Talk:George Bernard Shaw

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Shaw? "We have established what you are, Madam"Edit

"We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price." This seems to be the punchline of that joke:

A: Would you sleep with me for 1,000,000$?

B: ...YES!

A: How about 1$?

B: What do you think what a person I am?

I have seen that story attributed to Churchill (most often), Twain and Bertrand Russell. (oct.28, 2004)

Also W. C. Fields and others... I believe that a variant of this might actually occur in My Fair Lady (adapted from Shaw's Pygmalion) but I am not certain. I will have to check. ~ Kalki 20:23, 28 Oct 2004 (UTC)
There is an excellent analysis of this quote over at the Quote Investigator, which shows that it is highly unlikely that the quote originated with Shaw (or any other of the famous people it has been attributed to). -- Llarq (talk) 22:57, 8 July 2013 (UTC)
I added it to the misattributed section of the page. --Spannerjam (talk) 15:03, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Source of "If you have an apple and I have an apple..."Edit

  • "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

Has anyone had any success in tracking down more detail on this "attributed" quote? It is frequently used by the open source movement, with slight variations - I'm trying to find an authoritive source for the quote, and more idea of the context in which it was said or written. --Catscratch 02:28, 22 August 2005 (UTC)

Searching Google Books, the first occurrence of this I found was in 1952 (two years after Shaw's death) on page 46 of the March 1952 issue of the Phi Kappa Phi Journal. Unlike later occurrences, this appears to be part of a larger essay. Unfortunately Google Books does not display enough of the work to show who wrote it! Here's a link to the Google Books page: [1]. Frappyjohn 09:29, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Here's the quote (to the extent that Google books lets me see it: "If I have an apple and you have an apple and we excnage apples -- then you have an apple and I have an apple. But if I have the idea that the apple is red and you have the idea that the apple is small and we exchange ... " [ideas -- then we each have both ideas and know that it is a small red apple (?)] Frappyjohn 20:19, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

If you are tricky enough, you can read the next few lines of that book in Google Books. Here is the full quote:
"If I have an idea and give the idea away it is not gone, but I still have it! This experience does not conform to the arithmetic of things.
Let us examine this experience from the point of view of exchange. If I have an apple and you have an apple and we exchange apples -- then you have an apple and I have an apple. But if I have the idea that the apple is red and you have the idea that the apple is small and we exchange ideas, then you have two ideas and I have two ideas. It is quite obvious, therefore, that the laws governing thoughts or ideas are different from the laws governing things. If I have an idea and give it away, I still have it to give again, and if I give the idea away again and again, I still have the idea left."
--Nicolas T., 19 May 2011

Here is a more complete tracking of this quote that seems to conclude that the quote in question SHOUDN'T BE ATTACHED to George Bernard Shaw: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/12/13/swap-ideas/
-- Antonello Lobianco, 15 June 2013

Accuracy of "Two tragedies in life"Edit

Belongs in Man and Superman? Quote also needs checking: "There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other to get it."

as opposed to the article's "...lose you heart's desire. the other is to gain it."

slight difference in meaning..."lose" would infer that at one point you had acquired it...i don't think this is the sentiment he is trying to portray? FK

A possible quotation: Speaking English in three languagesEdit

I found this sentence in a Hungarian source (my own translation into English):

G.B. Shaw once said that he spoke “English” in three different languages: he uses one for writing his plays, he uses the other when arranging official functions of life, and he uses the third with his intimate friends; these three languages are quite dissimilar to each other.

Could you possibly help me find the original English quotation by Shaw himself? Adam78 14:43, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Genuine Islam quoteEdit

The below quote was deleted from the page by User:-ramz-, saying "According to a number of pro-islam sites this quotation is allegedly from "The Genuine Islam", however there seems to be no such work, only two quotes from it circulating on these sites."

I have always held the religion of Muhammed in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion far from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.

I would like to know how this user knows that this work does not exist. I have seen the quote cited as being from Genuine Islam, Vol. I, No. 8 (1936). If this work does not exist, I can understand removing it, but if it does, the quote should be reinstated. ~ UDScott 17:33, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

User:-anonymous-There is such a work and it I have seen it on a site: http://prophetofislam.com/what_do_others_say.php —This unsigned comment is by 41.242.7.208 (talkcontribs) .

I believe the above quote is akin to "religious spam". The linked site does not contain information (author, publishers address, ISBN etc.) The work not only needs to exist but needs to provide authoritative reference for the date and context of Shaw's words.
—This unsigned comment is by 87.198.169.92 (talkcontribs) .
Some further information on the quotes, paraphrasing, and possible fabrications cited to Shaw were addressed in the further commentary in the following 2 sub-sections. ~ Kalki 18:53, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

In keeping with similar sections on other pages, where there are disputes as to citations, I just created a "Disputed" section for these quotations and moved them from the "Unsourced" section:

  • If any religion had the chance of ruling over England, nay Europe within the next hundred years, it could be Islam.
  • I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capacity to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. I have studied him - the wonderful man and in my opinion for from being an anti-Christ, he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness: I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today.

Shaw did not shrink from controversy on religious matters, and it is conceivable he made such statements, but they do seem a bit extreme even for him, and uncharacteristic in endorsing any one particular tradition. One of them could allude to Shaw's character Hotchkiss in Getting Married (1908) stating: "I believe the whole British Empire will adopt a reformed Mohammedanism before the end of the century. The character of Mahomet is congenial to me. I admire him, and share his views of life to a considerable extent." but the same character goes on to say "Religion is a great force — the only real motive force in the world; but what you fellows dont understand is that you must get at a man through his own religion and not through yours. Instead of facing that fact, you persist in trying to convert all men to your own little sect, so that you can use it against them afterwards. You are all missionaries and proselytizers trying to uproot the native religion from your neighbor's flowerbeds and plant your own in its place. You would rather let a child perish in ignorance than have it taught by a rival sectary. You can talk to me of the quintessential equality of coal merchants and British officers; and yet you cant see the quintessential equality of all the religions."

It should be noted that neither Shaw or his character is making a claim of the absolute equality of all religions, but is stating that there are fundamental and important positive and negative motivational forces at work in all of them, which seems to reflect the general attitude he held most of his life, after his earlier period of adamant atheism. ~ Agnostic Gnostic 09:58, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

User:-anonymous- Well I also know that he met with an Islamic scholar named Alim Siddiqui (not to be confused with Kalim), I will try to locate more data...

User:-anonymous- Found something, http://www.almazhar.com/bio_aala_hazrat.php and http://www.alahazratnetwork.org/english/Neglected_Genious.pdf (A friend has portion of the dialogue in a book, will try to retrieve it)

The Genuine Islam is not in the Library of Congress catalogue, which covers most literature published in English (and much in other languages, too). Neither can I find it in the National Library of Singapore catalogue, although it was allegedly published in Singapore.
If the publication does indeed exist, it should be possible to verify it in the catalogue of some established public library. Until that, we have to assume that the quote is not genuine. --Jonund 19:21, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

User:-anonymous- The quote is of dubious origin -- see http://idlethink.wordpress.com/2008/12/03/being-an-unforgivably-protracted-debunking-of-george-bernard-shaws-views-of-islam/

Let's settle the matter once and for all. The quote is genuine and there is no dispute about its citation either - it is also completely accurate. As for verifying the publication in the catalogue of some established library: it can be found in the New York Public Library (Stephen A. Schwarzman Bldg - General Research: Room 315).

—This unsigned comment is by 77.100.17.42 (talkcontribs) .


I have now added what seems to be 2 of the most thoroughly researched and accurate versions of quotes from this interview onto the sourced section along with one other on Shaw's views on religion:
  • The apparent multiplicity of Gods is bewildering at the first glance; but you presently discover that they are all the same one God in different aspects and functions and even sexes. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible Gods… Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the profoundest Methodist and the crudest idolater are equally at home in it.
    Islam is very different, being ferociously intolerant. What I may call Manifold Monotheism becomes in the minds of very simple folk an absurdly polytheistic idolatry, just as European peasants not only worship Saints and the Virgin as Gods, but will fight fanatically for their faith in the ugly little black doll who is the Virgin of their own Church against the black doll of the next village. When the Arabs had run this sort of idolatry to such extremes ... they did this without black dolls and worshipped any stone that looked funny, Mahomet rose up at the risk of his life and insulted the stones shockingly, declaring that there is only one God, Allah, the glorious, the great… And there was to be no nonsense about toleration. You accepted Allah or you had your throat cut by someone who did accept him, and who went to Paradise for having sent you to Hell. Mahomet was a great Protestant religious force, like George Fox or Wesley….
    There is actually a great Hindu sect, the Jains, with Temples of amazing magnificence, which abolish God, not on materialist atheist considerations, but as unspeakable and unknowable, transcending all human comprehension.
    • Letter to the Reverend Ensor Walters (1933), as quoted in Bernard Shaw : Collected Letters, 1926-1950 (1988) by Dan H. Laurence, p. 305
  • I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. The world must doubtless attach high value to the predictions of great men like me. I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of tomorrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of today. The medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Muhammadanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained both to hate the man Muhammad and his religion. To them Muhammad was Anti-Christ. I have studied him — the wonderful man, and in my opinion far from being an Anti-Christ he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much-needed peace and happiness. But to proceed, it was in the 19th century that honest thinkers like Carlyle, Goethe and Gibbon perceived intrinsic worth in the religion of Muhammad, and thus there was some change for the better in the European attitude towards Islam. But the Europe of the present century is far advanced. It is beginning to be enamoured of the creed of Muhammad.
  • I hold the Prophet of Arabia in great esteem and I can quite understand that it would have been impossible to restrain and wean that illiterate and perverse race, sunk in the miasma of utter moral depravity, from committing the most heinous of crimes, and imbue its people with enthusiasm to strive after righteousness and assimilate high morals and virtues, without projecting such a terrible and intensely awe inspiring spectacle of Hell and an equally captivating and enticing image of a land flowing with milk and honey to represent Heaven before their vision.

These are presented chronologically and though they contain factual errors (characterizing Jains as a simply following a sect of Hinduism), they are probably accurate portrayals of the general tenor of this thoughts on religions at the times quoted. ~ Kalki 02:56, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

All encyclopaediae and scholarly sources of his time held the same opinion about Jainism and Sikhism; so spare Bernard Shaw's intellect your judgement.--174.2.8.221 08:44, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
I certainly have no harsh disposition to the genius of Shaw for making a few incidental errors, as MOST people often do, and the most wise regularly forgive, but I have no intention of sparing the presumptuous from some declarations of my honest assessments and opinions, based on accurate quotations, even if some of the more asinine persist with ever greater force and vigor found in packs of like minded intellectual light-weights to seek to mandate agreements with their own shallow views and suppress those of others, or mock them with rather asinine and irrelevant comments on what some encyclopedias of the time would incorrectly have stated, as well as Shaw, AS IF my remarks were meant to insult him. I rarely make the error of even attempting to make "absolutist" judgments" of ANYONE or anything as if my intellect were capable of properly doing such, despite the common tendency of people with far lesser intellectual integrity to often do that — I often make honest observations in gentle ways with the properly gentle and harsh ways towards those I consider improperly harsh to those who disagree with them or improperly gentle towards those who do. I was just briefly stopping in here, as the levels of fascist presumptions evidently at work here have grown far too distasteful for me to regularly wish to attempt to stomach, when I saw this remark and felt impelled to make an appropriate response. ~ Kalki·· 12:12, 1 August 2012 (UTC) + tweaks, and a major revision, after reviewing the whole section and realizing my initial remarks were probably somewhat misdirected. I stuck around a bit more to work on the internet, because I was reading news articles, but reviewing this recent exchange I realize I might have misinterpreted the comments of the anon IP insulting my observations and have now amended my comments to be a more accurate rebuttal to some remarks. ~ Kalki·· 13:45, 1 August 2012 (UTC)

Semi protectedEdit

This page has been semi-protected for a month, after repeated deletion of the above quotes and their replacement with declarations of their falsehood, and some entirely false attributions and assertions. I have restored a portion of the above comments which had been deleted, and extended the citations about them, with another early source that is only fragmentally accessible online, adding:

A portion of the statement also appears quoted in The Islamic Review, Vol. 24 (1936) edited by Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din‎, p. 263

I had considered moving these two quotes to the disputed section, but have thus far refrained from that, because the versions quoted above do seem to be within the range of plausibility, while many variants on the internet derived from them are plainly divergent from these in ways that are not. ~ Kalki 12:48, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

The book "The Genuine Islam" does not exist except in Islam apologetic websites. There is no such book to be found in any library anywhere in the world. It seems highly unlikely an atheist like him would ever endorse Islam. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 173.212.112.237 (talkcontribs) 03:34, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
I have restored these quotes into the disputed section, as there is limited sourcing available, which can be further traced and potentially confirmed, refuted or further evidenced or repudiated. ~ Kalki·· 04:55, 15 May 2013 (UTC)

The correct reference is: George Bernard Shaw, 'A Shavian Meets a Theologian' Interview by M A A Siddiqui in 'Genuine Islam', Organ of the Al-Malaya Missionary Society Vol 1, No 1, January, 1936 B Lib catalogue.

“I have always held the religion of Muhammad in high estimation because of its wonderful vitality. It is the only religion which appears to me to possess that assimilating capability to the changing phase of existence which can make itself appeal to every age. The world must doubtless attach high value to the predictions of great men like me. I have prophesied about the faith of Muhammad that it would be acceptable to the Europe of to-morrow as it is beginning to be acceptable to the Europe of to-day. The medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance or bigotry, painted Muhammadanism in the darkest colours. They were in fact trained both to hate the man Muhammad and his religion. To them Muhammad was Anti-Christ. I have studied him — the wonderful man, and in my opinion far from being an Anti-Christ he must be called the Saviour of Humanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world he would succeed in solving its problems in a way that would bring it the much-needed peace and happiness. But to proceed, it was in the 19th century that honest thinkers like Carlyle, Goethe and Gibbon perceived intrinsic worth in the religion of Muhammad, and thus there was some change for the better in the European attitude towards Islam. But the Europe of the present century is far advanced. It is beginning to be enamoured of the creed of Muhammad.”

He also continued in the same interview to say that: “I also very much admire the forcible and striking diction of the Quoran. What elegant grace and beauty characterises that passage which depicts the dreadful scene of the doomsday field, …” His interviewer confirmed that Shaw had previously expressed the sentiment that: “The future religion of the educated cultured, and enlightened people will be Islam” and continued, “I would like to speak to you about the profound philosophy and psychological truths that the Quoran expounds, so that a gifted and erudite savant of your parts and genius, perfectly familiar with the tastes and mental tendencies of the civilised world can present them to it in an effective and desirable manner.”

Please note that this item exists in the British Library Humanities 1 Reading Room. I have held it in my hand. Jaffer Clarke

german wikiquoteEdit

I look for the original text of a quote that is attributed to G.B. Shaw in German wikiquote

my translation would be:

It is much darker when a star sets/collapses than it would be, if it never shone. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 84.149.232.198 (talkcontribs) 11:22, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

How to split the pages to avoid warningEdit

Due to a lot of contribution this pages shows a warning (more than 32 kB may have trouble for some browsers). In Firefox, it does not display below "Maxim of Revolucionist". Should we split it in Sourced and Unsourced? - User:Caracho 2008-05-25 16:00 UTC

I moved some of the quotes (from Man and Superman) to their own page, so this should lighten the load. I also think there was a bad ref link in there that was causing the page to not fully display in Firefox. Things should be better now. ~ UDScott 16:45, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

References problemEdit

Seems like the one reference in this article doesnt exist. All the way it's referred to an unexisting reference :) --EivindJ 13:01, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

I removed the offending ref links. ~ UDScott 14:32, 5 February 2009 (UTC)
Fixed (I hope so) the references. Reboot81 15:06, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

Unreasonable manEdit

The "All progress depends on the unreasonable man" quote is present as a caption to one of the pictures, but is not present in the actual text of the page itself. Where did Bernard Shaw say it? shreevatsa 01:24, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

It's from the "Maxims for Revolutionists" section of Man and Superman, which has its own separate page. - InvisibleSun 01:35, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Thanks! shreevatsa 13:05, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

Reasonable ManEdit

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."

This quote is included in the article as a caption to a picture but there's no source given. I've seen it quoted elsewhere and attributed to Shaw. Does anyone know what it's from?--Beetfarm Louie 22:33, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The answer is in the post directly above this one. - InvisibleSun 23:12, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

UnsourcedEdit

  • America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between
    • Also attributed to Oscar Wilde and Georges Clemenceau. Earliest citation to Clemenceau by Hans Bendix, "Merry Christmas, America!" The Saturday Review of Literature, 1945-12-01, p. 9. Mentioned in Frank Lloyd Wright: An Autobiography (1943):
      • A witty Frenchman has said of us: “The United States of America is the only nation to plunge from barbarism to degeneracy with no culture in between.
  • Animals are my friends ... and I don't eat my friends.
  • Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The optimist invents the airplane, the pessimist invents the parachute.
  • To correct anyone's pronunciation is to imply that he is not quite a gentleman.
  • Youth is such a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children.
    • Attributed, 10,000 Jokes, Toasts & Stories (1939) by Lewis & Faye Copeland
  • [Dancing is] a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
    • Attributed, New Statesman (23 March 1962)
  • Democracy is a system ensuring that the people are governed no better than they deserve.
  • If all the economists in the world were laid end to end, they still wouldn't reach a conclusion.
  • I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
  • I can forgive Alfred Nobel for inventing dynamite, but only a fiend in human form could have invented the Nobel Prize.
  • I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig, you get dirty; and besides, the pig likes it.
  • I often quote myself. I find it adds spice to the conversation.
  • If you have an apple and I have an apple, and we exchange apples, we both still only have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea, and we exchange ideas, we each now have two ideas.

See discussion above.

  • In my view, Anglo-Irish history is for Englishman to remember, for Irishman to forget.
  • What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.
  • Islam is the best religion, with the worst followers.
  • Medieval ecclesiastics, either through ignorance of bigotry, painted Mohammadanism in the darkest colors. They were in fact; trained to hate both the man Muhammad and his to them was anti-Christ.
    • A collection of writings of some of the Eminent Scholars' p.77, by the Working Muslim Mission, 1993 edition.
  • Europe is beginning to be enamored of the creed of Muhammad. In the next century I may go still further in recognizing the utility of that creed in solving its problems, and it is in this sense that you must understand my prediction.
    • A collection of writings of some of the Eminent Scholars' p.77, by the Working Muslim Mission, 1993 edition.
  • Life isn't about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.
  • Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.
  • The average age (life expectancy) of a meat eater is 63. I am on the verge of 85 and still work as hard as ever. I have lived quite long enough and I am trying to die; but I simply cannot do it. A single beefsteak would finish me; but I cannot bring myself to swallow it. I am oppressed with a dread of living forever. That is the only disadvantage of vegetarianism.
  • The Indian way of life provides the vision of the natural, real way of life. We veil ourselves with unnatural masks. On the face of India are the tender expressions which carry the mark of the Creator's hand.
  • The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.
  • The main difference between the opposition of Islam to Hinduism and the opposition between Protestant and Catholic is that the Catholic persecutes as fiercely as the Protestant when he has the power; but Hinduism cannot persecute, because all the Gods - and what goes deeper, the no Gods - are to be found in its Temples.
  • The material of a dramatist is always some conflict of human feeling with circumstances.
  • The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school.
  • The ordinary Britisher imagines that God is an Englishman
  • War does not decide who is right but who is left.
  • A variant of this, "War does not determine who is right—only who is left," is more often attributed to Bertrand Russell. ~ Ningauble 12:54, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
  • We have established what you are, madam. We are now merely haggling over the price.
  • Shaw: Am reserving two seats for my show. Come bring a friend - if you have one.
    Winston Churchill: Impossible to be present for the first one. Will attend the second — if there is one.
  • Lack of money is the root of all evil.
    • Also attributed to Mark Twain in More Maxims of Mark (1927), edited by Merle Johnson.
  • The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school.

He who can, does; he who cannot, teachesEdit

According to various other sources (mostly web-based), this aphorism appears in "Maxims for revolutionaries" (1903) which is in "man and superman". I'm puzzled why this very popular quote is not included here, but is listed in Man and Superman. Jfdwolff 11:06, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

"Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life."Edit

I can't find a source for this famous quote attributed to Shaw. Can anyone else? --184.153.189.142 22:08, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Nor can I, I've searched Google books- a separate Wikipedia with a list of teetotallers lists him, so it may be fair to assume this came from one of his plays

  • There is this: Liquor therefore is for Shaw "the chloroform which enables the poor man to endure the painful operation of living"* [2] (The Shaw Review, Volumes 10-12, 1967, p. 92) The snippet view won't let me find whether the asterisk points to a better citation. --Kgf0 (talk) 23:40, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
Last modified on 23 January 2014, at 23:40