The Time To Be Happy Is Now; The Place To Be Happy Is Here

Creator: Robert G. Ingersoll, prominent orator and exponent of agnosticism

Context: In 1899 Ingersoll was asked to record his thoughts using an early phonograph device. According to a newspaper account his remarks included the following combination of hedonism and altruism. Emphasis added to excerpts: 1

I, too, have my religion. It is this: Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now; the place to be happy is here; and the way to be happy is to make others happy. This is the religion of usefulness; this is the religion of reason.

Ingersoll had delivered a similar message in the past. For example, during a speech in 1872 he said: 2

Reason, Observation and Experience — the Holy Trinity of Science — have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us.


  1. 1899 February 3, The Junction City Republican, His Idea of Immortality: Col. Ingersoll Leaves His Impressions In a Phonograph, Quote Page 4, Column 5, Junction City, Kansas. (Ingersoll stated that the recording was made January 22, 1899) (Newspapers_com)
  2. 1873, An Oration on the Gods, by Robert G. Ingersoll (Robert Green Ingersoll), Delivered at Fairbury, Illinois on the Evening of January 29, 1872, Quote Page 48, Daily Bulletin Steam Book and Job Print, Cairo, Illinois. (“Experience” is misspelled as “Exprience” in the original text) (Google Books Full View) link