Question: What is the cause of the world?
Answer: Love.
Question: Why do men revolt?
Answer: To find beauty, either in life or in death.
Question: What for each of us is inevitable?
Answer: Happiness.
Question: And what is the greatest marvel?
Answer: Each day, death strikes, and we live as though we were immortal. This is the greatest marvel.

The Mahabharata

Seek not to follow in the footsteps of men of old; seek what they sought.

Matsuo Basho

I am against revolutions because they always involve a return to the status quo. I am against the status quo both before and after revolutions. I don’t want to wear a black shirt or a red shirt. I want to wear the shirt that suits my taste. And I don’t want to salute like an automaton either. I prefer to shake hands when I meet someone I like. The fact is, to put it simply, I am positively against all this crap which is carried on first in the name of this thing, then in the name of that. I believe only in what is active, immediate, and personal.

Henry Miller

You do not have to sit outside in the dark. If, however, you want to look at the stars, you will find that darkness is necessary. But the stars neither require nor demand it.

Annie Dillard

Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim. It is, one is told, the unforgivable sin, but it is the sin the corrupt or evil man never practices. He always has hope. He never reaches the freezing point of knowing absolute failure. Only the man of good will carries always in his heart this capacity for damnation.

Graham Greene
The Heart of the Matter

A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration, when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those darkly clustered houses encloses its own secret; that every room in every one of them encloses its own secret; that every beating heart in the thousands of breasts there is, in some of its imaginings, a secret to the heart nearest it.

Charles Dickens

You can’t eat language but it eases thirst.

Bernard Malamud

Terry Gross: Can you share some of your favorite comments from readers that you’ve gotten over the years?

Maurice Sendak: Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

Applause magazine.

Rule Number 1 is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule Number 2 is, it’s all small stuff.

Robert Eliot (cardiologist)

Believing ourselves to be possessors of absolute truth degrades us: we regard every person whose way of thinking is different from ours as a monster and a threat and by so doing turn our own selves into monsters and threats to our fellows.

Octavio Paz

. . . and love, what is love but
that dark reflecting lake that any creature
may have the good or ill fortune to glance into.

Stephen Dobyns

Our lives will be changed. Both our beliefs and our actions will become more responsive to God’s spirit. But this will happen only as we allow ourselves to be engulfed by contradictions which God alone can resolve. With Jonah, we will be delivered. But first, we will be swallowed into darkness.

Parker J. Palmer

What’s holding her back
drives her on. . . .

Osip Mandelstam