Seneca on Injuries

“He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee. If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself.”

~ Seneca

Pascal on Morality

“Let us strive to think well. That is the principle of morality.”

~ Blaise Pascal

Hunter Thompson on Work

“I tend to work only as hard as I think I have to work.”

~ Hunter Thompson

Jorge Luis Borges on Art

The task of the artist is to transform what is continuously happening to us… into symbols, into music, into something which can last in man’s memory. That is our duty. If we don’t fulfill it, we feel unhappy.

Jorge Luis Borges 

Seneca on Penance

“Philosophy calls for simple living, not for doing penance, and the simple way of life need not be a crude one.”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Misfortune

“No man is crushed by misfortune unless he has first been deceived by prosperity”

~ Seneca

Seneca on Anger

“We cease to be so angry once we cease to be so hopeful.”

~ Seneca

Margaret Atwood on Power

“It is just fun for a lot of people to demolish other people and it always has been, across the board. People like doing it. If you’re really going to put yourself in the box marked ‘virtuous’, you’ve got to ask yourself whether you’re actually being virtuous, or whether you’re being sadistic. Be aware of how you’re using your power.”

~ Margaret Atwood

Stephen King on Money

The money isn’t very important. The idea is to take care of your family and have enough left over to buy books and go to the movies once a week. As a goal in life, ‘getting rich’ strikes me as fairly ludicrous. The goal is to do what God made you for and not hurt anyone if you can help it.

~ Stephen King / NYT, August 13, 2000

Steve H. Graham on Due Process

The distinguishing mark of a lynch mob is a willingness to punish without due process, proof of guilt, or legal authority.

~ Steve H. Graham

Mister Rogers on People

Mister Rogers, he of the neighborhood, always said that the worst type of human beings were the ones who made you feel “less than.”

~ Maureen Dowd / NYT, August 22, 2020

Edward Gorey on Fate

‘I don’t think anything might have been. What is, is.’

~ Edward Gorey

Mary Wollstonecraft on Evil

“No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.”

~ Mary Wollstonecraft

D.B.C. Pierre on Mistakes

My life is built from second chances; I wouldn’t be speaking to you but for having been forgiven and helped off the floor and back on my feet. I believe that’s the correct way, [but] that’s being thrown out very quickly. You can be shut down from life on the basis of one mistake.

~ D.B.C. Pierre / Guardian

Steve H. Graham on Lies

Lying is quick and easy… Refuting lies is a big, big job.

~ Steve H. Graham

Seneca on Fortune

“That which Fortune has not given, she cannot take away.”

~ Seneca / Letters to Lucilius 59

Viktor Frankl on Success

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater.” 

~ Viktor Frankl

Elliott Erwitt on Seeing

“Good photography is not about Zone Printing or any other Ansel Adams nonsense. It’s just about seeing. You either see or you don’t see. The rest is academic. Photography is simply a function of noticing things. Nothing more.”

~ Elliott Erwitt / Courtesy of Mark Hobson

Robert Frank on Belief

“You follow your way. I found this to be very important, that you stick to something that you believe in and not make compromises. Whatever you believe in, if you believe in it, it will be okay. You can do it. It doesn’t mean that you will be successful at it, but at least you believed in it to do it,”

~ Robert Frank

Mike Baker on Guilt

“…you know I’m one of those, I’m kind of a — I don’t want to say I’m a puritan but I’m one of those Quaker people who feels guilty about everything, right? I feel like if I took a pencil when I was a three year-old, you know, my God, I’m gonna, I gotta confess it.”

~ Mike Baker / Joe Rogan Experience #1519,  August 04 2020

Plato on Desire

I feel as if I had escaped from a frantic and savage master. Unquestionably old age brings us profound repose and freedom from this and other passions.

~ Plato

Matthew Arnold on Failure

It is a sad thing to see a man who has been frittered away piecemeal by petty distractions, and who has never done his best. But it is still sadder to see a man who has done his best, who has reached his utmost limits – and finds his work a failure, and himself far less than he had imagined himself.

~ Matthew Arnold (Courtesy of Mike Chisholm)

Mike Chisholm on Ambition

Yes, we might have entertained fantasies about alternative lives as writers or musicians or artists, but failure – an almost certain outcome, in retrospect – would have been catastrophic, and to have taken that risk would have been the sort of folly only the exceptionally brave (or irredeemably strange) can contemplate: working-class families have no safety nets to cushion the fall of their crash-and-burn casualties.

~ Mike Chisholm / Idiotic Hat

Regis Philbin on Defeat

Coach Frank Leahy, who was a great motivator, told us that day: Learn how to accept defeat in football and in your own life, because it will come.

~ Regis Philbin / Esquire, January 2005

Garry Shandling on Decency

Nice guys finish first. If you don’t know that, then you don’t know where the finish line is.

~ Garry Shandling / Esquire, January 2007

Rip Torn on Self-Respect

Never think you’re better than anyone else, but don’t let anyone treat you like you’re worse than they are.

~ Rip Torn / Esquire, May 2001

Oliver Stone on Struggle

“…the patterns of struggle and failure in life tend to repeat themselves.”

~ Oliver Stone

Stone, Oliver. Chasing The Light: How I Fought My Way into Hollywood – From the 1960s to Platoon (p. 73). Octopus. Kindle Edition.

Seneca on Suffering

“Two elements must therefore be rooted out once for all — the fear of future suffering, and the recollection of past suffering; since the latter no longer concerns me, and the former concerns me not yet.”
(Letters to Lucilius, LXXVIII.14)

~ Seneca

Seneca on Revenge

“The most contemptuous form of revenge is not to deem one’s adversary worth taking vengeance upon.”

~ Seneca