"Are you willing to forget what you have done for other people, and to remember what other people have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you, and to think what you owe the world; to put your rights in the background, and your duties in the middle distance, and your chances to do a little more than your duty in the foreground; to see that men and women are just as real as you are, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts, hungry for joy; to own up to the fact that probably the only good reason for your existence is not what you are going to get out of life, but what you are going to give to life; to close your book of complaints against the management of the universe, and look around you for a place where you can sow a few seeds of happiness. Are you willing to do these things even for a day?"
- Henry van Dyke
Six Days of the Week
"What stops me from taking myself seriously, even though I am essentially a serious person, is that I find myself extremely ridiculous, not in the sense of the small-scale ridiculousness of slap-stick comedy, but rather in the sense of ridiculousness that seems intrinsic to human life and that manifests itself in the simplest actions and the most extraordinary gestures."
- Gustave Flaubert
"In certain ways I am deeply stupid. I don't say this out of modesty. I believe that I'm more intelligent than the average human being, though perhaps intelligence should not be looked at as a single gauge, like a speedometer, but as a full array of tachometers, odometers, altimeters, and the rest."
- David Benioff
"It seems to me that we are a porous material: there is a double trajectory of the world to us and from us to the world, because ultimately we are part of each other. But this belonging comes in ways that make us feel both autonomous and linked. At privileged moments, all this happens clearly. We feel that the fog needs us, and that it anticipates us, and I will go as far as to say that it can even need us in order to be. These are evidences, perceptions, perceptions of thoughts and feelings - experiences even. And of course, it's needless to say, we need the world to be, in every possible way."
- Etel Adnan
"That person who you don't like running into, that strained relationship in any unwanted moment, is not outside of you. The reason that you can't get along with other people has nothing to do with the other people. Sure, they're rude. Sure, they're cruel, spiritually asleep, aggressive, all those things, but so are you. Your feelings about the world you see, with all of its confusing colors and schemes, are all reflections of your own internal life. You meet and see only yourself wherever you go."
- Guy Finley
"Of this, I am actually certain. After collecting thousands of stories, I'm willing to call this a fact: A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all women, men, and children. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don't function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We're numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick."
- Brené Brown
"To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do."
- Hermann Hesse
das ding an sich
"Let people realize clearly that every time they threaten someone or humiliate or unnecessarily hurt or dominate or reject another human being, they become forces for the creation of psychopathology, even if these be small forces. Let them recognize that every person who is kind, helpful, decent, psychologically democratic, affectionate, and warm, is a psychotheraputic force."
- Abraham Maslow
"Demographers estimate that at least half of all the human beings ever born are alive now, in this century. What a moment for the human soul! Characteristics drawn from the genetic pool have, in statistical probability, reconstituted all the best and all the worst of human life. It's all around us. Buddha and Lao-tse must be walking the earth somewhere. And Tiberius and Nero. Everything horrible, everything sublime, and things not imagined yet."
- Saul Bellow
There is no life after death. Why
should there be. What on
earth would have us believe this.
Heaven is not the American
highway, blackened chicken alfredo
from Applebee's nor the
clown sundae from Friendly's. Our
life, this is the afterdeath,
when we blink open, peeled and
ready to ache. Years ago
my aunt banged on the steering, she
insisted there had to be a
God, a heaven. We were on our
way to a wedding. I would
have to sit at the same table as the
man who saw no heaven
in me. Today I am thinking about
Mozart, of all people, who
died at 35 mysteriously, perhaps of
strep. What a strange cloth
it is to live. But that we came from
death and return to it, made
different by form, shaped again back
into anti-, anti-. On my run,
I think of Jack Gilbert, who said we
must insist while there is still
time, but insist toward what. Why we
must fill the void with light -
isn't that our human insistence? But
we drift into a distance of
distance until proximity fails, our
name lifts away with any
future concerns, the past a flattened
coin that cannot spin. I am
matter spun from death's wool - and
I bewilder the itch, I who am
I am just so happy to go.
- Natalie Eilbert