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Quotable

Ordered alphabetically by last name.

“One day humanity will play with law just as children play with disused objects, not to restore them to their canonical use, but to free them from it for good. What is found after the law is not a more proper and original use value that proceeds the law, but a new use that is born only after it. And use, which has been contaminated by law, must be freed from its own value. This liberation is the task of study, or of play. And this studious play is the passage that allows us to arrive at that justice that one of Benjamin’s posthumous fragments defines as a state of the world in which the world appears as a good that absolutely cannot be appropriated or made juridical” ― Giorgio Agamben

“I’m sick of hearing that true maturity is holding on to things loosely and being able to roll with the punches life throws your way. The people I look up to the most are the ones who didn’t move on when the door closed, but instead pounded on that thing until, with bloody hands and broken wrists, they wore it down and broke the hinges. I think we are taught to move on far too easily. Show me people who know when to fight and are willing to accept, and even embrace, the pain that comes with every setback. Show me people who don’t give up on dreams because of circumstances. These are the people I want to learn from.” ― Mitch Carter

“It is always easy to let the age have its head; the difficult thing is to keep one’s own.” ― G.K. Chesterton

“In life our first job is this, to divide and distinguish things into two categories: externals I cannot control, but the choices I make with regard to them I do control. Where will I find good and bad? In me, in my choices.” ― Epicteuts

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understand of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.” ― Epictetus

“There’s a myth that time is money. In fact, time is more precious than money. It’s a nonrenewable resource. Once you’ve spent it, and if you’ve spent it badly, it’s gone forever.” ― Neil A. Fiore

“Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation — the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true. Life was something you dominated if you were any good. Life yielded easily to intelligence and effort, or to what proportion could be mustered of both. It seemed a romantic business to be a successful literary man — you were not ever going to be as famous as a movie star but what note you had was probably longer-lived; you were never going to have the power of a man of strong political or religious convictions but you were certainly more independent. Of course within the practice of your trade you were forever unsatisfied — but I, for one, would not have chosen any other.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” ― Viktor Frankl

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” ― Viktor Frankl

“You don’t get explanations in real life. You just get moments that are absolutely, utterly, inexplicably odd.” ― Neil Gaiman

“A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” ― Arnold H. Glasow

“I can’t stand moral absolutism. You know, there’s always that guy who wants to point out that Martin Luther King cheated on his wife– as if he obviously couldn’t have been a great person if he did something like that. Or someone will bring out an inspirational quote, and get you to agree, and then inform you that Hitler said it. As if a good thought couldn’t come from Hitler. Moral absolutism keeps us from learning from the past. It’s easy to say: ‘Hitler was a demon. Nazis were all bad seeds.’ That’s simple. It’s much harder to say: ‘Is that humanity? Is that me?'” ― Random Guy from Humans of New York

“I spent so much of my time here at Dunder Mifflin thinking about my old pals, my college A cappella group. The weird thing is, now I’m exactly where I want to be — I got my dream job at Cornell — and I’m still just thinking about my old pals. Only now they’re the ones I made here. I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good ol’ days before you’ve actually left them. Someone should write a song about that.” ― Ed Helms (Andy Bernard) from The Office, S9E23 “Finale”

“Man is •a reasonable being, and as such he gets appropriate food and nourishment from the pursuit of knowledge; but so narrow are the limits of human understanding that we can’t hope for any great amount of knowledge or for much security in respect of what we do know. As well as being reasonable, man is •a sociable being; but he can’t always enjoy—indeed can’t always want—agreeable and amusing company. Man is also •an active being; and from that disposition of his, as well as from the various necessities of human life, he must put up with being busy at something; but the mind requires some relaxation, and can’t always devote itself to careful work. It seems, then, that nature has pointed out a mixed kind of life as most suitable for the human race, and has secretly warned us not to tilt too far in any of these directions and make ourselves incapable of other occupations and entertainments. ‘Indulge your passion for knowledge,’ says nature, ‘but seek knowledge of things that are human and directly relevant to action and society. As for abstruse thought and profound researches, I prohibit them, and if you engage in them I will severely punish you by the brooding melancholy they bring, by the endless uncertainty in which they involve you, and by the cold reception your announced discoveries will meet with when you publish them. Be a philosopher, but amidst all your philosophy be still a man.'” ― David Hume

“If you can’t do great things, do small things in a great way” ― Napoleon Hill

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards” ― Søren Kierkegaard

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

” No one in the world can change Truth. What we can do and and should do is to seek truth and to serve it when we have found it. The real conflict is the inner conflict. Beyond armies of occupation and the hetacombs of extermination camps, there are two irreconcilable enemies in the depth of every soul: good and evil, sin and love. And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?” ― Maximilian Kolbe

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” ― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“We think sometimes we’re only drawn to the good, but we’re actually drawn to the authentic. We like people who are real more than those who hide their true selves under layers of artificial niceties.” ― Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

“I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.” ― Martin Luther

“Yup, still no arrests. How come I wonder? ‘Cause there ain’t no God and the whole world’s empty, and it doesn’t matter what we do to each other? I hope not.” ― Mildred Hays in Three Billboard Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) by Martin McDonagh

“I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing
[…]
True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” ― Socrates

“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” ― Socrates

“No matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.” ― David Whyte

“What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places—and there are so many—where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”
― Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

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