Penguin Books, 1938, 48, P. 128)


“The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic and self complacent is erroneous; on the contrary it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 48; p.179)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 48, P. 179)


“The artist produces for the liberation of his soul. It is his nature to create as it is the nature of water to run down hill.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1948; 49, P. 182)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Arrangement with Doubleday, Doran, Incorporated, 1938, 49; P.185)


“In civilized communities men’s idiosyncrasies are mitigated by the necessity of conforming to certain rules of behaviour. Culture is a mask that hides their faces.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 53, P. 194)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 53, P. 194)


“I’ll give you my opinion of the human race in a nutshell…Their heart’s in the right place, but their head is a thoroughly inefficient organ.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 55, P. 203)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Literary Guild of America, 1938, 55, P. 206)


“It is salutary to train oneself to be no more affected by censure than by praise.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 60, P. 220)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 60, P. 220)


“I discovered my limitations and it seemed to me that the only sensible thing was to aim at what excellence I could within them.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 10, P. 29)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 10, P. 29)


“Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 60,P. 223)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran & Co. Inc., 1938, 60, P. 227)


“The writer does not feel with; he feels in…he has what the psychologists call empathy.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 61, P. 226)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 61, P. 226)


“…the end of the artist is production while the end of other men is right action.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 61, P. 226)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 61, P. 226)


“The artist’s egoism is outrageous: it must be; he is by nature a solipsist and the world exists only for him to exercise upon it his powers of creation.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 61, P. 227)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 61, P. 227)


“We do not write because we want to; we write because we must. There may be other things in the world that more pressingly want doing: we must liberate our souls of the burden of creation.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 62, P. 230)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 62, P. 230)


Life also is a school of philosophy, but it is like one of those modern kindergartens in which children are left to their own devices and work only at the subjects that arouse their interest.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 63, P. 232)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 63, P. 232)


“The determinist thinks that you cannot take a step in life that is not motivated by what you are at the moment; and you are not only your muscles, your nerves, your entrails and your brain; you are your habits, your opinions and your ideas.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 64, P. 240)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 64, P. 240)


“…man aimed at nothing but his own pleasure and that when he sacrificed himself for others it was only an illusion that led him to believe that he was seeking anything but his own gratification.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 66, P. 247)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 66, P. 247)


“I decided that right and wrong were merely words and that the rules of conduct were no more than conventions that men had set up to serve their own selfish purposes.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 66, P. 247)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 66, P. 247)


“The solipsist believes only in himself and his experience. He creates the world as the theatre of his activity, and the world he creates consists of himself and his thoughts and feelings; and beyond that nothing has being.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 67, P. 225)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 67, P. 225)


“It may be that courage and sympathy are excellent and that they could not come into existence without danger and suffering.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 68, P. 259)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 68, P. 259)


“Some say that evil is logically necessary so that we may know good; some say that by the nature of the world there is an opposition between good and evil and that each is metaphysically necessary to the other.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 68, P. 260)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran & Co. Inc., 1938, 68, P. 263)


“A God who is all-powerful may be justly blamed for the evil of the world and it seems absurd to consider him with admiration or accord him worship.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 69; p.262)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 69, P. 262)


“Most of us find it embarrassing when flowery compliments are paid to us. It is strange that the devout should think God can be pleased when they slavishly pay them to him.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 69; p.262)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Literary Guild of America, 1938, 69, P. 266)


Men are passionate, men are weak, men are stupid, men are pitiful; to bring to bear on them anything so tremendous as the wrath of God seems strangely inept.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 69, P. 263)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 69, P. 263)


God is not so reasonable. He craves so urgently to be believed in that you might think he needed your belief in order to reassure himself of his own existence.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 69, P. 263)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 69, P. 263)


“He (God) promises rewards to those who believe in him and threatens with horrible punishment those who do not.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 69, P. 263-4)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1954, 69, P. 236)


“For my part I cannot believe in a God who is angry with me because I do not believe in him. I cannot believe in a God who is less tolerant than I.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 69, P. 264)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Double Day, Doran & Co. Inc., 1938, 69, P. 268)


“…men have ascribed to God imperfections that they would deplore in themselves that does not prove that God does not exist. It proves only that the religions that men have accepted are but blind alleys cut into an impenetrable jungle and none of them leads to the heart of the great mystery.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 69, P. 264)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 69, P. 264)


“Experience has shown that the prevalence of a belief, no matter for how long it has been held, is no guarantee of its truth.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 69, P. 265)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 69, P. 265)


“…consciousness cannot be extinguished by death; for the annihilation of consciousness is inconceivable, since only consciousness can conceive the annihilation of consciousness.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 70, P. 269)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday ^ Company, 1938, 70, P. 273)


“If God is love, men are values to him, and it cannot be believed that what is of value to God can be allowed to perish.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1938, 70, PP. 269-70)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1954, 70, P. 242)


“Immortality is too stupendous a notion to be entertained in connection with common mortals. They are too insignificant to deserve eternal punishment or to merit eternal bliss.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 70, P. 270)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 70, P. 270)


“There is no reason for life and life has no meaning.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 71, P. 272)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 71, P. 272)


“Determinism tells us that choice follows the line of least resistance or the strongest motive.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 72, PP. 276-7)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday & Company, 1938, 72, P. 281)


“We are the playthings of nature. Earthquakes will continue to wreak havoc, droughts to ruin crops and unforeseen floods to destroy the prudent constructions of men.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 73, P. 280)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Literary Guild of America, 1938, 73, P. 285)


“There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish; to bewail it senseless.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 73, P. 281)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran & Co. Inc., 1938, 73, P. 285)


Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 73, P. 286)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 73, P. 286)


“I knew that I should never write as well as I could wish, but I thought with pains I could arrive at writing as well as my natural defects allowed.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 10, P. 29)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 10, P. 29)


“We are the product of our natures and our environment.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 74, P. 289)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 74, P. 289)


“The egoism of man makes him unwilling to accept the meaninglessness of life…” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 75,  P. 290)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 75, P. 290)


“If truth is a value it is because it is true and not because it is brave to speak it.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 75; p.291)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 75, P. 291)


“…beauty was like the summit of a mountain peak; when you had reached it there was nothing to do but to come down again.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 76,  P. 293)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1954, 76, P. 262)


“If beauty is one of the great values of life, then it seems hard to believe that the aesthetic sense which enables men to appreciate it should be the privilege only of a class.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 76, P. 298)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1954, 76, P. 267)


“An art is only great and significant if it is one that all may enjoy.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1938, 76, P. 299)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 76, P. 299)


“The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd, 1948, 77, P. 300)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 77, P. 300)


“Affection is created by habit, community of interests, convenience and the desire of companionship. It is a comfort rather than an exhilaration.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1948, 77, P. 301)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 77, P. 301)


“Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd., 1948, 73, P. 198)

(The quote is also found in: The Summing Up By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 73, P. 285)


Note:

For those of you like to read this literary memoir “The Summing Up” by Somerset Maugham online, the free e-book is available on these two sites.

Link 1

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*Here is a list of authentic wit and wisdom from Somerset Maugham stories.

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