You cannot have both civilization and truth.

Iris Murdoch

Every revolutionary ends by becoming either an oppressor or a heretic.

Albert Camus

I saw someone peeing in Jermyn Street the other day. I thought, is this the end of civilization as we know it? Or is it simply someone peeing in Jermyn Street?

Alan Bennett, The Old Country

A: Have you ever taken a serious political stand on anything?

B: Yes, for twenty-four hours I refused to eat grapes.

Woody Allen, Sleeper

Experience, which destroys innocence, also leads one back to it.

James Baldwin

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

Japanese proverb

We are changing, we have got to change, and we can no more help it than leaves can help going yellow and coming loose in autumn.

D.H. Lawrence

Have the courage to live. Anyone can die.

Robert Cody

The aim of an artist is not to solve a problem irrefutably, but to make people love life in all its countless, inexhaustible manifestations. If I were told that I could write a novel whereby I might irrefutably establish what seemed to me the correct point of view on all social problems, I would not even devote two hours to such a novel; but if I were to be told that what I should write would be read in about twenty years’ time by those who are now children and that they would laugh and cry over it and love life, I would devote all my own life and all my energies to it.

Leo Tolstoy

Paperwork, cleaning the house, answering the phone, keeping patience. To find some meaning in all that happens to us — these things are the works of peace.

Dorothy Day

Faith and philosophy are air, but events are brass.

Herman Melville

That Christianity is identical with democracy is the hardest of gospels; there is nothing that so strikes men with fear as the saying that they are all the sons of God.

G.K. Chesterton

The problem is that ego can convert anything to its own use, even spirituality. Ego is constantly attempting to acquire and apply the teachings of spirituality for its own benefit.

Chögyam Trungpa

My grandfather always said that living is like licking honey off a thorn.

Louis Adamic

That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular, and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done life endless harm; the experiences that are called “visions,” the whole so-called “spirit-world,” death, all those things that are so closely akin to us, have by daily parrying been so crowded out of life that the senses with which we could have grasped them are atrophied. To say nothing of God.

Rainer Maria Rilke

By daily dying I have come to be.

Theodore Roethke

A discussion between Haldane and a friend began to take a predictable turn. The friend said with a sigh, “It’s no use going on. I know what you will say next, and I know what you will do next.” The distinguished scientist promptly sat down on the floor, turned two back somersaults, and returned to his seat. “There,” he said with a smile. “That’s to prove that you’re not always right.”

Clifton Fadiman, The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes

The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it but ignore it, or see. And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can. . . .

Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Like a harp burning on an island nobody knows about.

James Tate