The Devil's Dictionary was written by American Ambrose Bierce around a hundred years ago, and was first published as 'The Cynic's Word Book' in 1906. It was reissued as 'The Devil's Dictionary' in 1911, and continues to be published today. Its humour and irony still shine. In fact many of its observations perhaps resonate more strongly now than when Bierce first made them. Here are some choice examples of Bierce's wit, and interestingly for a writer considered to be such a 'cynic', these quotes are also examples of a touching sensitivity. These quotes still serve, as when they were created, to remind us that whether a thing is a force for good or bad is largely decided by the human factor. This is an encouraging thought, since the implication of this is that we have it in our power to change bad into good. I think Bierce would have agreed.
Corporation: An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. (If you work for one of these be assured that there are more ethical and caring employers out there who would be more deserving of your efforts and loyalty.)
Duty: That which sternly impels us in the direction of profit, along the line of desire.
Experience: The wisdom that enables us to recognize as an undesirable old acquaintance the folly that we have already embraced.
Famous: Conspicuously miserable.
Land: A part of the Earth's surface, considered as property.The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society...... Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living...... It follows that if the whole aea of terra firma (Earth) is owned by A, B and C, then there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist. (How true, and how applicable today.)
Lecturer: One with his hand in your pocket, his tongue in your ear, and his faith in your patience.
Marriage: The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.
Happiness: An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.
Pain: An uncomfortable frame of mind that may have a physical basis in something that is being done to the body, or may be purely mental, caused by the good fortune of another.
Peace: In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
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