Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quotes: Life.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Even in their darkest moments, they never lose their taste for life.
Life 18 Never, not in their darkest moments, do they lose their taste for life. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

Life is food, music, clothes, baths, love and sleep.
Life 19 ‘Dear to us ever,’ says Homer, ‘is the banquet and the harp and the dance and changes of raiment and the warm bath and love and sleep.’ E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

Life is as full as it is hazardous.
Life 221 The fullness in life is in the hazards of life. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

I was not born to vegetate and die as calm and tranquil as a puddle of water.
Life 26 “I was not born to vegetate forever in one place, and to live and die as calm and tranquil as -- a puddle of water.” Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

As I look at life, I see the protagonist as that which creates the riddle of the world, which distributes good and evil to both the innocent and guilty.
Life 286 As they looked at human life, the protagonist was not human; the chief role was played by that which underlies the riddle of the world, that Necessity which brings us here and takes us hence, which gives good to one and evil to another, which visits the sins of the father upon the children and sweeps away innocent and guilty in fire and pestilence and earthquake shock. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

Life is as regular as a kitchen clock.
Life 287 “My life goes on as regularly as our kitchen clock.” Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

Greek works of art are alive and give life to us.
Life xvi Their [Greek works of art] incarnate power is such that they are not only alive themselves but give life to us. C. M. Bowra in E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

What does it mean to “skim the surface of life”?
Life 488 Merely skimming the surface of life…. Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches

Without organization, life does not persist.
Life 18 For that without organization life does not persist is obvious. Eiseley, The Immense Journey

The elements of life can be had from any drug store shelf.
Life 32 The ingredients [of life] are known; they are to be had on any drug store shelf. Eiseley, The Immense Journey

The greatest gift of life is to extend ourselves into the lives of others.
Life 33 finally comes to me that this is the most enormous extension of vision of which life is capable: the projection of itself into other lives...the lonely, magnificent power of humanity...the supreme epitome of the reaching out. Eiseley, The Immense Journey

Life never exists as it is, unchanged, for eternity.
Life 35 Never make the mistake of thinking life is now adjusted for eternity. Eiseley, The Immense Journey

The world is an interesting place but we have grown so used to it that we do not see what is interesting.
Life 118 The world, I have come to believe, is a very queer place, but we have been part of this queerness for so long that we tend to take it for granted. Eiseley, The Immense Journey

We are always in process, never fixed.
Life 175 We are process, not reality…. Eiseley, The Star Thrower

We’re never certain of anything, even of our next breath.
Life 104 Who the hell is ever certain about anything...including his own next breath? Jack Finney, From Time to Time.

I can accept most adversity, but not when death is caused by a stupid decision.
Life 225 “I believe I am broad-minded enough to accept in good grace most of the adverse things that happen to us in life…but the loss of Jack [Regan] I can never accept, because in my opinion it was caused by the stupidity of some one individual or group of individuals in charge of this particular mission.” Childers, Wings of Morning

JFK had an urgent intuition that he had no time to waste.
Life 95 Of JFK: ...urgent sense that there was no time to waste. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

The rhythm of all life flows and ebbs.
Life 892 JFK: “There is a rhythm to personal and national and international life…and it flows and ebbs.” Schlesinger, A Thousand Days

I’m restless and worry about getting fat, falling in love and becoming sedate.
Life 152 I’m restless as the devil and have a horror of getting fat or falling in love and growing domestic. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

Life has its bursts of radiance.
Life 241 Life opened up in one of its amazing bursts of radiance. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

Not much matters and nothing matters very much.
Life 241 Very few things matter and nothing matters very much. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

We begin to understand as we near the end of our lives.
Life 277 We get a lot of understanding at the end of life. Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.

We live for our neighbors to have fun at our expense and to make fun of them in return.
Life 364 For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn? Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice.

Those who love life must be prepared to lose it on behalf of the values which make life worth living.
Life xxv Those who love life must be prepared to risk life in behalf of the values which make life worth living and worth loving. Sidney Hook. Hoffer, The True Believer

JFK was not intimidated by the risks of life, but saw its opportunities and obligations.
Life 843 Life for him had always been dangerous and uncertain, but he was too interested in its opportunities and obligations to be intimidated by its risks. Sorenson, Kennedy

Average men once started out in their youth to change the world; the story of how they became like most other men is not often told, not even by them in their consciousness.
Life 325 George Eliot: For in the multitude of middle-aged men who go about their vocations in a daily course determined for them much in the same way as the tie of their cravats, there is always a good number who once meant to shape their own deeds and alter the world a little; the story of their coming to be shapen after the average and fit to be picked by the gross, is hardly ever told even in their consciousness. Bloom, Western Canon.

They have run their brief race; they have laughed and sung, have borne sorrow and weariness, and now they rest.
Life 338 …and they that bore them have run their brief race, have laughed and sung, have borne the sorrows and the weariness that were allotted them, and are at rest.… Twain, Innocents Abroad.

Chaucer loved the comedy of creation.
Life 112 ...Chaucer seems to have entertained a wary love for the entire comedy of creation. Bloom, Western Canon.

Our duty is to compose our character, to win order and tranquility in our conduct.
Life 156 To compose our character is our duty, not to compose books, and to win, not battles and provinces, but order and tranquility in our conduct. Montaigne. Bloom, Western Canon.

Montaigne teaches controlling the will, leading to self-possession; Moliere shows the results of indulging the will, destruction.
Life 167 Montaigne teaches a husbanding of the will, leading to self-possession; Moliere shows the dark comedy of indulging the will, leading to self-abdication and destructive passion. Bloom, Western Canon.

Calamities are the methods of Providence to disengage us from the love of life.
Life 191 These are the calamities by which Providence gradually disengages us from the love of life. S. Johnson. Bloom, Western Canon.

Sam. Johnson had a passion for consciousness itself.
Life 191 There is a passion for consciousness itself in Johnson that nothing could assuage; he wanted more life, down to the end. Bloom, Western Canon.

The good die first; dry hearts live long lives.
Life 246 Wordsworth: Oh sir, the good die first/And they whose hearts are dry as summer dust/Burn to the socket. Bloom, Western Canon.

We remember only what is painful! [Amen!]
Life 252 In early old age, I find myself agreeing with Nietzsche, who tended to equate the memorable with the painful. Bloom, Western Canon.

Expectation of happiness is greater than reality; imagination makes evil more formidable than it is in reality.
Life 263 Dr. Johnson: It is generally allowed, that no man ever found the happiness of possession proportionate to that expectation which incited his desire, and invigorated his pursuit; nor has any man found the evils of life so formidable in reality, as they were described to him by his own imagination. Bloom, Western Canon.

Living as if it is perpetually morning.
Life 279 [Of Whitman]: Trying to live as though it is perpetually morning.... Bloom, Western Canon.

Every leaf is a miracle.
Life 290 With every leaf a miracle.... (Whitman) Bloom, Western Canon.

Man’s virtues help to create his errors.
Life 322 Martin Price: George Eliot attempted work of great subtlety, the study of how man’s virtues are implicated in and in some measure promote his errors. Bloom, Western Canon.

Our lives are good because of people who have lived hidden lives and rest in unvisited tombs.
Life 331 George Eliot: ...for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. Bloom, Western Canon.

Man must believe that there is something indestructible in himself.
Life 455 Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible in
himself.... Bloom, Western Canon.

We tell and act out the same story over and over again.
Life 499 Although Beckett’s protagonists manifest surprising variety, nearly all of them share one feature: repetition, being doomed to tell and act out a story over and over again. Bloom, Western Canon.

Breakfast renews our zest for life.
Life 703 After breakfast we felt better, and the zest of life soon came back. Twain, Roughing It

The average man is a machine.
Life 327 He has no time to be anything but a machine. Thoreau, Walden.

A man’s fate is that which he thinks of himself.
Life 329 What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines…his fate. Thoreau, Walden.

We have to have food, shelter, clothing and fuel before we can face the other problems of life with the hope of success.
Life 332 The necessaries of life for man in this climate may, accurately enough, be distributed under the several heads of food, shelter, clothing and fuel; for not till we have secured these are we prepared to entertain the true problems of life with freedom and a prospect of success. Thoreau, Walden.

The greatest of arts is to affect the quality of the day.
Life 394 To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Thoreau, Walden.

I did not want to die and discover that I had not lived.
Life 394 I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. Thoreau, Walden.

We lose our lives by our preoccupation with details.
Life 395 Our life is frittered away by detail. Thoreau, Walden.

If one confidently moves in the direction of his dreams he will meet with unexpected success.
Life 580 I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected…. Thoreau, Walden.

The world does not change; we change.
Life 583 Things do not change; we change. Thoreau, Walden.

We move against the current but are beaten back, into the past.
Life 182 So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.

We learn to ride the waves of the world, including war, adultery, compromise, futility, fear and hypocrisy.
Life 366 The slow discovery of the Seventh Sense, by which both men and women contrive to ride the waves of a world in which there is war, adultery, compromise, fear, stultification and hypocrisy…. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

The world is beautiful to a beautiful spirit; we must give without wanting to get.
Life 453 …the world was beautiful if you were beautiful, and…you couldn’t get unless you gave…you had to give without wanting to get. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

He that would save his life must lose it.
Life 625 God had said that it was only the men who could give up their jealous selves, their futile individualities of happiness and sorrow, who could die peacefully…he that would save his life must lose it. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

Individuals are drops in the ocean of life.
Life 631 The fate of this man or that man was less than a drop, although it was a sparkling one, in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea. T. H. White, The Once and Future King.

In London people die little noticed.
Life 215 It is strange with how little notice, good, bad, or indifferent, a man may live and die in London. Dickens, Sketches by Boz.

Life has meaning because we know it will not go on forever.
Life 613 That is why life has special flavor and meaning for us; we know it cannot go on forever. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Man must not only live, but have something to live for.
Life 230 For the secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Without a purpose for living, men would destroy themselves, even if wealthy.
Life 230 Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living and would rather destroy himself than remain on earth, though he had bread in abundance. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Seeds of corn must die in order to bear fruit.
Life 280 Gospel of St. John, Chap. 11, Verse 24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Love every detail of God’s creation.
Life 289 Love all God’s creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it…every leaf, every ray of God’s light. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

He taught that life was joy, not a vale of tears.
Life 301 Of Father Zossima: His teaching was false; he taught that life is a great joy and not a vale of tears. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Without joy, you do not live.
Life 326 There’s no living without joy…. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

I have a thirst for existence and consciousness.
Life 535 You wouldn’t believe, Alexey, how I want to live now, what a thirst for existence and consciousness has sprung up in me within these peeling walls…be able to say and to repeat to myself every moment, ‘I exist.’ Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

What seems to be unfortunate sometimes leads to unapparent benefits.
Life 584 ‘My son,’ said the priest evasively, ‘all things are accomplished in accordance with the inscrutable decrees of Providence, and what seems a misfortune sometimes leads to extraordinary, though unapparent, benefits. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

They spent their leisure over cards and never read a book.
Life 597 At most, they [the petty officials on the jury] had spent their leisure over cards and, of course, had never read a single book. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

He taught me that everything is lawful and nothing must be forbidden.
Life 631 At the preliminary inquiry, he [Smerdyakov] told me with hysterical tears how the young Ivan Karamazov had horrified him by his spiritual audacity: ‘Everything in the world is lawful according to him, and nothing must be forbidden…that is what he taught me’…I believe that idiot was driven out of his mind by this theory…. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

Don’t waste your time quarreling through life.
Life 686 Lincoln: A man has not time to spend half his life in quarrels. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

Some moments have eternity in themselves.
Life 895 Bishop Matthew Simpson: There are moments which involve in themselves eternities…instants which seem to contain germs which shall develop and bloom forever. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.

You can’t live without reverence and joy.
Life 221 It is as impossible to live without reverence as it is without joy. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

Life is not a spectacle on a stage, but a ritual.
Life 221 A human life, so often likened to a spectacle upon a stage, is more justly a ritual. Henry Beston, The Outermost House.

In 1100 there was an outpouring of energy, an intensification of existence.
Life 33 The year every branch of life--action, philosophy, organization, technology--there was an extraordinary outpouring of energy, an intensification of existence. Clark, Civilization.

In the Renaissance, the full use of human capabilities became more important than making money.
Life 94 [Of the Renaissance] full use of human faculties--became more important than making money. Clark, Civilization.

Life is a petty pace from day to day and our past days have crept the way to our death.
Life 165 Shakespeare—Macbeth: tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow/Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,/ To the last syllable of recorded time,/ And all our yesterdays have lighted fools/ The way to dusty death. Clark, Civilization.

Life is the brief light of a candle, shadows on a stage, strutting and fretting, full of sound and fury, signifies nothing and then disappears.
Life 165 Shakespeare—Macbeth: Out, out brief candle;/ Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more: it is a tale/ Told by an idiot; full of sound and fury,/ Signifying nothing. Clark, Civilization.

Nothing in the world is ugly.
Life 288 Constable: I never saw an ugly thing in my life. Clark, Civilization.

We strive to build something bigger than we are and lasting longer than we do.
Life 23 What is life worth if we don’t strive to build something that is bigger than we are and lasts longer than we do? Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Meeting people provides memorable moments.
Life 37 For over seventeen years, my most memorable moments have come from the people I have met. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Life is full of possibility.
Life 424 …life’s mystery full of excitement and possibility. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Without strife, there is decay.
Life 64 Heraclitus: Where there is no strife there is decay…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Aristotle.

The story of man is a dreary circle.
Life 66 The story of man runs in a dreary circle…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Aristotle.

The only hell is here on earth.
Life 99 Lucretius…never tires of telling his readers that there is no hell except here…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

He did not know whether he preferred the contemplative or active life.
Life 110 He [Francis Bacon] could not quite make up his mind whether he liked more the contemplative or the active life. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

In the theater of life, only gods and angels can be spectators.
Life 114 F. Bacon: “Men ought to know that in the theater of human life it is only for gods and angels to be spectators.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Francis Bacon.

Most of ordinary life is vain and futile; most of what I feared was neither good or bad, but affected my mind as good or bad.
Life 166 Spinoza: After experience had taught me that all things which frequently take place in ordinary life are vain and futile, and when I saw that all the things I feared, and which feared me, had nothing good or bad in them save in so far as the mind was affected by them…. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Spinoza.

Ideas become their opposite, and combine to produce a greater whole.
Life 295 Hegel: …every idea and every situation in the world…leads irresistibly to its opposite, and then unites with it to form a higher or more complex whole..."dialectical movement." Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel.

The function of mind is to find unity in diversity; ethics is to unify character and conduct; politics is to unify individuals into the state; religion, the absolute that unifies all opposites.
Life 296 Hegel: The function of the mind, and the task of philosophy, is to discover the unity that lies potential in diversity; the task of ethics is to unify character and conduct;…the task of politics is to unify individuals into a state…of religion is to reach and feel that Absolute in which all opposites are resolved into unity. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel.

The purpose of life is not happiness but achievement.
Life 297 Hegel: Life is not made for happiness, but for achievement. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel.

Change is the essential principle of life.
Life 297 The dialectical process makes change the cardinal principle of life. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Hegel.

Life struggles against sleep.
Life 315 Schopenhauer: Life is “a struggle against sleep.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

Life is pain and happiness is the cessation of pain.
Life 323 Schopenhauer : …life is evil because pain is its basic stimulus…and pleasure is merely a negative cessation of pain. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

Life is war.
Life 325 Schopenhauer : Life is evil because life is war. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

Just when experience becomes wisdom, we start to decay.
Life 328 Schopenhauer : Just as experience begins to coordinate itself into wisdom, brain and body begin to decay. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

The dynamic principle of reality is growth and decay.
Life 366 Spencer: What is the dynamic principle of reality…the formula of the growth and decay of all things…a formula of evolution and dissolution, for “an entire history of anything must include its appearance out of the imperceptible and its disappearance into the imperceptible.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

The coordination which is life passes into the disorder that is death.
Life 369 Spencer: …and in the individual, too, integration will give way to disruption; and that coordination which is life will pass into that diffuse disorder which is death. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

He was so obsessed with his career that he never noticed the pleasant details of existence.
Life 369 At the end of his [Spencer’s] triumphant career he expressed his feeling that life was not worth living…the philosopher’s disease of seeing so far ahead that all the little pleasant shapes and colors of existence passed….unseen. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

Life is a continuous adjustment of the internal to the external.
Life 370 Spencer: Life is the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Herbert Spencer.

If survival of the fittest is the rule of life, then strength is good and weakness is bad.
Life 401 If life is a struggle for existence in which the fittest survive, then strength is the ultimate virtue, and weakness the only fault; good is that which survives, which wins; bad is that which gives way and fails. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Nietzsche.

Nietzsche: What is needed in life is strength, pride, intelligence, and power; the goal of evolution is not democracy or equality, but the production of geniuses.
Life 402 Nietzsche: Men who could think clearly soon perceived what the profoundest minds of every age had known: that in this battle we call life, what we need is not goodness but strength, not humility but pride, not altruism but resolute intelligence; that equality and democracy are against the grain of selection and survival; that not masses but geniuses are the goal of evolution; that not “justice” but power is the arbiter of all differences and all destinies. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Nietzsche.

Life is the effort to expand the capabilities of life.
Life 460 Bergson: Life is that which makes efforts, which pushes upwards and outwards and on. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Bergson.

The free man must keep his courage even though he knows that all things must die.
Life 481 Russell: The free man cannot comfort himself with childish hopes and anthropomorphic gods; he has to keep his courage up even though he knows that in the end he too must die, that all things must die. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell.

Even though man cannot win because he must die, he can still enjoy the fight.
Life 481 Russell: Nevertheless [in spite of the certainty of death], he [man] will not surrender; if he cannot win, he can at least enjoy the fight; and by the knowledge that foresees his own defeat he stands superior to the blind forces that will destroy him. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell.

Nothing in life is irrevocable and everything you do matters.
Life 515 W. James: ...a world where nothing is irrevocably settled, and all action matters. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, William James.

Nothing in life is concluded.
Life 519 On his [W. James’s] desk when he died, there lay a paper on which he had written his last...sentences: “There is no conclusion[;] what has concluded that we might conclude in regard to it? fortunes to be told advice to be given. Farewell.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, William James.

Not perfection, but the process of perfecting is the aim of living.
Life 524 Dewey: Not perfection as a final goal, but the ever-enduring process of perfecting, maturing, refining is the aim in living.... Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, John Dewey.

I like variety, but some people always wash on Monday and iron on Tuesday, even if the circus has come to town.
Life 404 Mrs. Todd: I must say I like variety myself; some folks washes Monday an’ irons Tuesday the whole year round, even if the circus is goin’ by. Jewett, The country of the Pointed Firs.

What a waste of human talent; a set of circumstances had caged and confined a great character and held it captive.
Life 466 It was not the first time that I was full of wonder at the waste of human ability in the world, as a botanist wonders at the wastefulness of nature, the thousand seeds that die, the unused provision of every sort[;] more than one face among the Bowdens showed that only opportunity and stimulus were lacking,--a narrow set of circumstances had caged a fine able character and held it captive. Jewett, The country of the Pointed Firs.

Life is irritable.
Life 99 Life has been defined as irritability, which is to say, the capacity to suffer. Mencken, Minority Report.

I know a lot of people, but I live in isolation as do all other people; we live alone and die alone.
Life 228 I know a great many more people than most men, and in wider and more diverse circles, yet my life is essentially one of isolation, and so is that of every other man[:] we not only have to die alone, we also…have to live alone. Mencken, Minority Report.

Man is a free creative spirit, which produces both good and evil.
Life 55 Joyce Cary: For good and evil, man is a free creative spirit [which] produces the very queer world we live in, a world in continuous creation and therefore continuous change and insecurity. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

How important is any one’s saying, “I love” or “I suffer” when billions have lived, are living and will live?
Life 113 Thornton Wilder: ...the absurdity of any single person’s claim to the importance of his saying, “I love!” “I suffer!” when one thinks of the background of the billions who have lived and died, who are living and dying and...will live and die. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Our Town is about the difficulty of realizing life as we live it.
Life 113 Thornton Wilder: [Our Town] appears to be a meditation about the difficulty of as the play says, “realizing life while you live it.” Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Life shows no interest in whether it is good or evil.
Life 138 Life is not interested in good and evil. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

You could write a good book about people who live routine, circumscribed lives.
Life 245 N. Algren: …I mean, the most you can do is—well, if any writer can catch the routine lives of people just living in that kind of ring of fire to show how you can’t go out of a certain neighborhood…but that within the limitation you can succeed in making a life that is routine—with human values that seem to be a little more real, a little more intense, and human, than with people who are freer to come and go,--if somebody could write a book about the routine of these circumscribed people, just their everyday life, without any big scenes, without any violence, or cops breaking in...just day-to-day life...just an absolutely prosaic life without any particular drama to it in their eyes…but to have it just the way these thousands of people live, very quiet, commonplace routine…well, you’d have an awfully good book. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

People who succeed in my books live life immediately, without following a set of rules.
Life 264 Angus Wilson: The people in my books who come out well may be more foolish, but they have retained an immediacy toward life, not a set of rules applied to life in advance. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Life always involves a rhythmic routine of three characters.
Life 305 F. Sagan: Much of the time life is a sort of rhythmic progression of three characters. Cowley, ed., Writers at Work.

Life flowed in a steady, unchanging current.
Life 196 Until autumn of this year, life had seemed to flow in one steady, unchanging current. Jewett, A Country Doctor.

Living in the world without trying to make it better seems to me like stealing.
Life 261 “It seems to me like stealing, for men and women to live in the world and do nothing to make it better.” Jewett, A Country Doctor.

As she looked over her past life, she was surprised to see the connections and how small things seemed to be like seeds that flourished much later.
Life 368 Her early life was spreading itself out like a picture, and as she thought it over and looked back from year to year, she was more than ever before surprised to see the connection of one thing with another, and how some slight acts had been the planting of seeds which had grown and flourished long afterward. Jewett, A Country Doctor.

People shape events and events shape people.
Life 29 John Hersey: …sharing Tolstoy’s manifest desire to understand the shaping of events by people and of people by events. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

Trifles take up much our time, time that can never return.
Life 225 Johnson: Surely life, if it be not long, is tedious, since we are forced to call in the assistance of so many trifles to rid us of our time, of that time which can never return. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Life is stolen away by thousands of petty impediments.
Life 591 Johnson: …but human moments are stolen away by a thousand petty impediments which leave no trace behind them. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

People should make life happier for others or it was better they had never been born.
Life 1089 A man should make life and nature happier to us, or he had better never been born. Emerson, The Conduct of Life: Considerations by the Way.

Friend and foe are one; ploughman, plough and furrow are one.
Life 638 …friend and foe are of one stuff; the ploughman, the plough, and the furrow, are of one stuff; and the stuff is such…that the variations of form are unimportant. Emerson, Representative Men: Plato, or The Philosopher.

People go about living, but ask, “Why?” and “Whereto?”
Life 690 He builds his fortune, maintains the laws, cherishes his children; but he asks himself, why? And whereto? Emerson, Representative Men: Montaigne, or The Skeptic.

Everything in nature is governed by law.
Life 364 Let him learn that everything in nature, even motes and feathers, go by law and not by luck, and that what he sows he reaps. Emerson, Prudence.

We waste life by preparing to live.
Life 367 Life wastes itself while we are preparing to live. Emerson, Prudence.

Life 413 Life is a series of surprises. Emerson, Circles.

There are days when everything seems like perfection.
Life 541 There are days which occur in this climate, at almost any season of the year, wherein the world reaches its perfection…when everything that has life gives sign of satisfaction, and the cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great and tranquil thoughts. Emerson, Nature, Second Series.

His years from age 33 to 58, when most men achieve the most, were for Cervantes years of failure and loss of hope, but from those years he gained the experiences to write his spiritual autobiography, Don Quixote.
Life 23 The years from thirty-three to fifty-eight, which for most men are the years of their greatest achievements, brought nothing to Cervantes but dire failure and the blighting of all his hopes…yet from the experiences he gained in those years he was to create his own spiritual biography in Don Quixote. Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote of La Mancha. Introduction by Walter Starkie.

He tried to apply logic to this “Alice-in-Wonderland world.
Life 483 [About Maxwell Taylor]: It was always like that; Max was so organized, disciplined, trying to transfer that rationality and logic to this Alice-in-Wonderland world. Halberstam, The Best and the Brightest.

We spend most of our lives disappointed.
Life 62 We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time…. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

One has to be patient with the way of the world.
Life 614 “Ah, there’s enormous patience wanted with the way of the world.” George Eliot, Middlemarch.

Most people try to please the world in order to bring in money.
Life 729 I must do as other men do, and think what will please the world and bring in money…. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

People who live invisible lives make life better for the rest of us.
Life 795 The effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

Life 285 The world is but an eternal seesaw. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Our lives are part folly and wisdom.
Life 377 Our life consists partly in folly, partly in wisdom. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Living is fighting.
Life 578 Seneca: To live…is to fight. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

People pass time by overlooking the present and become slaves of hope.
Life 598 These are the people who really “pass their time”; they pass over the present and what they possess to be the slaves of hope. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Only people who can understand the darker side of human existence can cope with the danger in the world.
Life vii Only men who have a sense of the darker side of human existence, who know in their bones how slight is the grasp of rationality on the instinctive forces that drive us and have intimations of the sterile fatuity that would ensue from being overwhelmed by them—only such men can truly cope with the danger that faces the intellectual world. Foreword: Cooper. A Random Walk in Science.

Human life is the intertwining of light and shadow.
Life 890 ...the intertwining light and shadow of human life.... Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

Life is a daydream.
Life 910 ...the daydream that they call life. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

Is the past so indestructible and the future so inevitable?
Life 920 Is the past so indestructible? The future so immitigable? Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

The stability of the Roman pillar makes us appreciate how so much human trouble is but a momentary annoyance.
Life 977 Miriam: “There is comfort to be found in the [Roman] pillar…hard and heavy as it is…makes all human trouble appear but a momentary annoyance.” Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

The world is more coarse than unkind.
Life 1128 It is more a coarse world than an unkind one. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

Many of our experiences are never explained.
Life 1232 The actual experience of even the most ordinary life is full of events that never explain themselves, either as regards their origin or their tendency. Hawthorne, The Marble Faun.

The established system is a weary tread mill.
Life 648 We had left…the weary tread-mill of the established system. Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance.

Life 386 Life is made up of marble and mud. Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables.

That old chair had seen much living.
Life 557 Many a former Pyncheon had found repose in its [the great ancestral chair in the parlor] capacious arms;--rosy children, after their sports, young men, dreamy with love, grown men, weary with cares, old men, burthened with winters;--they had mused, and slumbered, and departed to a yet profounder sleep. Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables.

In this life, no one can expect any reward.
Life 85 ‘I shall live to learn that in this world one can expect no reward.’ Tolstoi, War and Peace.

It’s not my fault that I am alive, so I should make the best of it and interfere with no one until I am taken away by death.
Life 451 I’m alive, and it’s not my fault that I am, and so it behooves me to make the best of it, not interfering with anybody else until death carries me off. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

The older generation is angry and irritable, the uninitiated inquisitive, the initiated reserved and every one is in a hurry and preoccupied with themselves.
Life 501 …the angry irritability of the older generation, the inquisitiveness of the uninitiated, the reserve of the initiated, the hurry and preoccupation of everyone. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

Every person lives for himself and feels confident that he can or cannot perform an action.
Life 717 Every man lives for himself, using his freedom to attain his personal aims, and feels with his whole being that he can at any moment perform or not perform this or that action…. Tolstoi, War and Peace.

The basic concept of ethics is reverence for life.
Life 40 Albert Schweitzer: I have ventured to express the thought that the basic concept on which goodness rests is reverence for all life--the great mystery in which we find ourselves together with all living things. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

Everything that lives has value because it lives.
Life 42 Albert Schweitzer: Everything that lives has value simply as a living thing, as one manifestation of the mystery that is life. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

All living things are related.
Life 161 Albert Schweitzer: ...everything that lives is related to us. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

People have created many things, but they have not created life.
Life 161 Albert Schweitzer: We people have invented many things, but we have not mastered the creation of life. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

Can anyone create a fly?
Life 161 Albert Schweitzer: We cannot even create an insect. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

Men fade and perish, gone in a day, living a dream full of sorrow and sighing.
Life 5 Ye men…who perish and fade as the leaf…frail castings in clay, who are gone in a day, like a dream full of sorrow and sighing…. Aristophanes, Birds. Adler and VanDoren, eds. Great Treasury of Western Thought.

Every occurrence in our lives has echoes and reminiscences of what has happened before.
Life 21 …Man lives in a world where each occurrence is charged with echoes and reminiscences of what has gone before. Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy. Adler and VanDoren, eds. Great Treasury of Western Thought.

We suffer as much from trifles as from real evils.
Life 24 As if the natural calamities of life were not sufficient…we turn the most indifferent circumstances into misfortunes, and suffer as much from trifling accidents, as from real evils. Addison, 3/8/1711 The Spectator.

Don’t anticipate happiness or misery before it actually happens.
Life 25 I would not anticipate the relish of any happiness, nor feel the weight of any misery, before it actually arrives. Addison, 3/8/1711. The Spectator.

Preserving life is secondary; purpose is our principal aim in life.
Life 77 In short, the preservation of life should be only a secondary concern, and the direction of it our principal. Addison, 3/29/1711. The Spectator.

We are what we are no matter where we are or the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Life 82 It is therefore a fantastical way of thinking, when we promise ourselves an alteration in our conduct from change of place, and difference of circumstances: the same passions will attend us wherever we are, ‘till they are conquered; and we can never live to our satisfaction in the deepest retirement, unless we are capable of living so in some measure amidst the noise and business of the world. Steele, 3/31/1711. The Spectator.

Human life is the same in all ages.
Life 261 …human life turns upon the same principles and passions in all ages. Steele, 6/6/1711. The Spectator.

While we bemoan that life is so short, we also wish each period of it to end.
Life 288 Though we seem grieved at the shortness of life in general, we are wishing every period of it at an end. Addison, 6/16/1711. The Spectator.

Everything in the world is interdependent.
Life 7 Every creature is, in some sense, connected to and dependent on the rest. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Having wealth does not compare to being alive.
Life 142 Achilles: riches can compare with being alive. Homer, Iliad.

Nancy Hanks Lincoln represented the lives of all pioneer women.
Life 34 So Nancy Hanks Lincoln died, 34 years old, a pioneer sacrifice, with memories of monotonous, endless everyday chores, of mystic Bible verses read over and over for their promises, of blue wistful hills and a summer when the crab-apple blossoms flamed white.... Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

Her faith in God showed in her works; despite hardship, she was grateful to be alive.
Life 41 Lincoln’s stepmother: Her faith in God shone in works more than words, and hard as life was, she was thankful to be alive. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years

We play leap-frog with our troubles.
Life 209 Sam Weller: ‘When I wos first pitched neck and crop into the world, to play at leap-frog with its troubles....’ Dickens, Pickwick.

A human being consists of cares, anxieties, affections, hopes and griefs.
Life 643 The body!…the lawyer’s term for the restless whirling mass of cares and anxieties, affections, hopes and griefs, that make up the living man. Dickens, Pickwick.

Resolving to face death gives the courage to face life.
Life and death 121 Sometimes the resolution to face death gives the courage to face life. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Every grave stone represents the passionate life that lies below.
Life and death 209 Precious are the dead that lie there, every stone over them speaks of such burning life in the past, of such passionate faith in their work, their truth, their struggle and their science…. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

How a man dies does not matter; it’s how he lived.
Life and Death 378 Johnson: It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

Life and death are both sad.
Life and death 834 Silas Foster: Heigh-ho!--well-life and death together make sad work for us all. Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance.

If someone is alive in the heart of another, he continues to live.
Life and Death 64 Albert Schweitzer: But as long as someone is kept alive in the heart [of another], he is alive. Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

People should be allowed to die the way the autumn leaf floats to the ground.
Life and Death 64 As Schweitzer watched autumn leaves drift slowly to earth in Gunsbach, he mused: “People should be allowed to die that way--naturally, easily, without pain.” Anderson, The Schweitzer Album.

The fear of death causes people to do things to save themselves that inevitably destroy them.
Life and Death 77 The fear of death often proves mortal, and sets people on methods to save their lives, which infallibly destroy them. Addison, 3/29/1711. The Spectator.

In death we are all the same.
Life and Death 79 …how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and soldiers, monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one another, and blended together in the same common mass; how beauty, strength, and youth, with old age, weakness, and deformity, lay undistinguished in the same promiscuous heap of matter. Addison, 3/30/1711. The Spectator.

Looking on tombstones causes me to reflect on the vanity of the living, their little competitions, factions and debates.
Life and Death 80 When I look upon the tombs of the great, every emotion of envy dies in me; when I read the epitaphs of the beautiful, every inordinate desire goes out; when I meet with the grief of parents upon a tomb-stone, my heart melts with compassion; when I see the tomb of the parents themselves, I consider the vanity of grieving for those whom we must quickly follow: when I see kings lying by those who deposed them, when I consider rival wits placed side by side, or the holy men that divided the world with their contests and disputes, I reflect with sorrow and astonishment on the little competitions, factions, and debates of mankind. Addison, 3/30/1711. The Spectator.

Socrates: I go to die; you to live; which is better no man knows.
Life and death 441 Socrates: is time that I retire to death, and you to your affairs of life: which of us has the better is known to the gods, but to no mortal man. Steele, 8/17/1711. The Spectator.

Death is a part of nature and should not be feared.
Life and death 459 All that Nature has prescribed must be good, and as death is natural to us, it is absurdity to fear it. Steele, 8/24/1711. The Spectator.

Living becomes such a habit that we’re indisposed to die.
Life and death 47 “The long habit of living,” said Thomas Browne, “indisposeth us to dying.” L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

When something comes to life, something else dies.
Life and Death99 Everything that comes alive seems to be in trade for something that dies, cell for cell. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

The only goal in life is death.
Life death 243 Sophocles: What joy is there in day that follows day,/now swift, now slow, and death the only goal. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

Maybe death is life and life, death.
Life death 261 Euripides: For who knows if the thing that we call death/Is life, and our life dying--who can know? E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

Death delivers us from life, which is much more grief than joy.
Life grief joy 239 Sophocles: The long days store up many things nearer to grief than joy./ ...Death at the last, the deliverer. E. Hamilton. The Greek Way.

What counts in life is not experience, but deepening of experience.
Life literature 340 Like Hawthorne, Melville seemed to be approaching a sense of maturity, a conviction that it was not “experiences” which counted in life, but the deepening of experience…. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

Life is so systematic that stepping outside of the system can cause one to lose his place.
Life system 298 Amid the seeming confusion of our mysterious world, individuals are so nicely adjusted to a system, and systems to one another, and to a whole, that, by stepping aside for a moment, a man exposes himself to a fearful risk of losing his place forever. Hawthorne, Tales and Sketches.

Even when awake, we are partly asleep.
Life, consciousness 315 Schopenhauer : Even when we are awake it [sleep] possesses us partly. Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Schopenhauer.

Morning gave me a sense of freedom and gladness.
Life, Morning 561 Even at this day it thrills me through and through to think of the life, the gladness and the wild sense of freedom that used to make the blood dance in my veins on those fine overland mornings. Twain, Roughing It

Life’s paradox: to find life, one must lose life. [Or is it willing to lose life?]
Life, Paradox 104 The Gospel contains a fundamental paradox: To find life, one must lose life; to be born, one must die; to save oneself, one must take up the Cross. Pope John Paul II, Threshold

Life is from nature, but beautiful living comes from wisdom.
Life, wisdom 52 “Life,” says a fine Greek adage, “is the gift of nature; but beautiful living is the gift of wisdom.” Will Durant, The Story of Philosophy, Aristotle.

Drop marbles and some will find places that are impossible to reach.
Life: Never fails 383 There, again, she has upset a tumbler of marbles, all of which roll different ways, and each individual marble, devil-directed, into the most difficult obscurity that it can find.

Life for some is a fear of poverty and worship of success.
Life’s goal 255 …a new generation dedicated more than the last to the fear of poverty and the worship of success. Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise.

A quiet and peaceful life is a sheep’s life.
Lifestyle 493 Informer [on a quiet and peaceful life]: “That’s a sheep’s life, you’re describing. Aristophanes, Plutus.

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