Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Quote File: Happiness

I've collected quotations in a file here at work for going on three years now, gathered from The Writer's Almanac and A.Word.A.Day and other people's .sig files and sundry other sources. I love quotations because they offer such perfect little glimpses of beauty or personality or insight -- they're the one-liners of truth -- and I often think of them or use them when I'm writing or talking about things that matter, for why request of an author "Use fewer words, please" when I can quote Michaelangelo: "Beauty is the purgation of superfluities"? Anyway, there's so much great stuff in my quote file that I thought I'd share it with y'all and post some quotations by theme. This week's theme is "happiness," which also ends up being "life" and "work," interestingly enough. Enjoy!

  • "The main thing that separates happy people from other people is the feeling that you're a practical item, with a use, like a sweater or a socket wrench." – Barbara Kingsolver
  • "Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for." – Joseph Addison
  • "It is the experience of living that is important, not searching for meaning. We bring meaning by how we love the world." – Bernie S. Siegal
  • "I prayed for this: a modest swatch of land where I could garden, an ever-flowing spring
    close by, and a small patch of woods above the house. The gods gave all I asked and more.
    I pray for nothing more, but that these blessings last my life's full term." – Horace
  • “Reading and sauntering and lounging and dozing, which I call thinking, is my supreme happiness." – David Hume
  • "There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval." – George Santayana
  • "The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose." – William Cowper
  • “To live exhilaratingly in and for the moment is deadly serious work, fun of the most exhausting sort." – Barbara Harrison
  • "All suffering is caused by being in the wrong place. If you're unhappy where you are, MOVE." – Timothy Leary
  • "If only I could manage, without annoyance to my family, to get imprisoned for 10 years, without hard labour, and with the use of books and writing materials, it would be simply delightful!" – Lewis Carroll
  • "If you work at that which is before you, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract you, but keeping your divine part pure, as if you might be bound to give it back immediately; if you hold to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with your present activity according to will be happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this." – Marcus Aurelius
  • "It is something--it can be everything--to have found a fellow bird with whom you can sit among the rafters while the drinking and boasting and reciting and fighting go on below." – Wallace Stegner
  • "One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, speak a few reasonable words." – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • "I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice-cream." – Heywood Campbell Broun