I believe this thought, of the possibility of death — if calmly realised, and steadily faced would be one of the best possible tests as to our going to any scene of amusement being right or wrong. If the thought of sudden death acquires, for you, a special horror when imagined as happening in a theatre, then be very sure the theatre is harmful for you, however harmless it may be for others; and that you are incurring a deadly peril in going. Be sure the safest rule is that we should not dare to live in any scene in which we dare not die.
But, once realise what the true object is in life — that it is not pleasure, not knowledge, not even fame itself, ‘that last infirmity of noble minds’ — but that it is the development of character, the rising to a higher, nobler, purer standard, the building-up of the perfect Man — and then, so long as we feel that this is going on, and will (we trust) go on for evermore, death has for us no terror; it is not a shadow, but a light; not an end, but a beginning!
–Lewis Carroll, Preface, Sylvie and Bruno; courtesy of Wikiquote.
“But what can I do?” cried she, spreading out her arms helplessly. “I can not hew down trees, as my father used; and in all this end of the king’s domain there is nothing else to be done. For there are so many shepherds that no more are needed, and so many tillers of the soil that no more can find employment. Ah, I have tried; hut no one wants a weak girl like me.”
“Why don’t you become a witch?” asked the man.
“Me!” gasped Mary-Marie, amazed. “A witch!”
“Why not?” he inquired, as if surprised.
“Well,” said the girl, laughing. “I’m not old enough. Witches, you know, are withered dried-up old hags.”
“Oh, not at all!” returned the stranger.
“And they sell their souls to Satan, in return for a knowledge of witchcraft,” continued Mary-Marie more seriously.
“Stuff and nonsense!” cried the stranger angrily.
“And all the enjoyment they get in life is riding broomsticks through the air on dark nights,” declared the girl.
“Well, well, well!” said the old man in an astonished tone. “One might think you knew all about witches, to hear you chatter. But your words prove you to be very ignorant of the subject. You may find good people and bad people in the world; and so, I suppose, you may find good witches and bad witches. But I must confess most of the witches I have known were very respectable, indeed, and famous for their kind actions.”
“Oh. I’d like to be that kind of witch!” said Mary-Marie, clasping her hands earnestly.
–L. Frank Baum, “The Witchcraft of Mary-Marie”, in Baum’s American Fairy Tales (1908); courtesy of Wikiquote.
But how many merry monthes be in the yeere?
There are thirteen, I say;
The midsummer moone is the merryest of all,
Next to the merry month of May.
–“Robin Hood and the Curtal Friar”; courtesy of Wikiquote.
You man with a human body but a demon’s face,
Listen to me. Listen to the song of Milarepa!
Men say the human body is most precious, like a gem;
There is nothing that is precious about you.
You sinful man with a demon’s look,
Though you desire the pleasures of this life,
Because of your sins, you will never gain them.
But if you renounce desires within,
You will win the Great Accomplishment.
It is difficult to conquer oneself
While vanquishing the outer world;
Conquer now your own Self-mind.
To slay this deer will never please you,
But if you kill the Five Poisons within,
All your wishes will be fulfilled.
–Milarepa, “Song to the Hunter” as translated in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: The Life-Story and Teaching of the Greatest Poet-Saint Ever to Appear in the History of Buddhism (1999) edited by Garma C. C. Chang; courtesy of Wikiquote
But if any excursive brain rove over the images of forepassed times, and wonder that Thou the God Almighty and All-creating and All-supporting, Maker of heaven and earth, didst for innumerable ages forbear from so great a work, before Thou Wouldest make it; let him awake and consider, that he wonders at false conceits. For whence could innumerable ages pass by, which Thou madest not, Thou the Author and Creator of all ages? or what times should there be, which were not made by Thee? or how should they pass by, if they never were? Seeing then Thou art the Creator of all times, if any time was before Thou madest heaven and earth, why say they that Thou didst forego working? For that very time didst Thou make, nor could times pass by, before Thou madest those times. But if before heaven and earth there was no time, why is it demanded, what Thou then didst? For there was no “then,” when there was no time.
–Augustine of Hippo, Confessions Eleventh Book, XIII (370-400 AD) The Confessions of S. Augustine (1840) Tr. Edward Bouverie Pusey, pp. 233-234. courtesy of Wikiquote
We don’t have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.
–Douglas Adams, speech at The University of California, videoed by UCTV (May 2001); courtesy of Wikiquote.
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
–Erma Bombeck, as quoted in 50 Ways to Stand Up for America : Put the Spirit of July 4th Into Everyday Life (2002) by W. B. Freeman; courtesy of Wikiquote.
The most powerful prayer, one wellnigh omnipotent, and the worthiest work of all is the outcome of a quiet mind. The quieter it is the more powerful, the worthier, the deeper, the more telling and more perfect the prayer is. To the quiet mind all things are possible. What is a quiet mind? A quiet mind is one which nothing weighs on, nothing worries, which, free from ties and from all self-seeking, is wholly merged into the will of God and dead to its own.
–Meister Eckhart, as translated in A Dazzling Darkness: An Anthology of Western Mysticism (1985) by Patrick Grant; courtesy of Wikiquote
Cartesian, adj. Relating to Descartes, a famous philosopher, author of the celebrated dictum, Cogito ergo sum — whereby he was pleased to suppose he demonstrated the reality of human existence. The dictum might be improved, however, thus: Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum — “I think that I think, therefore I think that I am;” as close an approach to certainty as any philosopher has yet made.
–Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary; courtesy of Wikiqutoe.
Musical training is a more potent instrument than any other, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul; on which they mightily fasten, imparting grace, and making the soul of him who is rightly educated graceful, or of him who is ill-educated ungraceful.
–Plato, The Republic, Book 3; courtesy of Wikiquote.