Such gems from W. Somerset Maugham’s A Writer’s Notebook! Notes from a genius. Written 121 years ago. Timeless (and in some cases, terrifying!).

  • 1896: “From the standpoint of pure reason, there are no good grounds to support the claim that one should sacrifice one’s own happiness to that of others.”
  • 1896: …”but the banker always wins.”
  • 1896: “Can the perfect adaptation of man to society ever take place? It may be that the sheer struggle for existence will be put an end to, but will that effect the end desired?”
  • 1896: “There are few minds in a century that can look upon a new idea without terror.”
  • 1896: “A moral code is accepted by the weak-minded; the strong form their own.”
  • 1896: “Everything in life is meaningless, the pain and the suffering are fruitless and futile. There is no object in life.”

I am always fascinated by notebooks and journals kept by authors. Oftentimes, they can be a pure glance into the state of the writer’s mind. There are parts equally dark and light, but artists are usually forthcoming about the extent of the darkness. There are no attempts made to sugarcoat things.