An ongoing collection of words I find worth remembering:

Ariely, Dan (1967 – )
• “In running back and forth among the things that might be important, we forget to spend enough time on what really is important. It’s a fool’s game, and one that we are remarkably adept at playing.” (p.184, ‘Predictably Irrational’)

Brown, Les (1945 – )
• “Imagine, if you will, being on your death bed – and standing around your bed – the ghosts of the ideas, the dreams, the abilities, the talents given to you by life. And that you for whatever reason, you never acted on those ideas, you never pursued that dream, you never used those talents, we never saw your leadership, you never used your voice, you never wrote that book. And there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying we came to you, and only you could have given us life! Now we must die with you forever. The question is – if you die today what ideas, what dreams, what abilities, what talents, what gifts, would die with you?”

Delve [Video Essay at https://vimeo.com/84022735%5D
• “This celebration of youth, coupled with technology, has distorted our perception of time – the world moves faster, as so do our expectations. Today, we want success in seventeen levels, or seventeen minutes, seventeen seconds – and when the promise of something new and better is just a click away, who wants to wait seventeen years? But that’s the thing that connects all of these great people – they played the long game. All of us have the brain, and the talent, and the creativity to join them, but now, right when it matters, do any of us have the patience?” (‘Creativity, Genius, and the Difficult Years’)

Dick, Philip K. (1928 – 1982)
• “Reality is that which when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away.”
• “Fat had decided to bind himself to the Antichrist. And out of the highest possible motives: out of love, gratitude and the desire to help her… Exactly what the powers of hell feed on: the best instincts of man.”

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor (1821 – 1881)
• “A true friend of mankind whose heart has but once quivered in compassion over the sufferings of the people, will understand and forgive all the impassable alluvial filth in which they are submerged, and will be able to discover the diamonds in the filth.”

Faulkner, William (1897 – 1962)
• “All of us have failed to match our dreams of perfection. I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible. If I could write all my work again, I’m convinced I could do it better. This is the healthiest condition for an artist. That’s why he keeps working, trying again: he believes each time that this time he will do it, bring it off. Of course he won’t.”

Gornic, Vivian (1935 – )
• “It is the great illusion of our culture that what we confess to is who we are.”

Kerouac, Jack (1922-1969)
• “The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.”

Kushner, Harold S. (1935 – )
• “The pain of passing a kidney stone is simply pointless suffering, the result of a natural malfunction somewhere in our body. But the pain of giving birth is creative pain. It is pain that has meaning, pain that gives life, that leads to something. That is why the person who passes a kidney stone will usually say “I’d give anything not to go through that again,” but the woman who has given birth to a child, like the runner or the mountain climber who has driven his body to reach a goal, can transcend her pain and contemplate repeating the experience.”

Monbiot, George (1963 – )
• “So, if you don’t fit in, if you feel at odds with the world, if your identity is troubled and frayed, if you feel lost and ashamed – it could be because you have retained the human values you were supposed to have discarded. You are a deviant. Be proud.”

Moore, Alan (1953 – )
• “Heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, ‘Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says, ‘But doctor… I am Pagliacci.’” (‘The Watchmen’)

Robinson, Sir Ken (1950 – )
• “If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original… By the time they become adults, most kids have lost that capacity. They become frightened of being wrong. We stigmatize mistakes, and we’re now running education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make, and the result is we are educating people out of their creative capacities.”

The Minimalists Documentary
• “You can never get enough of what you don’t really want.”
• “I was living the American dream and I realized it wasn’t my dream.”

Twain, Mark (1835 – 1910)
• “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
• “God created war so that Americans would learn geography.”
• “Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”
• “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”
• “Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”
• “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.
• “Education: the path from cocky ignorance to miserable uncertainty.”
• “I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Tyson, Neil deGrasse (1958 – )
• “The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”

Watts, Alan (1915 – 1973)
• [On Writing] “Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”