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.”
“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
And yet, life is incredibly banal.
“It’s a struggle — life’s a struggle.”
Richard Ashcroft / Glastonbury 2008
“I don’t mind what happens.”
“People are shown so many treats, and urged as to what to buy and what to wear and where to travel to, all of which pumps up a spurious notion of the perfect life.”
~ John le Carré / Guardian
“When I was nineteen,
I told a thirty-
year-old man what a
fool I had been when
I was seventeen.
‘We were always,’ he
said glancing down, ‘a
fool two years ago.”
~ Donald Hall
In Hamlet, Shakespeare tells us, we don’t know enough about life to know what the good news is and the bad news is…
~ Kurt Vonnegut / YouTube
The key to eternal happiness is low overhead and no debt.
~ Lynda Barry / Courtesy Austin Kleon
If you act a certain way, and talk a certain way, you’re going to draw certain forces to you. If you are sloppy about your life, a certain sloppy reaction will result. If you’re skillful about certain things, a certain careful reaction will come to you. You get an opposite and equal reaction, as it were.
~ Frank Gehry / Interview
I mean, people are always fighting reality until it’s pushed down their throats. It’s amazing.
~ Agnes Denes / Interview
I guess through persistence or endurance one might stumble upon a solution or an attitude that might be useful.
~ Jasper Johns / Interview
HOPKINS: You’ll find, as you get older, that you just want to weep.
HOPKINS: Yes. It’s not even about grief. It’s about the glory of life.
~ Anthony Hopkins / Interview
HOPKINS: I once asked a Jesuit priest, “What is the shortest prayer in the world?” He said,“Fuck it.” It’s the prayer of release. Just say, “Fuck it.” None of it is important. The important thing is to enjoy life as it is. Your life today, it’s fantastic.
~ Anthony Hopkins / Interview
I’m at a stage where I know I’ve got more behind me than ahead of me. I have no time for worrying. You’ve got to get up and do things.
~ Chuck D. / Guardian, 31st October 2020
A life can be good in Epicurean terms, even if it does not involve achievements validated and rewarded by mainstream society, or great sacrifices and struggles against worldly temptations.
The Pleasure Principle: Epicureanism: A Philosophy for Modern Living (p. 250). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Both excessive ambition and excessive self-sacrifice, [The Epicurean] believes, distort human life. We should neither strive for pre-eminence nor be driven into or choose slavish self-abnegation.
The Pleasure Principle: Epicureanism: A Philosophy for Modern Living (pp. 248-249). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.
At some point you’ll realize, what they think, doesn’t matter.. Enjoy YOUR life, no matter what.
~ Ice T / Twitter
We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
~ Charles Bukowski
“You have to live your life if you’re going to do original work. Your work will come out of an authentic life …”
~ Louise Glück
We each have our own pains and wounds, which in my opinion are proof that we are still alive.
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.
“Philosophy calls for simple living, not for doing penance, and the simple way of life need not be a crude one.”
‘I don’t think anything might have been. What is, is.’
~ Edward Gorey
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
“… and the central American fantasy that says we have to do something extraordinary to lead a meaningful life.”
~ Tabitha Soren / Fantasy Life
“Enjoy every sandwich”.
~ Warren Zevon / Late Night With David Letterman
- Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.
- Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
- Never spend your money before you have it.
- Never buy what you do not want, because it is cheap; it will be dear to you.
- Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
- We never repent of having eaten too little.
- Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
- How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!
- Take things always by their smooth handle.
- When angry, count ten, before you speak; if very angry, an hundred.
“Your life is what your thoughts make it.”
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different…”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
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
“The only real things in life are food and love in that order.”
~ David Hockney