Gregory House spent eight seasons gifting us all with gems of acerbic wisdom on topics that ranged from medicine to the abundant flaws of our species. He had a way of cutting through the bullsh*t of life and getting to the heart of a problem. And normally that problem involved an infectious, highly contagious, unheard of disease that threatened lives.
Thankfully, most of us don’t have to deal with that kind of pressure (or the pain that sharpened House’ wit), but most of us aren’t tormented geniuses with an arsenal of one-liners either. Still, that doesn’t mean House’s best quotes can’t be of use to us.
Maybe you want to indulge your more cynical self or practice your own barbed insults, and that’s okay. But rather than act like a know-it-all colleague who seemingly forgets how smart Greg House is despite his track record, why don’t you think about this collection of smart musings about existence the next time you need to make sense of the mystery we call life.
“It’s a basic truth of the human condition that everybody lies. The only variable is about what.”
One of the doctor’s favorite clapbacks was to remind his fellow white coats (and usually the patients he treated) that lying comes naturally to the human race. House was skeptical about anything that came out of anyone’s mouth. Though cynical and, frankly a bit depressing, the motto “Everybody lies” served him well throughout the eight seasons of the show and it’s probably a good model to follow when you’re dealing with any unknown. After all, people like to deceive but there’s no faking a case of brain measles.
“If you can fake sincerity, you can fake pretty much anything.”
People are the worst. Unfortunately, when you’re a doctor, your main job is to save their lives. House may not be the most charming M.D. but he knows the key to getting people to do what you want is to ply them with flattery. If that takes too much effort, do your best to pretend like their presence doesn’t completely disgust you.
“There’s nothing in this universe that can’t be explained. Eventually.”
The existence of God, what happens when we die, where socks go when they disappear in the wash; these are some of the greatest questions in life. As an atheist and a doctor, House knows the answer to at least two of them, but his reliance on science and his dogged efforts to solve any and every case, no matter how strange and undocumented, is a good lesson to all of us that no problem is without an answer. It just might take a few potentially fatal assumptions to get there.
“There are three choices in this life: be good, get good, or give up.”
Perhaps it was his abusive, militarized upbringing or the fact that the word “fail” just isn’t in his vocabulary, but Gregory House is nothing if not determined and persistent. Is life better when you’re a genius who can speak multiple languages, play a variety of instruments, and pop Vicodin while performing complex surgeries? Sure. But even if House wasn’t endowed with so many talents, he’d still be the best in his field because being the best is really the only thing worth living for. And sarcasm. Still, for the rest of us mortals, this is still decent advice. Working hard to excel will never go amiss, even if it isn’t the easiest path.
“There’s no ‘I’ in team. There’s a ‘me’ though, if you jumble it up.”
As with any high-functioning, drug dependent narcissist, House believes that the only opinion that truly matters is his own. His confidence in his own abilities is impressive, especially given the fact that he’s high most of the time and spends his days correcting misdiagnoses. What House taught us on the show is what society has been teaching us since the beginning of time: if you walk through the world with the confidence of a mediocre white man, anything is possible, but if you walk through the world with the confidence of a self-medicating white man with a lab coat and a prescription pad, you own the world.
“You wanna make things right? Too bad, nothing’s ever right.”
House often laments about the futility of life, but this motto is less depressing than his other diatribes, mainly because it affirms what we all know to be true: no matter what you do, it probably won’t be good enough. You can spend your time moaning about it or you can let that truth free you up to try new things and take risks. Not sticking a knife into an electrical socket to see what temporary death feels like, that’s a bit too risky. Safer risks. Funner risks.
“If you’re not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you.”
House believed in YOLO long before Drake made it popular. The doctor often entertained crazy theories and risked potentially fatal diagnoses in order to treat his patients. More often than not, his gambles paid off, so the next time you want to get a tattoo of your McDonald’s receipt or cuddle a baby kangaroo, go ahead. You do you.