I love a good quote — contemporary, ancient, witty, or solemn etc. I especially love philosophical thought. Combine the two, mmm mmm mmm. It’s like chocolate to me…smooth…creamy…delectable…and I want more.
I collect quotes as I collect other words. Every so often someone says something that is so precise and germane to the moment in which it was uttered that it makes me stop in my tracks and absorb it like sunshine. I’ve been keeping favorites for years – a habit begun in 6th grade, of all places, and it all started with this one by Max Ehrmann. I found it laying on the ground as I walked home from school and thinking on it now I’m able to recall the paper was blue. Imagine the power this little declaration held to a twelve year old standing on the cusp of womanhood and whose childhood just wasn’t making sense anymore. Powerful enough for the woman she became to remember it was blue all these decades later.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Max Ehrmann’s ~Desiderata
Max pointed out the fact I was indeed a part of something larger than I realized. When we’re young, children tend to believe they’re the center of the universe but we”re not. We’re something far more wondrous (I reference the third quote from the end of this musing). The words, typed on a typewriter with such firm keystrokes they made braille of several letters on the blue paper, spoke to me. They said, you have a right to be here, and made me believe.
For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible.
~ The Talmud
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
~ Lao Tzu
We are constantly invited to be who we are.
These quotes come from my wanderings, my travels, education, and my assorted experiences. They appear when I need them. Need them? Yes, there are times when we need someone else to paraphrase for us. Sometimes the thoughts are too fragmented, the emotion to vague, the words too few. Sometimes another’s words just do your own thoughts justice, and sometimes they inspire new thought. Occasionally I’ll discard one, its meaning no longer pertinent or evocative. They come and go, and change as my mind matures. Some I keep because they create the craziest images in my active imagination.
And thus I clothe my naked villainy with old odd ends stolen forth of holy writ. And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
~ William Shakespeare’s King Richard III
By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.
~ William Shakespeare’s Macbeth
I love Shakespeare. I had the privilege of having an honors English class my freshman year in high school. The teacher, compelled by the spelling of my last name, sat me right next to the model of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater and the stack of corresponding books I could read if I finished my work before the bell rang. Good times. 🙂 Out damned spot!
If a few words can have such great impact as to be remembered and referenced, then how cool is that? And the words penned ages ago carry just as much power, just as much emotion today as they did when they were crafted. The well-phrased quotable comment has staying power. Time’s most memorable words have a way of seeping into your marrow.
There’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
~ Franklin D. Roosevelt
One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
~ Neil Armstrong
Oh yes, our modes of transport, our advances in medicine and machines of war may change, but the human condition remains the same. It dates back to the first attempts by humans to understand themselves and their place in the universe.
Wisdom is knowing how little we know.
The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
~ Leonardo da Vinci
I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time.
~ Walt Whitman
Funny thing about Walt Whitman, his writings were notable for their delight in, and praise of, the senses. You get a better feel for what what I mean by reading Leaves of Grass. I Sing the Body Electric was especially juicy for the time period it was written, and just so happened to come during a time when such candid thought was considered immoral. He’d get a kick out of my books. 🙂
These snippets of philosophical thought are essentially hours of condensed reflection and observation. How wonderful of these wordsmiths to share the insights they’ve been granted. We don’t need to sit on the steps of higher learning with Socrates and Plato. There’s no need to check out a scroll at the Library of Alexandria. Nor do we need to sit under a tree and have enlightenment come to us as we hunger and thirst. These minds, from fishmonger to philosopher have encapsulated their great thoughts for us with a few well chosen words.
Since everything is a reflection of our minds, everything can be changed by our minds.
Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of bodies of the world.
~ Gnostic Gospels, the Pistis Sophia
The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others – existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things.
~ Honore Balzac
And so the Mind created harmony and life existed in the shimmering concerto of the Cosmos. But it was not enough for the Mind, for a mind once expanded never returns to its previous state. So the Mind allowed life to see and self- awareness rose out of the consciousness and walked the many earths and flew the many skies of the Cosmos.
🙂 I don’t know if any bit of brilliance my brain produces will ever hit an emotional chord but who knows. I get an occasional flash every now and again that I’m sure has nothing to do with hormones. I’ll end with these two:
The future is so bright it burns my eyes.
Beware of the man of one book.
-~ St. Thomas Aquinas