Hannah Arendt on Doing Nothing

“I will admit that there are other people who are primarily interested in doing something. I am not. I can very well live without doing anything. But I cannot live without at least trying to understand whatever happens.”

~ Hannah Arendt, 1972

Leonardo da Vinci on Study

Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo on Simplicity

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

~ Leonardo da Vinci

Stephen Shore on Grief

SS Oh yes. Although when I look back at that period, I think it’s just in my nature to take the events of life and somehow plough ahead. The couple of years after my parents died are the most productive years I’ve had. I think that’s how I dealt with it. I couldn’t do anything about it. I was not going to rematerialise them.
AS But you didn’t go into a room and close yourself in, which is the poet route.
SS Exactly. The route I took was to get in the car and drive and spend all day taking pictures.

Stephen Shore & Alec Soth / Financial Times, 10th May 2019

William Blake on Desire

Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained.

~ William Blake

Friedrich Nietzsche on Life

“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different…”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Buddha on Vigilance

Well now, bhikkhus, my counsel is: experience is disappointing; through vigilance you succeed.

~ Buddha

Søren Kierkegaard on Truth

Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask?

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard on Interests

“It is perhaps the misfortune of my life that I am interested in far too much but not decisively in any one thing…”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Søren Kierkegaard on Walking

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

~ Søren Kierkegaard

Seneca on Leisure

“Leisure without study is death‚ a tomb for the living person.”

~ Seneca

Maggi Hambling on Duds

“In a way lockdown hasn’t remotely affected my routine,” she says. She gets up as normal at five, goes straight to the studio — “Stiffen the sinews, summon the blood” reads the sign on the door — and works until lunchtime, “often doing complete shit, but it’s only because you have done a lot of shit paintings that a good one will sort of produce itself”.

~ Maggi Hambling / Times, 09 May 2020

Van Dyke Parks on Civility

As soon as I found out I was entering an eat or be eaten situation… I was raised differently. I didn’t want to be part of that game.

~ Van Dyke Parks

Barbara Ehrenreich on Writing

I had discovered that writing–with whatever instrument–was a powerful aid to thinking, and thinking was what I now resolved to do.

~ Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich on Mortality

In fact, if you’re not prepared to die when you’re almost sixty, then I would say you’ve been falling down on your philosophical responsibilities as a grown-up human being.

~ Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich on Other People

To acknowledge the existence of other people is also to acknowledge that they are not reliable sources of safety or comfort.

~ Barbara Ehrenreich

Barbara Ehrenreich on Slavery

What you don’t necessarily realize when you start selling your time by the hour is that what you’re really selling is your life.

~ Barbara Ehrenreich

William Shakespeare on Flaws

No more be griev’d at that which thou hast done:
Roses have thorns, and silver fountains mud,
Clouds and eclipses stain both moon and sun,
And loathsome canker lives in sweetest bud.

~ William Shakespeare / Sonnet 35

Hannah Arendt on Dreams

“The point, as Marx saw it, is that dreams never come true.”

~ Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt on Writing

“Writing is an integral part of the process of understanding.”

~ Hannah Arendt

Bernard Cribbins on Kids

Yeah, it would have been lovely to have children. But it’s not a thing I dwell on. Why would you? It’s what you call life, isn’t it?

~ Bernard Cribbins

Hannah Arendt on Spectating

As citizens, we must prevent wrongdoing because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong sufferer and spectator, is at stake.

~ Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt on Collective Guilt

When all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.

~ Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt on Punishment

No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes.

~ Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt on Love

The common prejudice that love is as common as “romance” may be due to the fact that we all learned about it first through poetry. But the poets fool us; they are the only ones to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.

~ Hannah Arendt

Susan Sontag on Mercy

10 percent of any population is cruel, no matter what, and 10 percent is merciful, no matter what, and the remaining 80 percent can be moved in either direction.

~ Susan Sontag