Seneca (c. 4 BC – AD 65)
You are living as if destined to live for ever; your own frailty never occurs to you; you don’t notice how much time has already passed, but squander it as though you had a full and overflowing supply – though all the while that very day which you are devoting to somebody or something may be your last. You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire… How late it is to begin really to live just when life must end! How stupid to forget our mortality, and put off sensible plans to our fiftieth and sixtieth years, aiming to begin life from a point at which few have arrived!
Thomas Stoppard (July 03, 1937 -)
The Renaissance teaches us that the book of knowledge is not to be learned by rote but is to be written anew in the ecstasy of living each moment for the moment’s sake. Success in life is to maintain this ecstasy, to burn always with this hard gemlike flame. Failure is to form habits. To burn with a gemlike flame is to capture the awareness of each moment; and for that moment only. To form habits is to absent from those moments.
John Cheever (May 27, 1912 – June 18, 1982)
But I awoke at three, feeling terribly sad, and feeling rebelliously that I didn’t want to study sadness, madness, melancholy, and despair. I wanted to study triumphs, the rediscoveries of love, all that I know in the world to be decent, radiant, and clear.
Arthur Koestler (September 05, 1905 – March 01, 1983)
Everybody has a given amount of calories to burn up — you either burn them up by living or by creating. You can’t burn the same calories both ways. You make poetry out of your unhappiness, and you might argue that you can also make poetry out of your happiness. But, why should you make poetry when you are happy instead of living it out? Creativity is a secondary expression. The primary expression is living.
Georgia O’Keeffe (November 15, 1887 – March 06, 1986)
I decided to start anew — to strip what I had been taught, to accept as true my own thinking. This was one of the best times of my life. I was alone and singularly free working on my own, unknown — no one to satisfy but myself.
Henry David Thoreau (July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862)
…I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and to see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not when I come to die discover that I had not lived.
…I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time to that one.
…I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
…In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.
David Joseph Bohm (December 20, 1917 – October 27, 1992)
If we are to live in harmony with ourselves and with nature, we need to be able to communicate freely in a creative movement in which no one permanently holds to or otherwise defends his own ideas.