"Life is the saddest thing there is, next to death."

Edith Wharton


"Life to the great majority is only a constant struggle for mere existence, with the certainty of losing it at last."

-Arthur Schopenhauer



"For life is a Tragedy, wherein we sit as Spectators awhile, and act out our own Part in it."

-Jonathan Swift



"Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



"Life is warfare."

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca (the Younger)


""If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I wouldn't pass it around. Wouldn't be doing anybody a favor. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don't say embrace trouble. That's as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say, meet it as a friend, for you'll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.


"Begin at once to live, and count each separate day as a separate life."

-Lucius Annaeus Seneca



"This life is a hospital in which every patient is possessed with a desire to change his bed."

-Charles Baudelaire



"I believe the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. That is clear.

"The Dalai Lama


"You're not going to find the meaning of Life hidden under  a rock written by someone else. You'll only find it by giving meaning to life from inside yourself."

-Dr. Robert Firestone


"My advice to you is not to inquire why or whither, but just enjoy your ice cream while it's on your plate."

-Thornton Wilder



"What life is there, what delight, without golden Aphrodite?"

Mimnermus    Greek Poet  (650-590 B.C.)




"Life as we find it is too hard for us; it entails too much pain, too many disappointments, impossible tasks. We cannot do without palliative remedies.....There are perhaps three of these means; powerful diversions of interest, which lead us to care little about our misery; substitute gratifications, which lessen it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it. Something of this kind is indispensable."

-Sigmund Freud




"Warrior, jailer, priest-the eternal trinity which symbolizes our fear of life."

-Henry Miller


"The meaning of life is invented, not discovered."

-Steven M. Cahn Fate, Logic and Time


"Life is a festival only to the wise."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson


"A successful life is one that has no need to ask the question."

-Cormac McCarthy


"There is nothing of which we are so fond, and withal so careless, as life."

-Jean De La Bruyere



"Live dangerously and you live right."

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe




"Most men eddy about

Here and there-eat and drink,

Chatter and love and hate,

Gather and squander, are raised

Aloft, are hurl'd in the dust,

Striving blindly, achieving

Nothing and then they die-"

-Matthew Arnold



"Well-well, the world must turn upon its axis,

And all mankind turn with it, heads or


And live and die, make love and pay our


And as the veering wind shifts, shift our


The King commands us, and the Doctor

   quacks us,

  The Priest instructs, and so our life


A little Breath, love, Wine, Ambition,


Fighting, Devotion, dust,-perhaps a Name."

-Lord Byron


"For me, the purpose of life is to live it as fully as possible and be grateful every day for the privilege of sharing it."

-Leonard Bernstein



   "Life is harsh, but it has always been harsh. The only sensible view of life is, and has always been, based on a clear-eyed recognition-not necessarily acceptance-of the elements of tragedy, irony and absurdity in life. It is based too on a recognition of one's own limitations and weaknesses, the inexorable facts of the life cycle and all the sorrows, irrationalities and indignities that afflict the flesh and the spirit. Anyone who does not recognize all of this is either very young or very foolish, possibly both. it is not easy to see why some intellectuals of the mid-twentieth century should agonize and attitudinize about circumstances that hundreds of generations have lived through without comparable self-pity."

-John W Gardner




"I have a hundred times wished that one could resign life as an officer resigns a commission...."

-Robert Burns


"It is always possible for an individual to invest his own life with meaning that he can find significant. He can so order his lfie that he may find as much beauty and wisdom in it as he can, and spread as much of that to others as possible."

-Isaac Asimov


"The important thing in life is to have a great aim and to possess the aptitude and the perseverance to attain it."

-Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

-George Bernard Shaw



"Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises."

-Samuel Butler



"Life is no brief candle to me. it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

-George Bernard Shaw


"If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."

-Albert Camus


"Most human beings today waste some twenty-five to thirty years of their lives before they break through the actual and conventional lies which surround them."

-Isadora Duncan


"The question, "What is the purpose of human life?" has been asked times without number; it has never received a satisfactory answer; perhaps it does not admit of such an answer.

   So again, only religion is able to answer the question of the purpose of life. One can hardly go wrong in concluding the the idea of a purpose in life stands and falls with the religious system."

-Sigmund Freud


"The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence; by asking this question one is merely admitting to a store of unsatisfied libido to which something else must have happened, a kind of fermentation; leading to sadness and depression."

-Sigmund Freud  letter to Marie Bonaparte, April 27, 1926




in youth our ignorance gives us courage

with age our courage gives us hope

with hope we learn that man is more

than the sum of what he does

we also are what we wish we did

and age teaches us

that even that doesn't matter."

-Nikki Giovanni


"All real living is meeting. meeting is not in time and space, but space and time in meeting."



"I , who boast of embracing the pleasures of life so assiduously and so particularly, find in them, when I look at them minutely, virtually nothing but wind. But what of it? We are all wind. and even the wind, more wisely that we, loves to make a noise and move about, and is content with its own functions, without wishing for stability and solidity, qualities that do not belong to it."




"For me, nothing is so exciting as to imagine that life is my lover- and is always courting me. To relate to life in that way is a challenge and a surrender that invites me deeper into being alive in every moment that I can manage it."

-Julie Henderson  the Lover Within


"The things that happen to me day after day, the things that claim me day after day-these contain my essential task."

-Martin Buber


"What if,....what if Life's meant to be our sweetheart?"

-Willa Cather


"At every occasion in your life, do not forget to commune with yourself and to ask of yourself how you can profit by it."



"One of the principal causes of internal stress is the thought wasted worrying for other people; trying to live their lives and save others from their just deserts."

-Manly P. Hall


La vie pour trouver la Victoire  = Love Life to find Victory

-Guillaume Appolinare


"To be a human being ought not to require any special considerations, special training, preparation, plans, study, effort. It should be natural, unlabored, , without thought or consideration, spontaneous. If your activity does require any self-conscious effort, then you are not truly honestly, a human being. You are only trying that direction."

-Jae Jah Noh, Do You See What I See?



"Ivan Ilych's life had been most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible."

-Leo Tolstoy,  The Death of Ivan Ilych


"Life is a God-damned, stinking, treacherous game, and nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of every thousand are bastards."

-Theodore Dreiser, quoting an unidentified newspaper editor, in A Book About Myself, 1922


"Consider for a moment the habits of life into which we are born. There are certain social conventions or customs....a theological bias, a general view of the world (universe). There are (rigid) ideas in regard to our early training, our education, marriage, and occupation in life. Following close upon this, there is a long series of anticipations, namely that we shall suffer certain children's diseases, diseases of middle life, and of old age; the thought that we shall grow old, and lose our faculties. Crowning all this is the fear of death. Then there is a long line of particular fears and trouble-bearing expectancies.....ideas about certain kinds of foods, the dread of the east wind, the terrors of hot weather, the ache and pains associated with cold weather, the fear of catching cold if one sits in a draft, the coming of hayfever season, and so on through a long list of fears, dreads, worriments, anxieties, anticipations, expectations, pessimisms, morbidities, and the whole ghostly train of fateful shapes which our fellow men especially physicians are ready to help us conjure up. yet,  this is not all. This vast array is swelled by innumerable volunteers from daily life: fear of accident, the possibility of calamity, the loss of property, the chance of robbery, of fire, or the outbreak of war."

H.W. Dresser 1899


"The truth is that life is delicious, horrible, charming, frightful, sweet, bitter, and that it is everything."

-Anatole France


"O long life! O painful life! O life that is not lived! Oh, what lonely solitude, how incurable! What remedy to you provide for one who finds so little on earth that might give some rest apart from you."

-St. Teresa of Avila


When one subtracts from life infancy (which is vegetation), sleep, eating and swilling, buttoning and unbuttoning-how much remains of downright existence? The summer of a dormouse."

-Byron, Journals


"Life is one long process of getting tired."

-Samuel Butler


"The most common despair is....not choosing, or willing, to be oneself, but the deepest form of despair is to choose to be another than oneself."

-Soren Kierkegaard


"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another."

-Anatole France



"We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

-Joseph Campbell


"You don't get to choose how you're going to die. or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now."

-Joan Baez


"Realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted."

-Anna Quindlen


"They want to get out of themselves and escape from the man. That is madness: instead of changing into angels, they change into beasts; instead of raising themselves, they lower themselves. These transcendental humors frighten me, like lofty and inaccessible places; and nothing is so hard for me to stomach in the life of Socrates as his ecstasies and possessions by his daemon, nothing is so human in Plato as the qualities for which they say he is called divine. And of our sciences, those seem to me most terrestrial and low which have risen the highest. And I find nothing so humble and so mortal in the life of Alexander as his fancies about his immortalization. Philotas stung him wittily by his answer. he congratulated him by letter on the oracle of Jupiter Ammon which had lodged him among the gods: "As far as you are concerned, I am very glad of it; but there is reason to pity the men who will have to live with and obey a man who exceeds and is not content with a man's proportions."



"Life is a fatal complaint, and an eminently contagious one."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes  The Poet at the Breakfast-table


" do not snivel that snivel the world over,

That months are vacuums, and the ground,

  but wallow and filth."

-Walt Whitman "Song of Myself"


"Forsake all inhibitions, Pursue thy dreams!"

-Walt Whitman



"What is life? A frenzy.....an illusion.....agony, and a dream. And the dreams themselves are dreams."


Life Is a Dream



"This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it."

-William James



"We are all capable of everything."



"Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult."

-Hippocrates (460-400 B.C.)



"Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact."

-William James


"The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order"

-Eudora Welty


"These are brief intermissions* that you could just slide through without noticing. It is much better to see these as precious moments for self-reflection....a time to make what you want to do a great curiosity.....a time for thoughtful self-invention....series of chapters filled with a series of precipitous events that rise and fall and lead to the next reinvention of the self."

-Emory Daniels


"Life is a place of service, and in that service one has to suffer a great deal that is hard to bear, but more often to experience a great deal of joy. But that joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness."



"Tell me not, in mournful numbers,

Life is but an empty dream!-

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

   And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul."

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ,"A Psalm of Life,"  1839


"Life is a shadowy, strange, and winding road."

-Robert G. Ingersoll


"When I consider the short duration of my life, swallowed up in the eternity before and after, the small place which I fill, or even can see, engulfed in the infinite immensity of spaces of which I know nothing and I which know nothing of me, I am frightened, and I am astonished at being here rather than there: for there is no reason why here rather than there, why now rather than then."



"Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respect, whether he chooses to be so or not."

-Nathaniel Hawthorne


"You're the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine. You're some weird kind of gold that wants to stay melted in the furnace, so you won't have to become coins."



"Unless you assume a God, the question

of life's purpose is meaningless."

-Bertrand Russell, atheist


"One of life's most painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn't do our homework, that we are not prepared."

-Merlin Olsen


"The essence of living is spontaneity and Intuition."



"Commonsense and good nature will do a lot to make the pilgrimage of life not too difficult."

-W. Somerset Maugham


"One thing that you do in composing a life is to put together disparate elements that need to be in some kind of balance, like a still life with tools, fruit, and musical instruments.

-Mary Catherine Bateson Composing a Life


"Unless you can find ways to relearn and recycle, you are left with the model of hitting bottom and starting over. This is the model where you reach a certain point and you are converted, you are born again, and you completely leave your old life behind....What is important is to use the experience up to now, the skills, the learning, to approach the moment of transition with the memory of what has been learned before, and therefore the knowledge of what new learning felt like."

-Mary Catherine Bateson Composing a life



"We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I'm not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out."

-Paul Newman


"They say the seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who make jokes in life the seeds are covered with better soil and with a higher grade of manure."

-Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast


"Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss. I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end."

-Virginia Woolf


"The only good we discover in life, is something that produces an oblivion of existence."

-Madame De Stael


"Love your Life, as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected as brightly from the windows of the almshouse as from the rich man's abode."

-Henry David Thoreau


"never let an adventure pass you by."

-Joan Lunden


"At every moment of our lives,

we all have one foot in a fairy tale

and the other in the abyss."

-Paulo Coelho


"Trifles make up the happiness or the misery of mortal life."

-Alexander Smith


"I am one of those people who just can't help getting a kick out of life-even when it's a kick in the teeth."

-Polly Adler A House Is Not a Home


"Life is a festival only to  the wise. Seen from the nook and chimney-side of prudence, it wears a ragged and dangerous front."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



"I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle for me. it is sort of a splendid torch, which I have got hold of for the moment'; and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

-George Bernard Shaw


"Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want."

-Margaret Young



"We are all too ready to forget that in fact everything to do with our life is chance, from our origin out of the meeting of spermatozoon and ovum onwards."

-Sigmund Freud


"We are shadows; we are not endowed with real life, and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream-till the heart be touched. That touch creates us-then we begin to be-thereby we are beings of reality and inheritors of eternity.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne


"Life is good only when it is magical and musical, a perfect timing and consent, and when we do not anatomize it. You must treat the days respectfully, you must be a day yourself, and not interrogate it like a college professor. The world is enigmatical,-everything said, and everything known or done,-and must not be taken literally, but generally."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson



"A strange sensation rose up in me, a sort of defiance of fate, a desire to challenge it, to put out my tongue at it."

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Gambler


"The little things are infinitely the most important."

-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


"The true object of life is to enjoy ones-self; everything else is a mockery."

-Norman Douglas


"One word frees us of all the weight

and pain of life; that word is LOVE."



"The Buddha defeated hosts of evil with the power of love. Hence, love is the supreme protector."

-Tsong Khapa


"Open your heart

and listen to what it is telling you.

   Follow your dreams,

because only a man who is unashamed of himself

 can manifest the glory of God."

-Paulo Coelho


"The majority of humankind only enjoy life by forgetting that they are alive."

-Maurice Maeterlinck


"I've had a wonderful and terrible life and I wouldn't cry for myself-would you?"

-Tennessee Williams


"It is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived."

-Oliver Wendell Holmes


"it is the experience of living that is important, not searching for meaning. We bring meaning by how we love the world."

-Bernie Siegel, M.D.


"We do not choose our own parts in life, and have nothing to do with those parts. Our duty is confined to playing them well."



"The only thing that keeps a man going is energy. And what is energy but liking life?"

-Louis Auchincloss


"The most dangerous thing in the world is to be alive; one is always in danger of one's life. But anyone who shrinks from that is a traitor to the great scheme and experiment of being."

-G.K. Chesterton


"Life, so-called, is a short episode between two great mysteries.""

C.G. Jung


"It is arrogance to expect that life will always be music.....Harmony, like a following breeze at sea, is the exception. In a world where most things wind up broken or lost, our lot is to tack and tune."

-Harvey Oxenhorn


"The first lesson of life is to burn our own smoke; that is, not to inflict on outsiders our personal sorrows and petty morbidness, not to keep thinking of ourselves as exceptional cases."

-James Russell Lowell



"The true object of human life is play."

-G.K. Chesterton



"There are five types of men who fail in life; the machine, the miser, the hermit, the snob and the brute."

-Walter Wilbur Gruber


"In individual moments we all know how the most elaborate arrangements of our life are made only so as to flee from the tasks we actually ought to be performing, how we would like to hide our head somewhere as though our hundred-eyed conscience could not find us out there,.....how we labour at our daily work more ardently and thoughtlessly that is necessary to sustain our life because to us it is even more necessary not to have leisure to stop and think, Haste is universal because everyone is in flight from himself; universal too is the shy concealment of this haste because everyone wants to seem content and would like to deceive more sharp-eyed observers as to the wretchedness he feels...."



   "How to be at peace now? By making peace with the present moment. The present moment is the field on which the game of life happens. It cannot happen anywhere else. Once you have made peace with the present moment, see what happens, what you can do or choose to do, or rather what life does through you. There are three words that convey the secret of the art of living, the secret of all success and happiness: One With Life. Being one with life is being one with Now. You then realize that you don't live your life, but life lives you. Life is the dancer, and you are the dance."

-Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose


"However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as your are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life."

-Henry David Thoreau


Life's greatest achievement is the continual re-making of yourself so that at last you know how to live."

-Winfred Rhodes


"When an old, well-known road is blocked, a new path must be opened. Obedient to the universal law, I am now surveying the outlines of a new life-a life which will have little in common with anything I've known before."

-General Chennault   April 30, 1937


"How rapidly we pass our time on this earth!...The first quarter of life flows away before we know what to do with it, and the last quarter after we have ceased to enjoy it. At first we don't know how to live, soon we're no longer able to, and in the space that separates these two useless extremes, three-quarters of our time is consumed by sleep, labor, pain, constraint, and distress of every kind. Life is short, not so much because it lasts such a short time as because we have almost none of that time to enjoy it."

-Jean-Jacques Rousseau


"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

-Agatha Christie


"Enthusiasm is life."

-Paul Scofield


   "We get into the habit of living before acquiring the habit of thinking. In that race which daily hastens us toward death, the body maintains its irreparable lead. In short, the essence of that contradiction lies in what I shall call the act of eluding because it is both less and more than diversion in the Pascalian sense. Eluding is the invariable game. The typical act of eluding.....is hope. Hope of another life one must 'deserve' or trickery of those who live not for life itself but some great idea that will transcend it, refine it, give it a meaning, and betray it. "



"How ridiculous and what a stranger he is who is surprised at anything which happens in life."

-Marcus Auerelius


"The whole affair is a matter of indifference to me, as is all the commotion, and the opinion of each and every human being....I will live through all that is in store for me like an unconcerned spectator."



"Be glad of life because it give you the chance to love, and to work, and to play and look up at the stars."

-Henry Van Dyke


"Be grateful for yourself....be thankful."

-William Saroyan


"A man....must have an audience, or make believe to have one, even if it is only himself."

-Weir Mitchell


"Life always comes to a bad end."

Marcel Ayme


"Oh, isn't life a terrible thing, thank God?"

-Dylan Thomas


"In life, as in chess, forethought wins."

-Charles Buxton


"Being unready and ill-equipped is what you have to expect in life. It is the universal predicament. It is your lot as a human being to lack what it takes. Circumstances are seldom right. You never have the capacities, the strength, the wisdom, the virtue you ought to have. You must always do with less than you need in a situation vastly different from what you would have chosen as appropriate for your special endowments."

-Charlton Ogburn, Jr.


"It is happily and kindly provided that in every life there are certain pauses, and interruptions which force consideration upon the careless, and seriousness upon the light; points of time where one course of action ends and another begins."



"Most of one's life is one prolonged effort to prevent oneself thinking."

-Aldous Huxley


"Mere life is not a blessing, but to live well."



"The purpose of life is to acquaint a man with himself."



"At thirty a man should know himself like the palm of his hand, know the exact number of his defects and qualities....And, above all, accept these things."

-Albert Camus


"Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections."

-Saint Francis de Sales


"Sometimes it is more important to discover what one cannot do, than what one can do."

-Lin Yutang


"And life itself told me this secret: "Behold" it said, "I am that which must overcome itself again and again."

-Friedrich Nietzsche

Thus Spoke Zarathustra


"How grand  and holy is this life! How sacred the temple which contains it."

-Richard Jefferies


"Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve."

.-Erich Fromm


"We spend our lives talking about this mystery: Our Life."

-Jules Renard


"Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."

-Charlotte Bronte


"Everything has been figured out, except how to live."

Jean-Paul Sartre


"Life is the game that must be played:

This truth at least, good friends,

We know;

So live and laugh, nor be dismayed

As one by one the Phantoms go."

-Edwin Arlington Robinson


"As this is the simple truth-that to live is to feel oneself lost-he who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground."

-Jose Ortega Y Gasset


"Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I am with you kid. Let's go."

-Maya Angelou


"A: What is the meaning of life? B: I know, but I won't tell you."

Mason Cooley


"What does life mean? If the meaning could be put into a sentence there would be no need of telling the story."

-Henry Van Dyke


"Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he must recognize that it (is) he who is asked."

Dr. Viktor E. Frankl


"One must look for one thing only, to find many."

Cesare Pavese

The Business of Living: Diaries 1935-50



a little water

a few words on the tongue"

-Bernard Noel


"No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently."

-Agnes DeMille


"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrows, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

-Agatha Christie


"We either make ourselves miserable or make ourselves strong. the amount of work is the same."

-Carlos Castaneda


"The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live-moreover , the only one."

E.M. Cioran


"Life is made up of marble and mud."

-Nathaniel Hawthorne


"You don't grasp the fact that what is most alive of all is inside your own house."



"Every man's life is a fairy-tale written by God's fingers."

-Hans Christian Andersen


"Human affairs are not serious, but they have to be taken seriously."

-Iris Murdoch


"There must be more to life than having everything."

-Maurice Sendak


"It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are!"

e.e. cummings



"Everything is worthy of notice, for everything can be interpreted."

Hermann Hesse

The Glass Bead Game,1943


"We do not content ourselves with the life we have in ourselves and in our own being; we desire to live an imaginary life in the mind of others, and for this purpose we endeavor to shine. We labor unceasingly to adorn and preserve this imaginary existence and neglect the real."



"Life is much too horrible in its inescapable, unmerited and unjustifiable possibilities of sorrow to be termed "tragic." The "tragic" view is, so to say, only a foreground view, held by people who marvel still, unable to conceive that life is the thing it is."

Heinrich Zimmer


"However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life."

-Henry David Thoreau


"There is no meaning to life except the meaning man gives his life by the unfolding of his powers."

-Erich Fromm


"Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses power of various sorts which he habitually fails to use."

-William James


"We need not only a purpose in life to give meaning to our existence but also something to give meaning to our suffering. We need as much something to suffer for as something to live for."

Eric Hoffer


"Living apart and at peace with myself, I came to realize more vividly the meaning of the doctrine of acceptance. To refrain from giving advice, to refrain from meddling in the affairs of others, to refrain, even though the motives be the highest, from tampering with another's way of life-so simple, yet so difficult for an active spirit! Hands off!"

-Henry Miller


"Experience takes away more than it adds; young people are nearer ideas than old men."



"It takes courage to do what you want. Other people have a lot of plans for you. Nobody wants you to do what you want to do."

-Joseph Campbell


"What you would seem to be, be really."

-Ben Franklin


"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative."

-H.G. Wells


"The attitude that I take is that everyday life is more interesting than forms of celebration, when we become aware of it. That when is when our intentions go down to zero. Then suddenly you notice that the world is magical."

John Cage


"My fate cannot be mastered; it can only be collaborated with and thereby, to some extent, directed. Nor am I the captain of my soul; I am only its noisiest passenger."

Aldous Huxley

Adonis and the Alphabet


"Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded."

Antoine de Saint-Exupery


"Which do we receive the greatest benefit from: our friends or enemies, as to useful lessons in life?

-John Fitch


"Demand not that events should happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do, and you will go on well."



"Learn to be pleased with everything; with wealth, so far as it makes us beneficial to others; with poverty; for not having much to care for, and with obscurity, for being unenvied."



"Wherever a man may turn, whatever a man may undertake, he will always end up by returning to that path which nature has marked out for him."


Autobiography 1811


"An imaginative man is apt to see, in his life, the story of his life; and is thereby led to conduct himself in life in such a manner as to make a good story of it rather than a good life."

Sir Henry Taylor

The Statesman, 1836


"We live beyond any tale we happen to enact."

V.S. Pritchett

The Myth Makers


"A man may fulfill the object of his existence by asking a question he cannot answer, and attempting a task he cannot achieve."

Oliver Wendell Holmes senior



"Life is a very sad piece of buffoonery, because we have....the need to fool ourselves continuously by the....creation of (an illusory) reality..."

-Luigi Pirandello


"The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it."


Modern Man in Search of a Soul


"Our present life feels like a real fight-as if there were something really wild in the universe which we, with all our idealities and faithfulnesses, are needed to redeem."

William James

The Will to Believe


"The great end of Life is not knowledge but action."

Thomas Henry Huxley


"A work settles nothing, just as the labor of a whole generation settles nothing. Sons, and the morrow, always start afresh."

Cesare Pavese

This Business of Living: Diaries 1933-35



"A life, admirable at first sight, may have cost so much in imposed liabilities, chores and self-abasement, that, brilliant though it appears, it cannot be considered as other than a failure. Another, which seems to have misfired, is in reality a triumphant success, because it has cost so little."

Henry De Montherplant

Notebooks ,1930-44


"Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places."

Italo Calvino

Invisible Cities


"Individual life is tragic. Man is ineluctably alone, and it is a short way to the grave. But believing this, there is no reason why social life should also be tragic-it lies within one's power to control, as human loneliness does not-and it is contemptible of the false-profound to confuse the two."

C.P. Snow


"I spent the afternoon musing on Life. If you come to think of it, what a queer thing Life is! So unlike anything else, don't you know, if you see what I mean."

P.G. Wodehouse

My Man Jeeves


""Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult."

-M. Scott Peck



"Nothing ever gets anywhere. The earth keeps turning round and gets nowhere. The moment is the only thing that counts."

Jean Cocteau

Professional Secrets



"Whatever else we are intended to do, we are not intended to succeed; failure is the fate allotted."

Robert Louis Stevenson


"To believe in immortality is one thing, but it is first needful to believe in Life."

-Robert Louis Stevenson



"courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air."

-John Quincy Adams



"The art of living well and the art of dying well are one."

Epicurus (3rd Century B.C.)


"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand. Keep your accounts on your thumbnail....By poverty, i.e., simplicity of life and fewness of incidents. I am solidified and crystallized. It is a singular concentration of strength and energy and flavor."




"We act as though comfort and luxury were the Chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be really enthusiastic about."

-Charles Kingsley


"Banish the future; live only for the hour and its allotted work. Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, but set earnestly at the task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day; for surely our plain duty is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to what lies clearly at hand."



"Serve Life and you will be sustained."

Henry Miller


"The failures and reverses which await men-and one after another sadden the brow of youth-add a dignity to the prospect of human life, which no Arcadian success would do."

Thoreau, Journal, 1842


"Some people seem to think that death is the only reality in life. Others, happier and rightlier minded, see and feel that life is the true reality in death."

Julius Charles Hare & Augustus William Hare

Guesses at Truth (1827)


"Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one."

Vladimir Nabokov

Pale Fire (1962)


"We never live, but we hope to live; and as we are always preparing to be happy, it is inevitable we should never be so."


Pensees (1670)



"Life is the game that must be played:

This truth at least, good friends, we know;

So live and laugh, nor be dismayed

As one by one the Phantoms go."

-Edwin Arlington Robinson


"Let us be up and doing,

With a heart for any fate,

Still achieving, still pursuing

Learn to labor and to wait."

-Longfellow   Psalm of Life


"We look back on our life as a thing of broken pieces, because our mistakes and failures are always the first to strike us, and outweigh in our imagination what we have accomplished and attained."


Maxims and Reflections


"Nor love thy life, nor hate; but what thou livest, live well; how long or short permit to haven."

-John Milton


"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....."



"Happy or not, life is the only treasure a man possesses; those who do not love life do not deserve it."

Giovannia Casanova


"Remember that life is neither pain nor pleasure; it is serious business, to be entered upon with courage and in a spirit of self-sacrifice."

-Alexis de Tocqueville


"Only those who have achieved self-knowledge and are constantly seeking both to enlarge it and apply it in their daily living, are capable of overcoming their automatic reactions, and reaching their own ideal limits."

Lewis Mumford

The Conduct of Life


"Our task, then, is to strengthen our consciousness of ourselves, to find centers of strength within ourselves which will enable us to stand despite the confusion and bewilderment around us."

Dr. Rollo May

Man's Search for Himself


"Life is much too important a thing to talk seriously about it."

Oscar Wilde


"One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead."

-Oscar Wilde


"When I hear people say they have not found the world and life so agreeable or interesting as to be in love with it, or that they look with equanimity to its end. I am apt to think they have never been properly alive nor seen with clear vision the world they think so meanly of, or anything in it-not a blade of grass."

William Henry Hudson

Far Away and Long Ago


"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."

Albert Camus


"Formula of my happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal..."


Twilight of the Idols, 1889


"Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't so much matter what you do in particular so long as you have lived your life."

-Henry James


"Success is relative: It is what we can make of the mess we have made of things."

T.S. Eliot

The Family Reunion, 1939


"What are the thoughts of the canvas on which a masterpiece is being painted? 'I am being soiled, brutally treated and concealed from view.' Thus men grumble at their destiny, however fair."

Jean Cocteau

Cock and Harlequin ,1918


"Life is a maze in which we take the wrong turning before we have learnt to walk."

Cyril Connolly,

The Unquiet Grave, 1944


"The best way out is through."

Robert Frost


""The art of living is more like that of wrestling than of dancing; the main thing is to stand firm and be ready for an unforeseen attack."

-Marcus Aurelius


"By having reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. The absolute is so abstract that we can have no communion with it. It is not given to us to serve the creative will, infinite and unfathomable, by comprehending its nature and its intentions. But we come into spiritual contact with it by the feeling of the mystery of life and by devoting ourselves to all the living beings whom we are able to serve.

Albert Schweitzer


"Living from our present life-level, we are almost always nervous about what's going on around us. Why? Because we still live with the mistaken notion that who we are is somehow affected or determined by what happens to us.....This is why we are going to leave behind us, once and for all, this threatened nature of ours. By placing ourselves in the care of Real Intelligence, we can learn to let go of whatever it may be that has frightened us up to now."

Guy Finley

The Secret of Letting Go


"All my life I believed I knew something. But then one strange day came when I realized that I knew nothing, yes, I knew nothing. And so words became void of meaning....I have arrived too late at ultimate uncertainty."

Ezra Pound


"When I think of all the books I have read, and of the wise words I have heard spoken, and of the anxiety I have given to parents and grandparents, and the hopes that I have had, all life weighed in the scales of my own life seems to me preparation for something that never happens."

W.B. Yeats,




"All human life has its seasons and cycles, and no one�s personal chaos can be permanent. Winter, after all, gives way to spring and summer, though sometimes when branches stay dark and the earth cracks with ice, one thinks they will never come, that spring, and that summer, but they do, and always."

Truman Capote



"I see many people die because they judge that life is not worth living. I see others paradoxically getting killed for the ideas or illusions that give them a reason for living (what is called a reason for living is also an excellent reason for dying). I therefore conclude that the meaning of life is the most urgent of questions."

Albert Camus

The Myth of Sisyphus



"For a long time it seemed to me that life was about to begin-real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life."

Fr. Alfred D'Souza


"It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid."

G.B. Shaw


"By the time we�ve made it, we�ve had it."

Malcolm Forbes


"In the end , everything is a gag."

Charlie Chaplin



"We�re all in this alone."

Lily Tomlin


"One is not superior merely because one sees the world as odious."

Chateaubriand (1768-1848)


"Keep breathing."

Sophie Tucker


"Love all God's creation, the whole and every grain of sand in it. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery of things."




"One lives in the hope of becoming a memory."

Antonio Porchia



"It is the acme of life to understand life."

George Santayana

War Shrines, Soliloquies in England (1922)



"Nothing is so false as human life, nothing so treacherous. God knows no one would have accepted it as a gift, if it had not been given without our knowledge."

Senaca (1st century C.E.)


"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��"


Macbeth (1605)


"I�d like to know/what this whole show/ is all about/before it�s out."

Piet Hein


"There is only one meaning of life: the act of living itself."

Eric Fromm

Escape from Freedom (1941)


"The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware."

Henry Miller

The Wisdom of the Heart (1941)



"Tell him to live by Yes and No-Yes to everything good, no to everything bad."

William James


"When you don�t have any money, the problem is food. When your have money, it�s sex. When you have both, it�s health. If everything is jake, then you�re frightened of death."

J.P. Donleavy


"Burn, burn, burn like

fabulous yellow roman

candle exploding like

spiders across the stars

and in the middle you see

The blue centerlight pop

And everybody goes


-Jack Kerouac


"It is eternity now. I am in the midst of it. It is about me in the sunshine: I am in it, as the butterfly in the light-laden air.

Nothing has to come; it is now.

Now is eternity;

Now is the immortal life."

Richard Jefferies

The Story of My Heart (1883)


"Dear friend, all theory is gray,

and green the golden tree of life."




"If I were to begin life again,

I should want it just as it was;

Only I would open my eyes a little more."

Jules Renard


"We meet ourselves time and again

in a thousand disguises on the paths of life."

Carl Jung



"Life on earth is threatened today not by man�s failure to love his fellow man but by the inability to love at all. Love untainted by egoism is to be found only in the rarest of the rare."

J.G. Bennett

Masters of Wisdom*


"If we really want to live,

We�d better start

At once to try;

If we don�t

It doesn�t matter,

We�d better start

To die."

W.H. Auden


"Don�t squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, or giving your life away to the ignorant and the common�.Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you."

Oscar Wilde


"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the b breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in sunset."

(dying words of Crowfoot�Blackfoot warrior-1890)


"Now at last I have come to see what life is,/Nothing is ever ended, everything only begun,/ And the brave victories that seemed so splendid/Are never really won."

Sara Teasdale

Flame and Shadow (1920)


"To be wildly enthusiastic, or deadly serious-�both are wrong. Both pass. One must keep ever present a sense of humour. It depends entirely on yourself how much you see and understand. But the sense of humour I have found of use in every single occasion of my life."

Katherine Mansfield


"If one had to live on some high rock on such a narrow ledge that he only had room enough to stand, and the ocean and the everlasting darkness, everlasting tempest around him, if he had to remain standing on a square yard of space all his life, a thousand years, eternity, it were better to live so, than to die at once. Only to live, to live and live. Life, whatever it may be. Amen

-Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment


Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal."


A Psalm of Life


"Sloppy, raggedy-assed old life. I love it. I never want to die."

Dennis Trudell


"Strange interlude! Yes, our lives are merely strange dark interludes in the electrical display of God the Father."

Eugene O� Neil

Strange Interlude


"Life is a language in which certain truths are conveyed to us; if we could learn them in some other way, we should not live."



"Is life worth living? This is a question for an embryo, not for a man."

Samuel Butler


"The success or failure of a life....seems to lie in the more or less luck of seizing the right moment of escape."

-Alice James




Life is not a spectacle or a feast; it is a predicament."



"The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection, even though it consists of nothing more than the pounding of an old piano, is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star."

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865�1946)


"Life is the sum of all your choices."

Albert Camus


"By a high star our course is set

Our end is Life. Put out to sea."

Louis Macneice (1907-1963)


"Every person has his own destiny....the only imperative is to follow it, accept it, no matter where it leads."

-Henry Miller


"the leap of faith is not so much a leap of thought as of action. One must....dare to act wholeheartedly without absolute certainty."

-William Sloane Coffin


"I have discovered, you do not need to know what you are looking for-only that you are looking for something, and need urgently to find it. It is the urgency that does the work, a readiness to receive that finds the answers."

-Janine Pommy Vega


"Life means to have something definite to do-a mission to fulfill-and in the measure in which we avoid setting our life to something, we make it empty. Human life, by its very nature, has to be dedicated to something."

Jose Ortega Y Gasset


"Life teaches us to be less harsh with ourselves and with others."



"Of all human foibles love of living is the most powerful."



"Life is strewn with so many dangers, and can be the source of many misfortunes, that death is not the greatest of them."



"Living is struggle....Every good and excellent thing in the world stands moment by moment on the razor-edge of danger and must be fought for-whether it's a field, a home, or a country. All I ask is the chance to build new worlds and God has always given us that."

-Thornton Wilder



"Every man who has reached his intellectual teens begins to suspect that life is no farce; that it is not genteel comedy even; that it flowers and fructifies on the contrary out of the profoundest tragic depths of the essential dearth in which its subject's roots are plunged. The natural inheritance of everyone who is capable of spiritual life is an unsubdued forest where the wolf howls and the obscene bird of night chatters."

-Henry James



"Life is a toy made of glass; it appears to be of inestimable price, but in reality it is is very cheap."

Pietro Aretino (1537)


"What an interesting life I had. and how I wish I had realized it sooner!"



"you need to claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done, which may take some time, you are fierce with reality."

-Florida Scott-Maxwell



"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it."

J.M. Barrie (1891)


"The farther a man follows the rainbow, the harder it is for him to get back to the life which he left starving like an old dog."

Jane Bowles

The Collected works of Jane Bowles


"Life is not so much a riddle to be read as a Gordian knot that will get cut sooner or later�..."

Samuel Butler

"Lord, What is Man?"

Notebooks 1912


"There is vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into ACTION, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to Determine

How good it is;

Nor how valuable it is;

Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your Business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you.

Keep the channel open�.

No Artist is pleased�.

There is no satisfaction whatever at anytime. There is only a queer, Divine Dissatisfaction. The Blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

(a letter from Martha Graham to Agnes Demille)


"Life is this simple:

We are living in a transparent world,

And God shines through in every moment.

This is not just a fable or nice story;

It is living truth.

If we remember God, abandon ourselves to God,

And forget ourselves,

We may see this truth:

God manifests everywhere, in everything.

We cannot be without God

It�s impossible

It�s simply impossible."

Thomas Merton


"What we can�t express ruins our life."



"We would have to settle for the elegant goal of becoming ourselves."

-William Styron


"For all that has been: Thanks!

For all that be: Yes!

-Dag Hammarskjold   Markings


"Surviving meant being born over and over."

-Erica Jong


"I am your friend and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not got, but there is much, very much, that-while I cannot give it-you can take.

   No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take Heaven!

   No peace can come to us unless our hearts find rest in today. Take Heaven!

   No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant. Take Peace!

   The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach is, is Joy. There is a radiance and glory in the darkness, could we but see-and to See we have only to Look.

   Life is so generous a giver, but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the Angel's hand that brings it to you.

   In everything we call a trial, a sorrow, or a duty, believe me, that Angel's hand is there; the gift is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing Presence.

   Our joys too; be not content with them as Joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

   Life is so full of Meaning and Purpose, so full of Beauty-beneath its covering-that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have; and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending, through unknown country, home.....

     Fra Giovanni


"I think one must finally take one�s life in one�s arms"

Arthur Miller


"The great and glorious masterpiece of humanity is to know how to live with a purpose."



"How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. there are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. you continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light."

-Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams


"So long as you live and in whatever circumstances the kaleidoscope of life may place you, think for yourself and act in accordance with the conclusions of that thinking; avoid so far as possible drifting with the current of the mob or being too easily influenced by the outward manifestation of things. Take you own look beneath the surface and don't trust others to look for you. If you will follow this rule consistently, I am sure you will keep out of much trouble, will make the most out of your life and what is more, will contribute most of value to the community life."

-Dr. Frank B Jewett


"He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe."

Marcus Aurelius


"I am large, I contain multitudes."

-Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"


"Embrace change-knowing that life is always

   being reconfigured.

Befriend the person you are striving to become.

Welcome new paths. Enjoy the detours.

Strive to go deeper rather than just forward.

Know that most unnecessary demands come from

   the unfinished parts of self.

Beware of speed. It is often one's undoing.

Wholehearted is the way. Halfhearted will kill you.

Harness your evolvement.

Let go of what is outlived to make room for

   the unlived."

-Joan Anderson

The Second Journey


"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 in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him....and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them."

Henry David Thoreau


"Our strength grows out of our weakness. The indignation which arms itself with secret forces does not awaken until we are pricked and stung and sorely assailed. A great man is always willing to be little. Whilst he sits on the cushion of advantages, he goes to sleep. When he is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something; he has been put on his wits, on his manhood; he has gained facts; learns his ignorance; he is cured of the insanity of conceit; has got moderation and real skill. The wise man throws himself on the side of his assailants. It is more his interest than it is theirs to find his weak point."

Ralph Waldo Emerson



"Essentially , everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences."

Robert Louis Stevenson


"Life creates the conditions that are conducive to life."

-Janine Benyus



"Tell him to live by Yes and No-

Yes to everything good,

No to everything Bad."

-William James



"Tis all a chequerboard of Nights and Days,

Where Destiny with Men for pieces plays,

Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,

And one by one back in the closet lays."

-Omar Khayam



"Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece."

Nadia Boulanger



"without self-expression, life lacks spontaneity and joy. Without service to others, it lacks meaning and purpose....conceiving of ourselves as artists in whatever work we do gives us a metaphor for a life of integrity, service, enjoyment, and excellence....I know of no better nutshell statement of the path to finding one's true calling life than the simple formula given by Aristotle; Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation. These two, your talents and the needs of the world, are the great wake-up calls to your true vocation in life. To ignore either is, in some sense, to lose your soul."

-Laurence G. Boldt

Zen and the Art of Making a Living



"Cats and monkeys, monkeys and cats-all human life is there."

-Henry James Jr.



   "Life being all inclusion and confusion, and art being all discrimination and selection....life has no direct sense whatever for the subject and is capable, luckily for us, of nothing but splendid waste. Hence the opportunity for the sublime economy of art, which rescues, and saves, and hoards, and "banks," investing and reinvesting thee fruits of toil in wondrous useful "works" and thus making up for us, desperate spendthrifts that we all naturally are, the most princely incomes."

-Henry James Jr.



Live with great expectations,

And great things happen."

Art Fettig


"Live your life while you have it. Life is a splendid gift-there is nothing small about it."

-Florence Nightingale


"Live according to your highest light

and more light will be given."

Peace Pilgrim

"People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading."

-Logan Pearsall Smith



"Life means to have something definite to do-a mission to fulfill-and in the measure in which we avoid setting our life to something, we make it empty. Human life, by its very nature, has to be dedicated to something."

Jose Ortega Y Gasset


"Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece."

Nadia Boulanger



"A human lifetime is 80 years long on average. A person imagines and organizes his life with that span in mind. What I have just said everyone knows, but only rarely do we realize that the number of years granted us is not merely a quantitative fact, an external feature (like nose length or eye color), but is part of the very definition of the human. A person who might live, with all his faculties, twice as long, say 160 years, would not belong to our species. Nothing about his life would be like ours-not love, or ambitions, or feelings, or nostalgia; nothing. If after 20 years abroad an �gr� were to come back to his native land with another hundred years of life ahead of him, he would have little sense of a Great Return, for him it would probably not be a return at all, just one of many byways in the long journey of his life."

Milan Kundera



"I live by one principle: enjoy life with no conditions! That is the one thing I hope to have contributed to my children, by example and by talk: to make no conditions, to understand that life is a wonderful thing and to enjoy it, every day, to the full."

-Artur Rubenstein


"Life is something unfathomable, ever-changing, mysterious, and every attempt to confine it within an artificial, abstract structure inevitably ends up homogenizing, regimenting, standardizing and destroying life, as well as curtailing everything that projects beyond, overflows or falls outside the abstract project. What is a concentration camp, after all, but an attempt by Utopians to dispose of those elements which do not fit in."

Vaclav Havel


After a long seeking

I gave up on all mirrors

Then feeling a way forward in the fog

Without a lamp or even a candle

And absent any guide at all,

One starless night I stumbled

Upon this place of water where

Gleaming in its darkest deeps,

My own two astonished eyes.


from Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot   The Third chapter



"To work, to help, and to be helped, to learn sympathy through suffering, to learn faith by perplexity, is to reach truth through wonder, behold!-this is what it means to prosper, this is what it is to live."

-Phillips Brooks


"For quite a while it has been possible for a free and thoughtful person to see that to treat life as mechanical or predictable or understandable is to reduce it. Now, almost suddenly, it is becoming clear that to reduce life to the scope of our understanding (whatever "model" we use) is inevitably to enslave it, make property of it, and put it up for sale...This is to give up on life, to carry it beyond change and redemption, and to increase the proximity of despair."

Wendell Barry

Life is a Miracle: An Essay Against Modern Superstition



"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we are seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own inner-most being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."

-Joseph Campbell




"In the old religion of the Indians in New Mexico, the whole life-effort of man was to get his life into direct contact with the elemental life of the cosmos....To come into immediate felt contact, and so derive energy, power, and a dark sort of joy. This effort into sheer naked contact, without an intermediary or mediator, is the root meaning of religion."

D.H. Lawrence



"Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning's, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outre results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusion most stale and unprofitable."

-Arthur Conan Doyle

A Case of Identity




"There has never been an intelligent person of the age of sixty who would consent to live his life over again. His or anyone else's"

-Mark Twain




"Think of the inside of your house as your soul and the outside architecture as something like your bone structure, your genetic inheritance.....our true home is inside each of us, and it is your love of life that transforms your house into your home."

-Alexandra Stoddard



"We are great fools."  "He has passed over his life in idleness," say we: "I have done nothing today." What? Have you not lives? This is not only the fundamental, but the most illustrious of all your occupations. "Had I been put to the management of great affairs, I should have made it seen what I could do." Have you known how to meditate and manage your life, you have performed the greatest work of all. For a man to show and set out himself, nature has no need of fortune; she equally manifests herself in all stages, and behind a curtain as well as without one. Have you known how to regulate your conduct, you have done a great deal more than he who has composed books. Have you known how to take repose, you have done more than he who has taken cities and empires."



"Life-life the continuation of our animal mechanism-was the Alpha and Omega of the desire, the prayers, the prostrate ambition of the human race."

-Mary Shelley

The Last Man


"this life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it."

-William James


"Life is a short affair;/We should try to make it smooth, and free from strife."

-Euripides (421 B.C.)


"Plain living is nothing but voluntary poverty."



"Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves."

-Edwin Way Teale


"an elegant sufficiency, content, refinement, rural quiet, friendship,-books."

-James Thomson


"This being human is a guest-house.

Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

he may be cleaning you out

for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,

meet them at the door laughing, 

and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond."



   "What, then, is the good life? To sketch this out, Borgmann draws on central elements of the classical and Judeo-Christian traditions. Four features, it would seem, characterize the "person of excellence", in this account.

1. He or she is a world citizen-that is, someone who knows a fair amount about the world (science and history, in particular).

2. He or she seeks both physical valor and intellectual refinement ("mems sana in corpore sano").

3. He or she is accomplished in music and versed in the arts.

4. He or she is charitable-i.e., aware that real strength lies not in material force, but in the power to give, forgive, help, and heal.

   Now, let's consider our current situation. Does it match up to this ideal?"

-Morris Berman

Dark Ages America: The Final Phase Of Empire


On the Shortness of Life....by Seneca (4 B.C.-A.D. 65)

"It is a general complaint among mankind, Paulinus, that Nature is niggardly: our allotted span is brief, and the term granted us flies by with such dizzy speed that all but a few exhaust it just when they are beginning to live. And it is not only the unthinking masses who bemoan what they consider the universal evil: the same sentiment has evoked complaints even from men of distinction. Hence the cry of that prince of physicians (Hippocrates), "Life is short, art, long." Hence Aristotle's grievance against Nature-an incongruous position for a philosopher: Nature has been so lavish to animals that they vegetate for five or ten human spans, whereas man, with his capacity for numerous and great achievements, is limited by so much shorter a tether.

   It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. Life is long enough and our allotted portion generous enough for our most ambitious projects if we invest it all carefully. But when it is squandered through luxury and indifference, and spent for no good end, we realize it has gone, under the pressure of the ultimate necessity, before we were aware it was going. So it is: the life we receive is not short, but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully. Kingly riches are dissipated in an instant if they fall into the hands of a bad master, but even moderate wealth increases with use in the hands of a careful steward; so does our life provide ample scope if it is well managed.

   Why do we complain of Nature? She has behaved handsomely; life, if you know how to use it, is long. One man is possessed by an insatiable avarice, another by assiduous application to trifling enterprises. One man is sodden with wine, another benumbed by sloth. One man is exhausted by an ambition which always depends on the votes of others, another is driven over every land and sea by the trader's urge to seek profit. Some are plagued by a passion for soldiering and are incessantly bent upon threatening others or anxious about others' threats. Some are worn out by self-imposed and unrequited attendance upon the great; many busy themselves with the pursuit of other men's estates or in complaints about their own. Some follow no plan consistently but are precipitated into one new scheme after another by a fickleness which is rambling and unstable and dissatisfied with itself; some have no objective at all at which to aim but are overtaken by fate as they gape and yawn. I cannot, therefore, question the truth of the great poet's dictum, uttered with oracular impressiveness: "Slight is the portion of life we live." All the residue is not living but passing time.

   On all sides we are surrounded and beset by vices, and these do not permit us to rise and lift our eyes to the discernment of truth but submerge us and hold us chained down to lust. The prisoners are never allowed to return to their true selves; if they are ever so lucky as to win some respite, they continue to roll, as the sea swells even after the storm is over, and secure no release from their lusts. Do you suppose I am referring to wretches whose failings are acknowledged? Look at the men whose felicity is the cynosure of all eyes; they are smothered by their prosperity. How many have found riches a bane! How many have paid with blood for their eloquence and their daily straining to display their talent! How many are sallow from constant indulgence! How many are deprived of liberty by a besieging mob of clients! Run through the whole list from top to bottom: this man wants a friend at court, that man serves his turn; this man is the defendant, that man his lawyer, and the other the judge: but no one presses his claim to himself; everyone is used up for the sake of someone else. Investigate the personages whose names are household words and you find they can be classified by the following criteria: A is B;s sycophant and B is C's; no one shows solicitude for himself. And then some of them give vent to the most irrational indignation: they complain of their superior's snobbery, because they were too busy to receive them when they wanted to call. Dare a man complain of another's pride when he is too busy to receive himself? The nabob has, after all, sometime condescended to look at you, however offensive his expression, and has stepped down to listen to you, and has let you walk at his side; but you have never deigned to look in upon yourself or listen to yourself. You cannot debit anyone with those attentions of yours, because you showed them not out of a desire to commune with another but of inability to commune with yourself.

   Though all the luminaries of the ages devoted that combined genius to this one theme, they could never satisfactorily expound this phenomenal fog that darkens men's minds. Men will never allow anyone to take possession of their estates, and at the slightest dispute on boundary lines they pick up stones and rush to arms; but they do allow others to trespass on their lives, and themselves introduce intruders who will eventually claim full possession. Nobody on earth is willing to distribute his money, but everybody shares out his life, and to all comers. Men are very strict in keeping their patrimony intact, but when it comes to squandering time they are most lavish of the one item where miserliness is respectable.

   I should like to buttonhole one of the oldsters and say to him: "I see that you have reached the highest life expectancy and are now close to a century or more; please give us an itemized account of your years. Calculate how much of that span was subtracted by a creditor, a mistress, a patron, a client, quarreling with your wife, punishing your slaves, gadding about the city on social duties. Add to the subtracted end self-caused diseases and the time left an idle blank. You will see that you possess fewer years than the calendar shows. Search your memory: how seldom you have had a consistent plan, how few days worked out as you intended, how seldom you have enjoyed full use of yourself, how seldom your face wore an inartificial expression, how seldom your mind was un-flurried, what accomplishments you have to show for so long a life, how much of your life has been pilfered by others without your being aware of it, how much of it you have lost, how much was dispensed on groundless regret, foolish gladness, greedy desire, polite society-and then realize that your death will be premature.

   Why should this be? It is because you live as if you would live forever; the thought of human frailty never enters your head; you never notice how much of your time is already spent. You squander it as though your store were full to overflowing, when in fact the very day of which you make a present to someone or something may be your last. Like the mortal you are, you are apprehensive of everything; but your desires are unlimited as if you were immortal.

   It is idle to extend the list of men whom others looked upon as very happy but who have themselves testified in good faith that they loathed every act of their lives. But these plaints reformed neither their audience nor themselves, for no sooner have their feelings burst into expression than they backslide to their old habit. Even if you live a thousand years, by Hercules, your span will shrink into a trifle, for your vices will devour any amount of time. Your actual span, though Nature speeds its passing, can be stretched out by reason; but inevitably it slips quickly from your grasp, for you do not seize it and hold it back, you do nothing to brake the speediest thing in the world but let it go as if it were useless and replaceable.

   Everyone accelerates life's pace and is sick with anticipation of the future and loathing of the present. But the man who puts all of his time to his own uses, who plans every day as if it were his last, is neither impatient for the morrow nor afraid of it. Is there some new kind of pleasure than an hour might bring? All are familiar, all have been experienced to the full. The rest Lady Fortune may dispose of as she will; his life is now impregnable. Additions may be made but no diminution, and the additions are like the food a man can hold but does not want after he has eaten his fill. You cannot therefore, accept a hoary head and wrinkles as proof of a long life; the man has existed a long time, he has not lived a long time. Would you think a man had traveled a long voyage if he had been caught in a savage gale immediately on leaving port and had been buffeted to and fro by alternate blasts from opposite directions so that he was running circles in  the same spot? That man has had not a long voyage but a long floundering. 

   I am always astonished when I see people asking for time and those of whom they ask it very ready to oblige. Each focuses his attention on the object for which time is asked: but neither on the time itself, as if the thing actually asked for and bestowed were a cipher. They trifle with the most precious of all commodities. They take no notice of it because it has no substance and is not a visible entity, and therefore it is reckoned very cheap, or rather completely valueless. Annuities and bonuses men are very glad to receive, and hire their labor and effort and industry out to obtain them. But upon time no value is set: men use it as carelessly as if it came gratis. But see how these same people supplicate their doctors when they fall sick and death looms large, see how ready they are to spend their all for life if they are threatened with a capital charge! So utterly inconsistent are their moods. If men could see their future years numbered as precisely as their past, what a flutter there would be! With a fixed amount, however small, it is easy to economize; but when you cannot know when what you have will be gone you must husband your store very carefully.

   But you must not think those people are not aware what a precious thing time is, If they love someone very much it is their habit to declare that they're ready to give them part of their own years. They do give them part, without realizing it; but their mode of giving subtracts from their own store without adding to their friends'. They do not, in fact know that there is any diminution, and the loss causes no qualms because it is not noticed.

   Certain people who brag of their foresight are the stupidest of all. They are always preoccupied with work so that they may be in a position to live better; they spend life in making provision for life. Their plans are designed for the future, but procrastination is the greatest waste of life. It robs us of each day as it comes, and extorts the present from us on promises of the future. Expectancy is the greatest impediment to living: in anticipation of tomorrow, it loses today.

   You may wish to know whom I mean when I speak of men preoccupied. Do not suppose I mean only those who leave the law court only when the watchdogs take over; those who are crushed in an admiring crowd, with a show of grandeur if the retinue is their own, or of contempt if they are part of another's; those whom formal calling gets out of their own house to bump against the doors of others'; or yet those whom the praetor's auction keeps intent on profits that are disreputable and will one day fester. Some men are preoccupied even in their leisure. In a country house, upon a couch, in the midst of solitude, though they are inaccessible to others, they are trouble-some to themselves; their life cannot be called leisurely but rather a busy idleness.

   It would be tedious to list the types who spend their lives on backgammon or ball or toasting in the sun. Men whose pleasures involve much business are not at leisure. It is perfectly clear that those who spend their time on profitless literary questions-of whom Rome, too, now has a large number-are busy over nothing. It used to be a Greek aberration to inquire into the number of Ulysses' rowers, whether Iliad or Odyysey was written first and also whether they are by the same author, and other problems of the same description, which, if you kept them to yourself, would give your inward consciousness no pleasure, and if you published them would give you the character not of a scholar but of a bore. 

   The only people really at leisure are those who take time for philosophy. They alone really live. It is not their lifetime alone of which they are careful stewards: they annex every age to their own and exploit all the years that have gone before. By the exertions of others we are led to the fairest treasures, raised to the light out of the darkness in which they were mined. No age is forbidden us, we have admittance to all, and if we choose to transcend the narrow bounds of human frailty by loftiness of mind, there is a vast stretch of tome for us to roam. We may dispute with Socrates, doubt with Carneades, repose with Epicurus, transcend human nature with the Stoics, defy it with the Cynics.

    None of these will force you to die, but all will teach you how. None of these will wear your years away, but rather add his own to  yours. Conversation with them is not subversive, association not a capital offense, and no great expense is involved in cultivating them. You can carry home whatever you like: it will not be their fault if you do not draw as deeply as you like from their well-springs. What felicity awaits the man who has enrolled as their client, what a fair old age! He will have friends with whom he can deliberate on matters great and small, whom he can hear truth without offense and praise without flattery, after whose likeness he may mold himself.

   It is a common saying that a man's parents are not of his own choosing but allotted to him by chance. But we can choose our genealogy. there are families with noble endowments: choose whichever you to wish to belong to. Your adoption will give you not only the name but actually the property, and this you need not guard in a mean or niggardly spirit: the more people you share it with, the greater will it become These will open the path to eternity for you and will raise you to a height from which none can be cast down. This is the sole means of prolonging your mortality, rather of transforming it into mirrortality. Honors, monuments, all that ambition has blazoned in inscriptions or piled high in stone will speedily sink to ruin: there is nothing that the lapse of time does not dilapidate and exterminate. But the dedications of philosophy are impregnable; age cannot erase their memory or diminish their force. Each succeeding generation will hold them in ever higher reverence; what is close at hand is subject to envy, whereas the distant we can admire without prejudice. The philosopher's life is therefore spacious; he is not hemmed in and constricted like others. He alone is exempt from the limitations of humanity; all ages are at his service as at a god's Has time gone by? He holds it fast in recollections. Is time now present? He utilizes it. Is it still to come? He anticipates it. The amalgamation of all time into one makes his life long."

Senaca   (at the beginning of the last millennia)


   "I gathered all my notes and tried to fit in this new piece, determined I held the key. I worked until past midnight to no avail. No matter how I maneuvered the material and pondered, all I ended up with was another rehash of some well-worn assumptions. Finally, exhausted, I leaned back, literally head-in-hands, and called out "Oh God, what is the importance of play in our life? At which point a bolt of energy hit the soles of my feet and flashed through my body and I, with no customary transition of consciousness, went sailing out into space and felt myself flung from one end of the cosmos to the other in a sublime exhilaration, feeling rush after rush of ecstatic joy. Like a child being tossed through whole constellations again and again. I shouted over and over: "God is playing with me!" Finally the episode subsided, and I wept for some time, so emotional and sublime was the affair. (Much later I realized this episode followed Laski's Eureka pattern.)

-Joseph Chilton Pearce

The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of Spirit


"The purpose of life is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever."

-Harvey Cox  Seduction of the Spirit


"the meanings that we untap in life are those that we create, the dreams, plans and projects that we live for. How exciting these can be are in a measure of our imagination and creativity."

-Paul Kurtz The Transcendental Temptation



"To be glad of life, because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars; to be satisfied with your possessions, but not contented with yourself until you have made the best of them; to despise nothing in the world except falsehood and meanness, and to fear nothing except cowardice; to be governed by your admirations rather than by your disgusts; to covet nothing that is your neighbor's except his kindness of heart and gentleness of manners; to think seldom of your enemies and often of your friends...these are little guideposts on the footpath to peace."

-Henry van Dyke



"Biophilia is the passionate love of life and of alla that is alive; it is the wish to further growth, whether in a person, a plant, an idea, or a social group. The biophilous person prefers to construct rather than to retain. he wants to be more rather than to have more. he is capable of wondering, and he prefers to see something, new rather than to find confirmation of the old. He loves the adventure of living more than he does certainty. He sees the whole rather than only the parts, structures rather than summations. he wants to mold and to influence by love, reason, and example; not by force, by cutting things apart, by the bureaucratic manner of administering people as if they were things....Biophilic ethics have their own principle of good and evil. Good is all that serves life; evil is all that serves death. Good is reverence for life, all that enhances life, growth, unfolding. Evil is all that stifles life, narrows it down, cuts it into pieces."

Erich Fromm

The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness


"Be the best-version-of-yourself."

-Matthew Kelly


"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

-Henry David Thoreau



"....I have often thought that the best way to define a man's character would be to seek out the particular mental or moral attitude in which, when it came upon him, he felt himself most deeply and intensely active and alive. At such moments there is a voice inside which speaks and says: "This is the real me!".....Now as well as I can describe it, this characteristic attitude in me always involves an element of active tension, of holding my own, as it were, and trusting outward things to perform their part so as to make it a full harmony, but without any guaranty that they will. Make it a guaranty-and the attitude immediately becomes to my consciousness stagnant and stingless. Take away the guaranty, and I feel (provided I am uberhaupt in vigorous condition) a sort of deep enthusiastic bliss, of bitter willingness to do and suffer anything, which translates itself physically by a kind of stinging pain inside my breastbone (don't smile at this-it is to me an essential element of the whole thing!) and which, although it is a mere mood or emotion to which I can give no form in words, authenticates itself to me as the deepest principle of all active and theoretic determination which I possess."

-William James, Letter to his wife



   "It's true: there is no obviously apparent meaning to our lives. Cruelty, injustice, bodily discomfort, illness, annoyances, and inconveniences big and small are the prosaic facts of any day. So, what do we do about this? How do we-in spite of the pain and suffering in the outside world and our own wayward emotions-live ennobled lives rather than succumbing to a despairing numbness and merely coping like a mule with tedium and unbidden responsibilities?

   When the soul cries out, it is a sign that we have arrived at a necessary, mature stage of self-reflection. The secret is not to get stuck there dithering or wringing your hands, but to move forward by resolving to heal yourself. Philosophy asks us to move into courage. Its remedy is the unblinking excavation of the faulty and specious premises on which we base our lives and our personal identity."

-Epictetus   A.D. 80


"Are you willing....to own, 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.....to make a grave for your ugly thoughts and a garden for your kindly feelings....? Then you can keep Christmas."

-Henry Van Dyke


:There ain't no answer. There ain't gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer. That's the answer."

-Gertrude Stein



"A great river is not aimless. It has direction and purpose. So also must a good life have a definite aim; all its strength and fullness must be turned in one direction. To many the whole object of life is work. Ask a man what he is doing with his life and ninety-nine times out of a hundred he will reply by telling you his trade or profession."

-Grenville Kleiser



"I once received another piece of life-changing advice, which, unlike the advice I got from a friend in Chapter 3, I find applicable, wise and empirically valid. My classmate in Paris, the novelist-to-be Jean-Olivier Tedesco, pronounced, as he prevented me from running to catch a subway, "I don't run for trains."

   Snub your destiny. I have taught myself to resist running to keep on schedule. This may seem a very small piece of advice, but it registered. In refusing to run to catch trains, I have felt the true value of elegance and aesthetics in behavior, a sense of being in control of my time, my schedule, and my life. Missing a train is only painful if you run after it! Likewise not matching the idea of success others expect from you is only painful if that's what you are seeking.

   You stand above the rat race and the pecking order, not outside of it, if you do so by choice.

   quitting a high-paying position, if it is your decision , will seem a better payoff than the utility of the money involved (this may seem crazy, but I've tried it and it works). This is the first step toward the stoic's throwing a four-letter word at fate. You have far more control over your life if you decide on your criterion by yourself.

   Mother Nature has given us some defense mechanisms: as in Aesop's fable, one of these is our ability to consider that the grapes we cannot (or did not) reach are sour. But an aggressively stoic prior disdain and rejection of the grapes is even more rewarding. Be aggressive; be the one to resign, if you have the guts.

   It is more difficult to be a loser in a game you set up yourself.

   In Black Swan terms, this means that you are exposed to the improbable only if you let it control you. You always control what you do: so make this your end."

-Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable



"Life's like a movie, write your own ending."

-The Muppet Movie


"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."

-Robert Byrne



"The tragedy of life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal,...The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn't a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream. It isn't a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for. Not failure, but low aim, is a sin."

-Benjamin Mays



"Embrace change-knowing that life is always

   being reconfigured.

Befriend the person you are striving to become.

Welcome new paths. Enjoy the detours.

Strive to go deeper rather than just forward.

Know that most unnecessary demands come from

   the unfinished parts of self.

Beware of speed. It is often one's undoing.

Wholehearted is the way. Halfhearted will kill you.

Harness your evolvement.

Let go of what is outlived to make room for

   the unlived."

Joan Anderson

The Road Back to Yourself: The Second Journey."




"Your whole life can change in a second, and

you never even know when it's coming."

-from the movie Before and After, as quoted by Laurence Galian in The Sun At Midnight: The Revealed Mysteries of the Ahlul Bayt Sufis



"Finding my voice was like finding my life."

-Luther brown



"The message in all of this is actually very simple: You are alive in the moment whether you like it or not; if you resist life you will be miserable and weak; if you surrender willingly to the challenge of life you will be happy and free....."

Jim Leonard & Phil Laut

rebirthing: The Science of enjoying All of your Life




"Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love and to work and to play and to look up at the stars."

-Henry Van Dyke


"It is b wetter by a noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate, than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what may happen."



"What men want is not talent, it is purpose; in other words, not the power to achieve, but will to labor. i believe that labor judiciously and continuously applied becomes genius."

-Edward Bulwer-Lytton





"Live dangerously. Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius."

-Friedrich Nietzsche




"Do I profess to know the answers to all those questions now? No. No man has ever been able to explain the mystery of life. We are surrounded by mysteries. the operation of your body is a profound mystery. so is the electricity in your home. so is the flower in the crannied wall. So is the green grass outside your window."

-Dale Carnegie




"Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need at every moment.

This includes every mosquito, every misfortune, every red light, every

traffic jam, every obnoxious supervisor (or employee), every

illness, every loss, every moment of joy or depression, every

addiction, every piece of garbage, every breath."

-Charlotte Joko Beck




"So to yield to life is to solve the unsolvable."

-Lao Tzu



"Life is a warfare and a stranger's sojourn, and after-fame is oblivion."

-Marcus Aurelius Antonius   Roman Emperor & Philosopher



"How much trouble he avoids who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks."

-Marcus Aurelius Antonius



   "But may not one take offense at the results of an investigation which concede to the accidents of parental constellation so decisive an influence on the fate of a person, which, for example, subordinates Leonardo's fate to his illegitimate birth and to the sterility of his first stepmother, Donna Albiera? I believe that one has no right to feel so; if one considers accident as unworthy of determining our fate, one only relapses to the pious philosophy of life, the overcoming of which Leonardo himself prepared when he put down in writing that the the sun does not move. We are naturally grieved over the fact that a just God and a kindly providence do not guard us better against such influences in our most defenseless age. We thereby easily forget that, as a matter of fact, everything in our life is accident, from our very origin through the meeting of the spermatozzon and ovum, an accident, which nevertheless participates in the lawfulness and fatalities of nature, lacking only the connection to our wises and illusions. The division of life's determinants into the "fatalities" of our constitution and the "accidents" of our childhood may still be indefinite in individual cases, but taken altogether one can no longer entertain any doubt about the precise importance of our first years of childhood. We all still show too little respect for nature, which, in Leonardo's deep words recalling Hamlet's speech, "is full of infinite reasons which never appeared in experience." Every one of us human beings corresponds to one of the infinite experiments in which these "reasons of nature" force themselves into experience."

-Sigmund Freud...Leonardo Da Vinci: A Study in Psychosexuality





Book: "the Future of Life" by Edward O. Wilson

Book: "A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted" by Will Bowen

Book: " Man, Nature and God: A Quest for Life's meaning" by F.S.C. Northrop

Book: "Life: Selected Quotations" by Paulo Coelho

Book: "How to Live: A Search for Wisdom from Old People" by Henry Alford

Book: "Telling Yourself the Truth" by William Backus & Marie Chapman

Book: "Life's Solution" by Simon Canway Morris

Book: "The Art of Living" by Epictetus  a New Interpretation by Sharon Lebell

Book: "How Should One Live? ed by Roger Crisp

Book: "The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault" by Alexander Nehamas

Book: "The Game of Life: How to Succeed in Real Life no Matter Where You Land" by Lou Harry

Book: "The Act Itself" by Jonathan Bennett

Book: "Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy" by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Book: "Life Evolving: Molecules, Mind, and Meaning" by Christian de Duve

Book: "The Spiritual Laws of Life" by Harold Klemp

Book: "A Life of One's Own" by Joanna Field*

Book: "What Life Should Mean to You" by Alfred Adler

Book: "Understanding Human Nature" by Alfred Adler

Book: "What Is Life? Investigating the Nature of Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology" by Ed Regis

� 2010



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