Confucius on Wisdom

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Thoughts

“Your life is what your thoughts make it.”

~ Confucius

Confucius on Questions

“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life.”

~ Confucius

Marcus Aurelius on Attention

“The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.”

~ Marcus Aurelius

Epicurus on Contentment

“Any man who does not think that what he has is more than ample, is an unhappy man, even if he is the master of the whole world.”

~ Epicurus

Seneca on Misery

“A man is as miserable as he thinks he is.”

~ Seneca

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