"What can we know? What are we all? Poor silly half-brained things peering out at the infinite, with the aspirations of angels and the instincts of beasts."
"The highest morality may prove also to be the highest wisdom when the half-told story comes to be finished."
"I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one's weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can't all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something."
"When you look closely it is a question whether that which is a wrong to the present community may not prove to have been a right to the interests of posterity. That sounds a little foggy; but I will make my meaning more clear when I say that I think right and wrong are both tools which are being wielded by those great hands which are shaping the destinies of the universe, that both are making for improvement; but that the action of the one is immediate, and that of the other more slow, but none the less certain. Our own distinction of right and wrong is founded too much upon the immediate convenience of the community, and does not inquire sufficiently deeply into the ultimate effect."
"The more we progress the more we tend to progress. We advance not in arithmetical but in geometrical progression. We draw compound interest on the whole capital of knowledge and virtue which has been accumulated since the dawning of time. Some eighty thousand years are supposed to have existed between paleolithic and neolithic man. Yet in all that time he only learned to grind his flint stones instead of chipping them. But within our father's lives what changes have there not been? The railway and the telegraph, chloroform and applied electricity. Ten years now go further than a thousand then, not so much on account of our finer intellects as because the light we have shows us the way to more. Primeval man stumbled along with peering eyes, and slow, uncertain footsteps. Now we walk briskly towards our unknown goal."
“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”
“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.”
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
“There are always some lunatics about. It would be a dull world without them.”
“There is no scent so pleasant to my nostrils as that faint, subtle reek which comes from an ancient book.”
“Education never ends, Watson. It is a series of lessons, with the greatest for the last.”
“There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.”