Those who don’t read have no advantage over those who can’t.         –  Mark Twain



Good habits are worth being fanatical about.               –  John Irving




 When you think you’re green, you’ll ripen. When you think you’re ripe, you’ll rot. 

                               –  L. K. Spyker

                                                                   (my grandfather)




                              If you go into even the Best Restaurant in the World and order bread & water

they’re going to bring you bread & water.    –   (unknown)




“At the end of your earth life, you will all expect mercy; therefore do I require of you during your mortal life that you show mercy to all of your brethren in the flesh.”                                                                                      –  Urantia Book    1571:4




The greatest gift of all is the gift of Life itself.  

And the greatest insult to the giver would be to return the gift unopened.                      

                                                                                          –  Mork




The world is there for everyone to enjoy; and everyone enjoys it.

Even the stressed people enjoy it some.     –  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi




You go to a great school not for knowledge so much as for arts and habits; for the habit of attention, for the art of expression, for the art of assuming at a moment’s notice a new intellectual posture, for the art of entering quickly into other person’s thoughts, for the habit of submitting to censure and refutation, for the art of indicating assent or dissent in graduated terms, for the habit of working out what is possible within a given time, for taste, for discrimination, for mental courage and mental soberness.  Above all, you go to a great school for self-knowledge.

–  William Cory





                                                   ~        Don’t believe everything you think.           ~




Millions of persons long for immortality who

do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon.                                                                                                                                                                                                  –  Susan Ertz




A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depends on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.                                                                    

                                                                                                             –   Albert Einstein




                                      I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education.                 –    Wilson Mizner




So many things fail to interest us, simply because they don’t find in us enough surfaces on which to live; and what we have to do then – is to increase the number of planes in our mind, so that a much larger number of themes can find a place in it at the same time.

                                                                                               –  Jose Ortega y Gasset   




To yield to seeming – is man’s essential cowardice; to resist it is his essential courage. …

One must at times pay dearly for life lived from the being, but it is never too dear.    

                                                                                      –    Martin Buber  




Laughter, n.   An interior convulsion, producing a distortion of the features and accompanied by inarticulate noises.  It is infectious and, though intermittent, incurable.  Liability to attacks of laughter is one of the characteristics distinguishing man from the animals  –  these being not only inaccessible to the provocation of his example, but impregnable to the microbes having original jurisdiction in bestowal of the disease.  Whether laughter could be imparted to animals by inoculation from the human patient is a question that has not been answered by experimentation.  Dr. Meir Witchell holds that the infectious character of laughter is due to instantaneous fermentation of sputa diffused in a spray.  From this peculiarity he names the disorder Convulsio spargens.

                                                                                 –   Ambrose Bierce

                                                                                                         (from his Devil’s Dictionary)



Now, my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.  I have read and heard many attempts at a systematic account of it, from materialism and theosophy to the Christian system or that of Kant, and I have always felt that they were much too simple.  I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth that are dreamed of, or can be dreamed of, in any philosophy. That is the reason why I have no philosophy myself, and must be my excuse for dreaming.                                          

                                                                                                                                                  –  J. B. S. Haldane




                                       It is only the religious mind that is truly a revolutionary mind.               

                                                                                                            –   J. Krishnamurti




                                                            The best politics is right action.            –   Mahatma Gandhi




                                             Nothing is too wonderful to be true.          –  Michael Faraday



You have to be true to yourself, but you have to be true to your best self, not to the self that secretly thinks you are better than other people.         

                                                                                                                             –  Stephen Gaskin



We are like flies crawling across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel: we cannot see what angels and gods lie underneath the threshold of our perceptions.  We do not live in reality; we live in our paradigms, our habituated perceptions, our illusions; the illusions we share through culture we call reality; but the true historical reality of our condition is invisible to us.

–    William Irwin Thompson


The second most dangerous thing you could do, anywhere in the world, would be to threaten someone’s life or well-being.  The most dangerous thing you could do   would be to threaten the life or well-being of their loved ones.                     

                                                                                                –  Robert L Humphrey        Values for a New Millennium




Compassion is not at all weak.  It is the strength that arises out of seeing the true nature of suffering in the world.  Compassion allows us to bear witness to that suffering, whether it is in ourselves or others, without fear;  it allows us to name injustice without hesitation, and to act strongly, with all the skill at our disposal.  To develop this mind state of compassion … is to learn to live, as the Buddha put it, with sympathy for all living beings, without exception.    

                                                                                                                                                                                                 –     Sharon Salzberg




I am only one,

But still I am one.

I cannot do everything,

But still I can do something;

And because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do the something

that I can do.

And I will not let what I cannot do

interfere with what I can do.                                             

                                        –   Edward Everett Hale




One’s own self is well hidden from one’s own self: of all mines of treasure, one’s own is the last to be dug up.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 –    Friedrich Nietzsche




And so for the first time in my life perhaps, I took the lamp and, leaving the zone of everyday occupations and relationships where everything seems clear, I went down into my inmost self, to the deep abyss whence I feel dimly that my power of action emanates.  But as I moved further and further away from the conventional certainties by which social life is superficially  illuminated, I became aware that I was losing contact with myself.  At each step of the descent a new person was disclosed within me whose name I was no longer sure, and who no longer obeyed me.  And when I had to stop my exploration because the path faded from beneath my steps, I found a bottomless abyss at my feet, and out of it came — arising I know not from where — the current which I dare to call my life.                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                               –   Pierre Teilhard de Chardin    




If an Arab in the desert were suddenly to discover a spring in his tent, and so would always be able to have water in abundance, how fortunate he would consider himself — so, too, when a man, who is a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him; not to mention his discovery that the source is his relation to God.                           

                                                                                                                                                                             –    Søren Kierkegaard   




The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice.  Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.                             

                                                                                                                   –    Ernest Hemingway         A Farewell to Arms




The man with the clear head is the man who … looks life in the face, realizes that everything in it is problematic, and feels himself lost.  And this is the simple truth: that to live is to feel oneself lost.  He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground.

                                                                                                                                 –      Jose Ortega y Gasset          The Revolt of the Masses




No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride ... and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.                                                                                                                                                                                                                   –   Hunter S. Thompson




The truth knocks on the door and you say, “Go away, I’m looking for the truth,”

and so it goes away.                                                           –     Robert M. Persig

                                                                        Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance




The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty:

not knowing what comes next.                               –  Ursula K. Le Guin




It seems to me like this.  It’s not a terrible thing – I mean it may be terrible, but it’s not damaging, it’s not poisoning to do without something one wants. . . .  What’s terrible is to pretend that the second-rate is first-rate.  To pretend that you don’t need love when you do;  or you like your work when you know quite well you’re capable of better.                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                       –  Doris Lessing




Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it.  Impossible is not a fact,  It’s an opinion.  Impossible is not a declaration.  It’s a dare.  impossible is temporary.  Impossible is nothing.                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                 –  David Beckham




In the face of suffering, one has no right to turn away, not to see.   In the face of injustice, one may not look the other way.  When someone suffers, and it is not you, he comes first.  His very suffering gives him priority. . . . To watch over a man who grieves is a more urgent duty than to think of God.                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                       –  Elie Wiesel




I’m thankful that I’ve been given the means to be able to help people less fortunate than myself.

 Now all I need is the desire.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               –  Steve Martin





How does one transcend himself; how does he open himself to new possibility?  By realizing the truth of his situation, by dispelling the lie of his character, by breaking his spirit out of its conditioned prison.  The enemy, for Kierkegaard as for Freud, is the Oedipus complex.  The child has built up strategies and techniques for keeping his self-esteem in the face of the terror of his situation.  These techniques become an armor that holds the person prisoner.  The very defenses that he needs in order to move about with self-confidence and self-esteem become his life-long trap.  In order to transcend himself he must break down that which he needs in order to live.  Like Lear he must throw off all his “cultural lendings” and stand naked in the storm of life.  Kierkegaard had no illusions about man’s urge to freedom.  He knew how comfortable people were inside the prison of their character defenses.  Like many prisoners they are comfortable in their limited and protected routines, and the idea of a parole into the wide world of chance, accident, and choice terrifies them.                                                   

                                                                                                                                              –    Ernest Becker      The Denial of Death




I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect

                       has intended us to forgo their use.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            –  Galileo Galilei





A few of his disciples had decided to do a “grape cure” and eat nothing but grapes and grape juice for a while. Paramahansa Yogananda smiled when he heard about this and remarked, “Devotion is the greatest purifier.” His disciple Donald Walters asked, “Is it your wish then, Sir, that we break this fast?” “Well, I don’t want you to break your wills,” said Yogananda, “now that you have set them in this way. But your time would be better spent if you worked on developing devotion. A pure heart is the way to God, not a pure stomach.”                 

                                                                                                                                                                                  –   William Ashoka Ross




Society is composed of two great classes — those who have more dinners than appetite, and those who have more appetite than dinners.                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                  –    Sebastien-Roch Nicolas De Chamfort




A hungry man is not a free man.                 –   Adlai Stevenson




I can reason down or deny everything, except this perpetual Belly; feed he must and will, and I cannot make him respectable.                                                                                                                                                                                               –  Ralph Waldo Emerson




A fairly bright boy is far more intelligent and far better company than the average adult.

                                                                                                  –    John B. S. Haldane




I have never yet met a healthy person who worried very much about his health,

or a really good person who worried much about his own soul.                      –   John B. S. Haldane




The wise man regulates his conduct by the theories both of religion and science.

But he regards these theories not as statements of ultimate fact but as art-forms.          

                                                                                               –   John B. S. Haldane




No healing can take place until we decide to think actively about the dark side.  Each of us has a dark side.  If I shout at my small sons, I can say that I have a fatherly duty to discipline them, but we know that this shouting has a dark side.  When so many whites moved to the suburbs in the Fifties, wasn’t that a simple longing for open space?  But it had a dark side.  The dark side was that we let the centers of our cities disintegrate, in the same way that we let the center of our psyche disintegrate.  When entertainment, in the form of television, floods our house every night, we are only sitting and listening.  This is a simple thing surely, isn’t it?  But it has a dark side.  It has a very strong dark side, in that we don’t have to entertain others, or enter any larger sort of community to be entertained.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               –     Robert Bly




Why is life so tragic; so like a little strip of pavement over an abyss?  

I look down; I feel giddy; I wonder how I am ever to walk to the end.

                                                                                                     –   Virginia Woolf




The temptation to moralize is strong; it is emotionally satisfying to have enemies rather than problems, to seek out culprits rather than flaws in the system.  God knows it is emotionally satisfying to be righteous with that righteousness that nourishes itself on the blood of sinners.  But God also knows that what is emotionally satisfying can be spiritually devastating.

                                                                                                         –    William Sloane Coffin             The Courage to Love




We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact.

It is better to say, “I am suffering” than to say, “This landscape is ugly.”        

                                                                                     –    Simone Weil




Put your ear down close to your soul

and listen hard.

                                       –  Anne Sexton




It is not your obligation to complete your work, but you are not at liberty to quit.

                                                                                                                      –   The Talmud






Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies. Nobody that matters, that is.

Without music I should wish to die.

What terrible fear causes Man to address the Void as Thou?

There isn’t a train I wouldn’t take, no matter where it’s going.

Man has never been the same since God died.

I am not at all in favor of hard work for its own sake; many people who work very hard indeed produce terrible things, and should most certainly not be encouraged.

Oh, you mean I’m a homosexual! Of course I am, and heterosexual too, but what’s that got to do with my headache?

I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his pay-roll.

Guess I’ll weep awhile. Guess I won’t, I mean.

It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another; it is one damn thing over and over.

                                                              [the ten quotes above are all from     –   Edna St. Vincent Millay]







                                                   –      Mary Oliver




If someone has a bad feeling in their heart, that does not mean that you must also have a bad feeling in your heart.                           

                                                                                                                                                                       –  Maharishi Mahesh Yogi




The whole order of things is as outrageous as any miracle which could presume to violate it.

                                                                                                                            –  G. K. Chesterton




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




Then the cook enters and approaches our table. He bows low before me. He is grateful to me, he explains, because since his years as a cook in a Buddhist monastery, he has had little opportunity to cook vegetarian food for anyone who appreciates it. The wild mushrooms, he tells me, were picked in a nearby forest. The greens are from gardens known for the quality of their vegetables. . . . He bows slowly, and thanks me once again. I stumble over my own words of gratitude as he quietly disappears into the kitchen. I never see him again. I didn’t sleep that night. The cook’s reverence and humility sliced through years of protective hardness and caught me without warning. His food was saturated with love, and its nurturance was almost too much to bear.                                                       

                                                                                                                        –   Anne Scott                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sun Magazine  Jan. 2002       Sunbeams




She’d teach them [her children] these things are nothing, the clothes, toys, and furniture.  These things fool people into thinking they must stay where the things are.  Leave it all, she’d teach them even . . .  all your dreams of safe, calm places.  Go with what is most terrifying.  … Always choose love over safety, if you can tell the difference.         

                                                                                                           – Josephine Humphreys         Dreams of Sleep




It is popularly supposed that between those who use the word “God” and those who do not there is a great gulf.  But the gulf lies elsewhere.  It lies between those who dogmatize, either positively or negatively, and those who recognize in great humility that something within them bears witness to realities which may be momentous in our lives, but which lie beyond the grasping net of our categories of thought.                                                                         

                                                                                                                        –    Phillip Hewett




The conclusion forced upon me in the course of a life devoted to natural science is that the universe as it is assumed to be in physical science is only an idealized world, while the real universe is the spiritual universe in which spiritual values count for everything.

                                                                                                                                                                       –    J.B.S. Haldane




If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.                                                                                                                                                      

                                                                                                                                                              –    Henry David Thoreau




Our black cat lay on the windowsill, against the black night outside.  When his eyes were open, his body was visible, dimly outlined; but as soon as he closed them, the whole cat vanished, leaving only the unbroken darkness of the window.

                                                                                                                                                                                             –     Rudolf Arnheim




It is good that fire should burn, even if it consumes your house; it is good that force should crush, even if it crushes you; it is good that rain should fall, even if it destroys your crops and floods your land.  Plagues and pestilences attest to the constancy of natural law.  They set us to cleaning our streets and houses and to readjusting our relations to outward nature.  Only in a live universe could disease and death prevail.  Death is a phase of life, a redistribution of the type.  Decay is another kind of growth.                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                  –  John Burroughs




I’ve a strong impression our world is about to go under.  Our political systems are deeply compromised and have no further uses.  Our social behavior patterns, interior and exterior, have proved a fiasco.  The tragic thing is, we neither can nor want, nor have the strength, to alter our course.  It’s too late for revolutions, and deep down inside ourselves we no longer even believe in their positive effects.  Just around the corner an insect world is waiting – and one day it’s going to roll over our ultra-individualized existence.  Otherwise, I’m a respectable Social Democrat.                                                                                                          

                                                                                                                                                                        –    Ingmar Bergman




If, every day, I dare to remember that I am here on loan, that this house, this hillside, these minutes, are leased to me, not given, I will never despair.  Despair is for those who expect to live forever.  I no longer do.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    –  Erica Jong




Never in any case say, “I have lost such a thing,” but, “I have returned it.”  Is your child dead?  It is a return.  Is your wife dead?  It is a return.  Are you deprived of your estate?  Is this not also a return?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   –     Epictetus




Your life feels different to you, once you greet death and understand your heart’s position. You wear your life like a garment from the mission bundle sale ever after – lightly because you realize you never paid nothing for it, cherishing because you know you won’t ever come by such a bargain again.                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                –   Louise Erdrich      Love Medicine




“When one is young one doesn’t feel a part of it yet, the human condition. One does things because they are not for good, everything is a rehearsal … to be put right when the curtain goes up in earnest. One day you know that the curtain was up all the time. That was the performance.”                                                                                                     

                                                                                                                                                               –    Sybille Bedford




What a strange machine man is! … You Fill him with wine, fish, and radishes,

and out comes sighs, laughter, and dreams.                    

                                                                    –   Nikos Kazantzakis




Security is mostly a superstition.

It does not exist in nature.

Nor do the children of men as a whole

experience it.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run

than outright exposure.

Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.

To keep our faces toward change and behave

like free spirits in the presence of fate

Is strength undefeatable.               

                                           –    Helen Keller




A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

                                                                                           –   Thomas Mann





I wouldn’t write a book to win a fight.  I’d rather go fifteen rounds with Sonny Liston.  At least it would be over in an hour and I could go to bed.  But a book takes me two years, if I’m lucky.  Eight hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, that’s the only way I know how to do it.  You have to sit alone in a room with only a tree out the window to talk to.  You have to sit there churning out draft after draft of crap, waiting like a neglected baby for just one drop of mother’s milk.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                – Philip Roth




I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not one of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident.  Not one of them writes elegant first drafts.  All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.  We do not think that she has a rich inner life or that God likes her or can even stand her.   

                                                                                                                                                                              –   Anne Lamott




“It came to me … that when people fall in love they entrust to each other the idea of themselves.”

  “Do you mean their own idea of themselves?”

  “I mean the essential idea of them that perhaps they don’t even know themselves.  Each holds out to the other this obscure and unknown thing for the other to perceive and keep safe.”

                                                                                                                     –   Russell Hoban     The Medusa Frequency




“If you trip over a rock

the first time, it’s the Rock’s Fault;

the second time, it’s Nobody’s Fault;

but the third time, it’s YOUR Fault.”               

                                                      –   L. Spyker   (my dad)




Love,  n.   A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder.                                                                                              

                                                                                                                 –   Ambrose Bierce       The Devil’s Dictionary




I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow. I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly, foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                                                      –   Erich Maria Remarque     




Time is too long for those who wait

Too swift for those who fear

Too slow for those who grieve

Too short for those who laugh.

But for those who love

Time is not.                           

                             –     Henry Van Dyke   




I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.                                                                                                                    –    Albert Schweitzer




I do not take drugs — I am drugs.

                                         –   Salvador Dali




Just throw away that computerized shit listing all human data.  No one knows anything about human beings.  You have to love people because they always lose.                                                                                         –  Leslie Woolf Hedley




Life is a rock.  And a hard place.       

                                             –  Juli Duncan




It’s not the length but the quality of life that matters to me. . . . It has always been important to me to write one sentence at a time, to live every day as if it were my last and judge it in those terms, often badly, not because it lacked grand gesture or grand passion but because it failed in the daily virtues of self-discipline, kindness, and laughter.  It is love, very ordinary, human love and not fear, which is the good teacher and the wisest judge.                                                                                                                                          –   Jane Rule




The afternoon knows

what the morning never suspected.                    –   Swedish proverb




Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not;  nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not;  unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not;  the world is full of educated derelicts.   Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                         –   Calvin Coolidge





Mahatma Gandhi was once asked, “Mr. Gandhi, what do you think of Western Civilization?”    

He replied, “I think that would be an excellent idea.”     




Too many people spend money they have not earned

to buy things they do not want

to impress people they do not like.

                               –    Will Smith 




In this world

         women   do ⅔  of the work,

                              bring home 10% of the pay, and

                                   own 1% of the property.

                                                                                                                                                                –   NPR




                                         We are what we repeatedly do.

                                                  Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.

                                                                                                        –   Aristotle