Those who prize freedom only for the material benefits it offers have never kept it for long.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Ants are as much like human beings as to be an embarrassment. They farm fungi, raise aphids as livestock, launch armies into war, use chemical sprays to alarm and confuse enemies, capture slaves, engage in child labor, exchange information ceaselessly. They do everything but watch television.

Lewis Thomas

No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics: the cause of freedom versus tyranny.

Hannah Arendt

The labor of a human being is not a commodity or an article of commerce. You can’t weigh the soul of a man with a bar of pig iron.

Samuel Gompers

Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth.

Katherine Mansfield

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

Kit Raymond

Men are afraid to rock the boat in which they hope to drift safely through life’s currents, when, actually, the boat is stuck on a sandbar. They would be better off to rock the boat and try to shake it loose, or, better still, jump in the water and swim for the shore.

Thomas Szasz

If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.

Jacqueline Kennedy

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother’s love is not.

James Joyce

Now that I am in my forties, she tells me I’m beautiful; now that I am in my forties, she sends me presents and we have the long, personal, and even remarkably honest phone calls I always wanted so intensely I forbade myself to imagine them. How strange. Perhaps Shaw was correct and if we lived to be several hundred years old, we would finally work it all out. I am deeply grateful. With my poems, I finally won even my mother. The longest wooing of my life.

Marge Piercy

I don’t like coming home. It keeps me from being nostalgic.

Stewart O’Nan

My mother phones daily to ask, “Did you just try to reach me?” When I reply, “No,” she adds, “So, if you’re not too busy, call me while I’m still alive,” and hangs up.

Erma Bombeck

Every man must define his identity against his mother. If he does not, he just falls back into her and is swallowed up.

Camille Paglia

We must become alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome and we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for in our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.

Hermann Hesse

One of the oddest features of Western Christianized culture is its ready acceptance of the myth of the stable family and the happy marriage. We have been taught to accept the myth not as a heroic ideal, something good, brave, and nearly impossible to fulfill, but as the very fiber of normal life. Given most families and most marriages, the belief seems admirable but foolhardy.

Jonathan Raban

Blaming mother is just a negative way of clinging to her still.

Nancy Friday

Do everything right all the time and the child will prosper. It is as simple as that, except for: fate, luck, heredity, chance, the astrological sign he was born under, his order of birth, his first encounter with evil, the girl who jilts him in spite of his excellent qualities, the war being fought when he is a young man, the drugs he may try one too many times, the friends he makes, how he scores on tests, how well he endures kidding about his shortcomings, how ambitious he becomes, how far he falls behind, circumstantial evidence, danger when it is least expected, difficulty in triumphing over circumstances, people with hidden agendas, and animals with rabies.

Ann Beattie