Penelope Lively on Memory

“I have learned to be suspicious of memory–my own, anyone’s–but to accord it considerable respect. Whether accurate or not, it can subvert a life.”

~ Penelope Lively / Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time

Penelope Lively on Ageing

“There’s this piece of contemporary mythology that the forties are the best time of your life. A load of cock, so far as I’m concerned.”

~ Penelope Lively / Passing On

Naval Ravikant on Acceptance

“You can change it, you can accept it, or you can leave it. What is not a good option is to sit around wishing you would change it but not changing it, wishing you would leave it but not leaving it, and not accepting it. It’s that struggle, that aversion, that is responsible for most of our misery. The phrase that I use the most to myself in my head is one word: accept.”

~ Naval Ravikant

Robert Adams on Photography

Where would you say your style falls on a continuum between completely intuitive and intellectually formulated?

Style again. Let’s be clear: the effort that’s worth making is to try to create helpful, lasting photographs, what Dorothea Lange called “second lookers”. We’re not talking about how to plot career moves in pursuit of name recognition, gallery representation or money. Though having said that, photographers have to eat, and I’m sympathetic with those who face difficulties. This is America, after all — a savage place

~ Robert Adams / Financial Times, October 04, 2019

Penelope Lively on Life

“I think it’s only later in life that you begin to realize just how contingent life is and the extraordinary way in which one’s own life has been dependent on decisions made in one direction or another.”

~ Penelope Lively

Musonius Rufus on Life

“…the more one pushes the intelligent person away from the life he was born for, the more he inclines towards it.”

~ King, Cynthia. Musonius Rufus: Lectures and Sayings (p. 89). Unknown. Kindle Edition.

Jim Harrison on Helping People

“I’m always having a man in desperate straits trying to help somebody else out with no apparent success, because nobody can be helped by anybody.”

~ Jim Harrison

William Irvine on Contamination

“We are social creatures; we will be miserable if we try to cut off contact with other people. Therefore, if what we seek is tranquility, we should form and maintain relations with others. In doing so, though, we should be careful about whom we befriend. We should also, to the extent possible, avoid people whose values are corrupt, for fear that their values will contaminate ours.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 228). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Fame and Fortune

“In particular, we should use reason to convince ourselves that things such as fame and fortune aren’t worth having—not, at any rate, if what we seek is tranquility—and therefore aren’t worth pursuing. Likewise, we should use our reasoning ability to convince ourselves that even though certain activities are pleasurable, engaging in those activities will disrupt our tranquility, and the tranquility lost will outweigh the pleasure gained.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 227). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Happiness

“Many of us have been persuaded that happiness is something that someone else, a therapist or a politician, must confer on us. Stoicism rejects this notion. It teaches us that we are very much responsible for our happiness as well as our unhappiness. It also teaches us that it is only when we assume responsibility for our happiness that we will have a reasonable chance of gaining it.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (pp. 221-222). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on a Good Life

“The most important reason for adopting a philosophy of life, though, is that if we lack one, there is a danger that we will mislive—that we will spend our life pursuing goals that aren’t worth attaining or will pursue worthwhile goals in a foolish manner and will therefore fail to attain them.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 203). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Other People’s Opinions

“Marcus agrees with Epictetus that it is foolish for us to worry about what other people think of us and particularly foolish for us to seek the approval of people whose values we reject. Our goal should therefore be to become indifferent to other people’s opinions of us. He adds that if we can succeed in doing this, we will improve the quality of our life.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 168). Oxford University Press.

William Irvine on Being Sensitive

“If we are overly sensitive, we will be quick to anger. More generally, says Seneca, if we coddle ourselves, if we allow ourselves to be corrupted by pleasure, nothing will seem bearable to us, and the reason things will seem unbearable is not because they are hard but because we are soft.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 161). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

William Irvine on Insults

“WHEN INSULTED, people typically become angry. Because anger is a negative emotion that can upset our tranquility, the Stoics thought it worthwhile to develop strategies to prevent insults from angering us—strategies for removing, as it were, the sting of an insult. One of their sting-elimination strategies is to pause, when insulted, to consider whether what the insulter said is true. If it is, there is little reason to be upset.”

~ Irvine, William B. / A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy (p. 144). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.