Life and Death
"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work...I want to achieve it through not dying."
"Life is the apprenticeship to progressive renunciation, to the steady diminuation of our claims, of our hopes, of our powers, of our liberty."
"Death is beautiful. It alone gives love its true habitat."
Jean Anouilh, Eurydice
"The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another, and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it."
J.M. Barrie, Golden Book
"One should try everything once, except incest and folk-dancing."
"They give birth astride a grave, the light gleams an instant then it's night once more."
Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot
"If it was raining soup, we'd be out with forks."
"Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we shall die."
Bible, Isaiah 22:13
"There is no time for hatred, only questions: What is love? Where is happiness? What is life? Where is peace?"
Jeff Buckley, Eternal Life
"Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on."
"In a universe suddenly divested of illusion and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land."
Albert Camus, Thanks Rosie / Manics
"For the unhappy man death is the commutation of a sentence of life imprisonment."
"I remember my youth and the feeling that will never come back any more - the feeling that I could last for ever, outlast the sea, the earth, and all men; the deceitful feeling that lures us on to joys, to perils, to love, to vain effort - to death; the triumphant conviction of strength, the heat of life in the handful of dust, the glow in the heart that with every year grows dim, grows cold, grows small, and expires, too soon, too soon - before life itself."
Joseph Conrad, Youth
"My mind then wandered. I thought of this: I thought how every day each of us experiences a few moments that have just a bit more resonance that other moments - we hear a word that sticks in our mind - or maybe we have a small experience that pulls us out of ourselves, if only briefly - we share a hotel elevator with a bride in her veils, say, or a stranger gives us a piece of bread to feed to the mallard ducks in the lagoon; a small child starts a conversation with us in a Dairy Queen - or we have an episode like the one that I had with the M & M cars back at the husky station.
And if we were to collect these small moments in a notebook and save them over a period of months we would see certain trends emerge that have been trying to speak through us. We would realize that we have been having another life altogether, one we didn't even know was going on inside us. And maybe this other life is more important than the one we think of as being real - this clumsy day-to-day world of furniture and noise and metal. So just maybe it is these small silent moments which are the true story-making events of our lives."
Douglas Coupland, Life After God
"The past isn't real. It's just a dream."
Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho
"Getting out of bed in the morning is an act of false confidence."
"Most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence."
E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
"We're alive, you know, but we live this only once. We open our arms and declare that we exist, but then we are swept aside and trust into the depths of history."
Jostein Gaarder, The Solitaire Mystery
"If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error."
"There is always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in."
"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way."
Walter C. Hagen
"You need as much ballast as possible to stop you floating away; you need people around you, things going on, otherwise life is like some film where the money ran out, and there are no sets, or locations, or supporting actors, and it's just one bloke on his own staring into the camera with nothing to do and nobody to speak to, and who'd believe in this character then? I've got to get more stuff, more clutter, more detail in here, because at the moment I'm in danger of falling off the edge."
Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
"Some men are alive simply because it is against the law to kill them."
"Look round this universe. What an immense profusion of beings, animated and organised, sensible and active! You admire this prodigious variety and fecundity. But inspect a little more narrowly these living existences, the only beings worth regarding. How hostile and destructive to each other! How insufficient all of them for their own happiness! How contemptible or odious to the spectator! The whole represents nothing but the idea of a blind nature, impregnated by a great vivifying principle, and pouring forth from her lap, without discernment or parental care, her maimed and abortive children."
David Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion
"My only fear is that I may live too long. This would be a subject of dread to me."
Thomas Jefferson, Letter, March 1801
"When making you choice in life, do not neglect to live."
"A man who has nothing can whistle in a robbers face."
"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."
S÷ren Kierkegaard, Life
"I submit to you that if a man hasn't discovered something he will die for he isn't fit to live."
Martin Luther King, Speech
"Life is what happens to you when you're busy making other plans."
"Life's a long headache in a noisy street."
John Masefield, The Widow in the Bye Street
"She said that was all there was in this world, people who let you down."
Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy
"Whom the gods love dies young."
Menander, Dis Exapaton
"The basic fact about human existence is not that it is a tragedy, but that it is a bore."
"It is not true that life is one damned thing after another - it's one damn thing over and over."
Edna St. Vincent Millay
"The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness."
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory
"The whole human way of life has been destroyed and ruined. All that's left is the bare, shivering human soul, stripped to the last shred, the naked force of the human psyche for which nothing has changed because it was always cold and shivering and reaching out to its nearest neighbour, as cold and lonely as itself."
Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago
"Man is born to live, not to prepare for life."
Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago
"'I meant,' said Ipslore bitterly, "what is there in this world that truly makes living worthwhile?' Death thought about it 'Cats,' he said eventually, 'Cats are nice.'"
Terry Pratchett, Sourcery
"One of these days in your travels a guy is going to come up to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in you ear. But son, do not bet this man, for sure as you stand there, you are going to wind up with an earful of cider."
"Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind."
Bertrand Russell, Autobiography
"Life is not a spectacle or feast; it is a predicament."
George Santayana, Articles and Essays
"Don't be misled into believing that somehow the world owes you a living. The boy who believes that his parents or the government, or anyone else owes him his livelihood and that he can collect it without labour will wake up one day and find himself working for another boy who did not have that belief and, therefore, earned the right to have others work for him."
"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, That struts and frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more; it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
William Shakespeare, Macbeth
"Not to be born is best. The second best is to have seen the light and then to back quickly whence we came."
"Life is a gamble at terrible odds - if it was a bet, you wouldn't take it."
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
"Death is fortunate for the child, bitter to the youth, too late for the old."
Publilius Syrus, Sententioe
"God created man and, finding him not sufficiently alone, gave him a companion to make him feel his solitude more keenly."
Paul ValÚry, Tel Quel 1
"We'll smile, but only for seconds - for to be caught smiling is to acknowledge life - A brave but useless show of compassion, and that is forbidden in this drab and colourless world."
Paul Weller, Wasteland Thanks Ross
"You are eight years old. It is Sunday evening. You have been granted an extra hour before bed. The family is playing Monopoly. You have been told that you are big enough to join them. You lose. You are losing continuously. Your stomach cramps with fear. Nearly all of your possessions are gone. Your brothers are snatching all of the houses from your streets. The last street is being sold. You have to give in. You have lost. And suddenly you know that it is only a game. You jump up with joy and you knock the big lamp over. It falls on the floor and drags the teapot with it. The others are angry with you, but you laugh and go upstairs. You know you are nothing and you know you have nothing. And you know that not-to-be and not-to-have give immeasurable freedom."
Janwillem Van De Wetering
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan
"We all live in a house on fire, no fire department to call; no way out, just the upstairs window to look out of while the fire burns the house down with us trapped, locked in it.
"You are not merely here to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand."