Tim Kreider on Art

© Stephen McAteer

“I’ve tried to solve this problem by keeping my own artistic endeavors low in overhead, devoid of collaborators and as free from editorial interference as possible.”

~ Tim Kreider / NYT

Steve Gambardella on Schopenhauer

“According to Schopenhauer, the “will to life” — a manifestation of “the will” in living things — is what causes the desire to stay alive and procreate. But the pessimistic older philosopher believed the will to life caused nothing but anguish since it was the source of insatiable desires. Schopenhauer reasoned that the best thing to do was renounce this will and to find peace instead in art and compassion.”

~ Steve Gambardella / Medium

Sir Anthony Kenny on Virtue

“I comforted myself with the thought,” he said, “that even Socrates was very doubtful whether virtue could be taught.”

~ Sir Anthony Kenny

Oliver Burkeman on Life

I think virtually everyone, except perhaps the very Zen or very old, goes through life haunted to some degree by the feeling that this isn’t quite the real thing, not just yet – that soon enough, we’ll get everything in working order, get organised, get our personal issues resolved, but that till then we’re living what the great Swiss psychologist Marie-Louise von Franz called the “provisional life.”

~ Oliver Burkeman

Epicurus on Fear

“The fool’s life is empty of gratitude and full of fears; its course lies wholly toward the future.”

~ Epicurus

Julian Baggini on Living

“If we pretend or imagine that life’s purpose lies outside living itself, we will be searching the stars for what is underneath our feet all the time.”

~ Julian Baggini / Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

Julian Baggini on Immortality

“Our desire to preserve is a form of denial about our own mortality. The fact that art can endure longer than people has led some to seek a form of proxy-immortality through it. If we accept that art is mortal too, and that nothing is truly permanent, maybe we can see more clearly where the value of art and life is to be found – in experiencing them.”

~ Julian Baggini / The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten: 100 Experiments for the Armchair Philosopher

David Letterman on Doing Good Work

You were innovating out of necessity?

I never knew if the stupider things we did or the more traditional things we did would work. I didn’t know if the stupid stuff would alienate people. I didn’t know if the traditional stuff would be more appealing. And then, when I look back on it now, of course the answer is, you want to do the weird thing.

David Letterman / NYT

Julian Baggini on Wrongdoing

“Judas sees he has done wrong and condemns himself…The price of ‘sin’ is not that you will be sent to hell by a divine judge or that karmic forces will ensure you’re paid back. The price of being bad is that you have to live with being the person who did wrong”

~ Julian Baggini / The Godless Gospel

Samuel Beckett on Quietism

I found quantities of phrases like qui melius scit pati, majorem tenebit pacem [he who knows how to suffer well shall find the most peace], or Nolle consolari ab aliqua creatura magnae puritatis signum est [to refuse comfort from any creature is a sign of great faith], or the lovely per viam pacis, ad patriam perpetuae claritatis [by the way of peace to the country of everlasting clearness] that seemed to be made for me and which I have never forgotten.

Samuel Beckett / Courtesy Aeon

Paul Theroux on Comfort

At my age – which is way past retirement – if you haven’t found a person and a place you love, a house that suits you, an ideal bed, a perfect armchair, the books you value, a bit of garden, and something like comfort – you have my sympathy.

~ Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux on Blogging

You could say blog-like, but I think “blog-like” is a disparaging term. I loathe blogs when I look at them. Blogs look to me illiterate, they look hasty, like someone babbling. To me writing is a considered act. It’s something which is a great labor of thought and consideration. A blog doesn’t seem to have any literary merit at all. It’s a chatty account of things that have happened to that particular person.

~ Paul Theroux / The Atlantic

Jim Harrison on Ruts

The interesting thing about being in a rut is that the only thing you see are the sides of the rut. You don’t see out.

~ Conversations with Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison on Infirmities

Our cures are interesting. Our infirmities aren’t. Everyone knows about infirmities.

~ Conversations with Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison on Therapists

…the trouble is, as many will admit, only one therapist out of a thousand is any good.

~ Conversations with Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison on Writing and Money

“I averaged twelve grand a year for ten years, and then I got a little more, up to thirty-five grand,” Harrison said.

~ Conversations with Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison on Writers

Writers, I think, are sometimes productive to the extent that they remain sort of childlike about certain things. They stay operative for that reason.

~ Conversations with Jim Harrison

Viktor Frankl on Decisions

“…in the final analysis, it becomes clear that the sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision, and not the result of camp influences alone.”

~ Viktor Frankl / Psychology Today