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A frequently updated collection of thoughts on art, life, love, creativity, the self and meaning by some of the greatest minds ever lived.

“At the center of everything we call 'the arts,' and children call 'play,' is something which seems somehow alive.”
― Lynda Barry

We don't create a fantasy world to escape reality, we create it to be able to stay. 
― Lynda Barry

“Playing and fun are not the same thing, though when we grow up we may forget that and find ourselves mixing up playing with happiness. There can be a kind of amnesia about the seriousness of playing, especially when we played by ourselves or looked like we were playing by ourselves."
―  Lynda Barry

“A man's presence suggests what he is capable of doing to you or for you. By contrast, a woman's presence . . . defines what can and cannot be done to her.”
― John Berger

“Every city has a sex and an age which have nothing to do with demography. Rome is feminine. So is Odessa. London is a teenager, an urchin, and in this hasn’t changed since the time of Dickens. Paris, I believe, is a man in his twenties in love with an older woman.”
― John Berger

“To be naked is to be oneself.
To be nude is to be seen naked by others and yet not recognised for oneself.”
― John Berger

“What any true painting touches is an absence - an absence of which without the painting, we might be unaware. And that would be our loss.”
― John Berger

“Independence is the recognition of the fact that yours is the responsibility of judgment and nothing can help you escape it—that no substitute can do your thinking—that the vilest form of self-abasement and self-destruction is the subordination of your mind to the mind of another, the acceptance of an authority over your brain, the acceptance of his assertions as facts, his say-so as truth, his edicts as middle-man between your consciousness and your existence.”
― Ayn Rand

“Do you know the hallmark of a second rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement. Those touchy mediocrities who sit trembling lest someone's work prove greater than their own - they have no inkling of the loneliness that comes when you reach the top. The loneliness for an equal - for a mind to respect and an achievement to admire. They bare their teeth at you from out of their rat holes,thinking that you take pleasure in letting your brilliance dim them - while you'd give a year of my life to see a flicker of talent anywhere among them. They envy achievement, and their dream of greatness is a world where all men have become their acknowledged inferiors. They don't know that that dream is the infallible proof of mediocrity, because that sort of world is what the man of achievement would not be able to bear. They have no way of knowing what he feels when surrounded by inferiors - hatred? no, not hatred, but boredom - the terrible, hopeless, draining, paralyzing boredom. Of what account are praise and adulation from men whom you don't respect? Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?"
"I've felt it all my life," she said.”
― Ayn Rand,

“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
― Thomas Merton

“No one will ever write in just the way that you do, or in just the way that anyone else does. Because of this fact, there is no real competition between writers. What appears to be competition is actually nothing more than jealousy and gossip. Writing is a matter strictly of developing oneself. You compete only with yourself. You develop yourself by writing.” ― John McPhee, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

“Another mantra, which I still write in chalk on the blackboard, is “A Thousand Details Add Up to One Impression.” It’s actually a quote from Cary Grant.” ― John McPhee, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

“Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word?” ― John McPhee, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process

“We magnetize into our lives whatever we hold in our thought.” ― Richard Bach

“This is a test to see if your mission in this life is complete, if you are alive, it isn't.” ― Richard Bach

“You're never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.” ― Richard Bach

“Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” ― Richard Bach

“We teach best what we most need to learn.” ― Richard Bach

“Believe you know all the answers, and you know all the answers. Believe you're a master, and you are.” ― Richard Bach

“You are led through your lifetime by the inner learning creature, the playful spiritual being that is your real self. Don't turn away from possible futures before you're certain you don't have anything to learn from them. You're always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past.” ― Richard Bach

“The original sin is to limit the Is. Don't.” ― Richard Bach

“Like attracts like. Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright. Automatically, as we shine who we are, asking ourselves every minute is this what I really want to do, doing it only when we answer yes, automatically that turns away those who have nothing to learn from who we are, and attracts those who do, and from whom we have to learn, as well.” ― Richard Bach

The price of being misunderstood, he thought. They call you devil or they call you god. ― Richard Bach

"...For i vår gåtefulle, blinde angst blir alle ting erobring eller fangst."
"...For in our enigmatic, blind anxiety all things are conquest or capture..

From "Vi holder livet" by Inger Hagerup

“No new world without a new language.”
― Ingeborg Bachmann

"Speak across borders even if borders pass through every word." — Ingeborg Bachmann

“My today and each of my yesterdays, my rises and falls, are so diverse that I sometimes feel as if I had lived not one, but several existences, each one different from the others.”
― Stefan Zweig

“Arrived at an age when others had already long been married and had children and held important positions, and were obliged to produce the best that was in them with all their energy, I still regarded myself as youthful, a beginner who faced immeasurable time, and I was hesitant about final decisions of any kind.”
― Stefan Zweig

“The harder you run after time, the faster time goes: this is the law of the consumable. Try to stop it, and it will wear you out and age you all the more easily. Time must be caught on the wing, in the present—but the present has yet to be constructed.” ― Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life

“Identification with an ethnic or national community, with a religion, ideology, or any abstraction is nothing but a blood-soaked delusion.” ― Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life

“My creativity, no matter how poor, is for me a far better guide than all the knowledge with which my head has been crammed.”― Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life

“Daydreaming subverts the world.” ― Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life

“ If you really want to remove a cloud from your life, you do not make a big production out of it, you just relax and remove it from your thinking. That’s all there is to it.” ― Richard Bach

“God cannot know anything, will anything or do anything without me. With God I created myself, I created all things, and my hand holds up heaven, earth and all the creatures of the earth. Without me there is nothing.” ― Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life

“Nature loves courage. You make the commitment and nature will respond to that commitment by removing impossible obstacles. Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood. This is the shamanic dance in the waterfall. This is how magic is done. By hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it's a feather bed.”
― Terence McKenna

“I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”
- Ayn Rand

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." - B. Kingsolver

“If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)” - Jason Fried

"Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter."- African proverb 

"I'm only interested in people engaged in the project of self-transformation." - Susan Sontag

"My library is an archive of longings."- Susan Sontag

"It is easier to act your self into a new way of thinking than think yourself into a new way of acting." - Millard Fuller

"Hope is not a strategy. Luck is not a factor. Fear is not an option." - James Cameron

"You can say you have healed not when you have forgotten but when you have forgiven." - Bianca Sparacino

"Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom." - Søren Kiergaard

"There is time for work, and there is time for love. That leaves no other time." - Coco Chanel

“The life of the creative man is lead, directed and controlled by boredom. Avoiding boredom is one of our most important purposes.” ― Saul Steinberg

"There are two things to aim at in life: first to get what you want, and after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second" - Logan Pearsall Smith

"We adore chaos because we love to produce order." - M.C. Escher

"My work is a game, a very serious game." - M.C. Escher

"Only those who attempt the absurd will achieve the impossible. I think it's in my basement... let me go upstairs and check." - M.C. Escher

"He who wonders discovers that this in itself is wonder." - M.C. Escher

"Air is equal parts oxygen, daydreams and possibility." - Victoria Erickson

"Begin to live immediately. Treat each day as a separate life."- Seneca

"If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude peace and calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how you draw it in, day by day, inch by inch."- Victora Erickson

"We respond to stressors in our environment, which is the input, by manipulating ourselves via a process as to gives us an edge that presents itself as an output."- Zat Rana

“It is not freedom from conditions, but it is freedom to take a stand toward the conditions.” - Viktor Frankl

The quiet confidence that Seneca called euthymia—“the belief that you’re on the right path and not led astray by the many tracks which cross yours of people who are hopelessly lost.”

“[L]ife is a phenomenon in need of criticism, for we are, as fallen creatures, in permanent danger of worshipping false gods, of failing to understand ourselves and misinterpreting the behaviour of others, of growing unproductively anxious or desirous, and of losing ourselves to vanity and error. Surreptitiously and beguilingly, then, with humour or gravity, works of art--novels, poems, plays, paintings or films--can function as vehicles to explain our condition to us. They may act as guides to a truer, more judicious, more intelligent understanding of the world.”
― Alain de Botton

"Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson." - Alan Cohen

“Time you spent being jealous of others’ success is time they spent working.”- Jon Westenberg

"The human soul is what interests me. I live to express myself freely in creation. "- Bruce Lee

“Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses — especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”— Leonardo Da Vinci

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention” - Sir Francis Bacon

"Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."- Carl Jung

"The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you really are." - Carl Jung

“Decide what you stand for. And then stand for it all the time. - Clayton Christensen

“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it."—Steve Jobs

"A question is a place in the mind for an answer to rest." - Clay Christensen

"Art never responds to the wish to make it democratic; it is not for everybody; it is only for those who are willing to undergo the effort needed to understand it."- Flannery O'Connor

"In creative work — creative work of all kinds — those who are the world’s working artists are not trying to help the world go around, but forward."- Mary Oliver

“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” - Buddha

"Submit to the fate of your own free will." - Marcus Aurelius

“It is only as an aesthetic phenomenon that existence and the world are eternally justified.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

"...Your job is to pay attention to your heart, your heart will pay attention to everything else." - Aguia Branca~White Eagle 

“Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now.” - Jack Kerouac

“Other people’s words are the bridge you use to cross from where you were to wherever you’re going.” - Zadie Smith

" We can't take any credit for our talents. It's how we use them that counts." - Madeleine L'Engle

“No one is ready for a thing until he believes he can acquire it.” - Napoleon Hill

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke (from Letters to a Young Poet)

"Stop acting so small. You are the Universe in ecstatic motion." - Rumi

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” - Madeleine L'Engle

“You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.” - Friedrich Nietzsche

"Modern Art: Yeah, I could do that. + Yeah, but you didn't." - Craig Damrauer

"Don't downgrade your dream to match your reality. Upgrade your faith to match your destiny."- Stuart Scott

"If you work to minimize criticism, then you’ve already surrendered the beauty & the greatness of what you’ve set out to build." - Seth Godin

"Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence."- Osho

"What a man thinks of himself, determines, rather than indicates, his faith." - Henry David Thoreau

"We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” - Johan Wolfgang Goethe

"Find what you love and let it love you back." - Anonymous

"Gratitude is the only prayer." - Osho

"80% of life is showing up." - Woody Allen

"Any truly creative idea should stun momentarily. Safe, conventional work is a ticket to oblivion." - George Lois

"There is a genius, even kindness, in being bold." - Keith Ferrazzi

"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. 

Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." - Ira Glass

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