Tex Williams - Plato - David Mallet - Penn & Teller TV - Aaron Russo - Weird or What? TV - Graham Greene - Baltasar Gracian - Fyodor Dostoyevsky - Leo Tolstoy - Peter Medawar - Philip K Dick - Ronald P Carver - Michio Kaku - Mark Helprin - Stephen Hawking - Rachel Carson - Jonathan Anthony Burkett - Wendell Berry - Muhammad Ali - Martin Luther King - Nicole Krauss - Henrik Ibsen - Nancy Friday - Paul Foot - Charlie Chaplin - The Prisoner TV - John Stuart Mill - Rudolf Steiner - Ellen Goodman - Walker Percy - Gwen Adshead - Bruce Lee - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - William S Burroughs - Gilles Deleuze - Richard Paul Evans - Richard Yates - Edward Young - Malcolm X - J A Konrath - Geoffrey Chaucer - Logan Pearsall Smith - W Somerset Maugham - John Irving - Donalyn Miller - Gustave Flaubert - John Barrymore - Neil Young - E B White - Hans Christian Andersen - Theodore Roosevelt - Donald Miller - Vincent van Gogh - Tim Marlow TV - Claude Monet - Paul Gauguin - Father Ted TV - Boardwalk Empire TV - Bruce Reynolds - The Sopranos TV - Scarface 1983 - Goodfellas 1990 - Drugstore Cowboy 1989 - Fight Club 1999 - Trainspotting 1996 - Barfly 1987 - The Cincinatti Kid 1965 - Lord of the Flies 1963 - Leon: The Professional 1994 - The Devil's Advocate 1997 - Life's Like That 1953 - Witness to the Mob 1998 - Rebel Without a Cause 1955 - A History of Violence 2005 - Bullitt 1968 - The Thomas Crown Affair 1968 - Menace II Society 1993 - Across the Line: The Exodus of Charlie Wright 2010 - DOA 1988 - Dillinger 1991 - Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead 1995 - Woman of Straw 1964 - The Lost Weekend 1945 - Rebecca 1940 - Cool Hand Luke 1967 - Gone With the Wind 1939 - Breathless 2008 - The Outlaw Josey Wales 1976 - The Magnificent Seven 1960 - Gunfight at the OK Corral 1957 - The Matrix 1999 - The Matrix Revolutions 2003 - Red Dwarf TV - Star Trek TV - Star Trek: The Next Generation TV - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine TV - Star Trek: Voyager TV - Ford Madox Ford - Catch 22 1970 - Born on the Fourth of July 1989 - Richard Nixon - Blackadder II TV - Niccolo Machiavelli - Richard B Spence - George Foreman - Floyd Mayweather junior - Philip Sidney - Eric Idle - Russell Brand - Abigail’s Party 1977 - Terry Pratchett - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Langston Hughes - Gerald Early - Lewis Mumford - Thomas Paine - C G Jung - Nick Hornby - Eugene Ionesco - Leon Trotsky - Nev & The Call Centre TV - Jack Kerouac - Derek TV - James Burke TV - Bill Watterson - Lord of the Rings 2001 - William Morris - John F Kennedy - Anthony Burgess & A Clockwork Orange - George Eliot - T S Eliot - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1958 - F Scott Fitzgerald - Jane Siberry - Andy Warhol - Deuteronomy 30:19 - Job 2:4 - Job 7:15&16 - Job 9:21 - Job 10:1 - Job 10:18-22 - Psalms 31:10 - Ecclesiastes 2:17 - Ecclesiastes 9:11&12 - Isaiah 53:8 - Jeremiah 22:1-3 - Matthew 6:25 - Matthew 7:14 - Matthew 10:39 - Matthew 16:25&26 - Luke 9:24 - Romans 12:8-17 - James 4:14 - Philippe Petit - Mrs Dalloway 1997 - Alan Bleasdale TV - The Casual Vacancy TV - Anne Carson - Ethan Hawke - John Wayne - Forrest Gump 1994 - Kazuo Ishiguro - Robert Tressell - Klute 1971 - Thomas Jefferson - George Bernard Shaw - Southpaw 2015 - The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 2009 - Philip Edwards - Zelig 1983 - Ken Loach TV - Peaky Blinders TV - The Commuter 2018 - Panorama TV - Losers: The Miscast Champion 2019 - Spotless TV - Kurt Cobain - Stella Adler - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Juvenal - Jean Rhys - Trading Places 1983 - Steve Jobs - Seneca - Matthew Arnold - Edgar Cayce - Edward Gibbon - Adolf Hitler - James Joyce - R D Laing - Keith Vaughan - Anton Chekhov - Bernard Chartres - Tupac Shakur - Jean Anuihl - W H Auden - Daisy Ashford - The Good The Bad The Ugly 1966 - Martin Amis
The sun comes up and the sun goes down
The hands on the clock go round and round
I just wake up and it’s time to lay down,
Life gets tee-jus, don’t it. Tex Williams & The Western Caravan, Life Gets Tee-Jus, Don’t It, 1948
For our discussion is about no ordinary matter, but on the right way to conduct our lives. Plato, The Republic
O grant me, Heaven, a middle state,
Neither too humble nor too great;
More than enough, for nature’s ends,
With something left to treat my friends. David Mallet, c.1705-65
In reality life-coaching is bullshit. Penn & Teller, Bullshit! s3e4: Life Coaching, Showtime 2005
There are over fifteen thousand life-coaches in America. ibid.
I think the importance of life is to like yourself. If you don’t like yourself nothing means anything ... What’s the point of living if you don’t like who you are? Aaron Russo, interview Alex Jones
You have to stand up for what’s right in life. Unless you do that, you are nothing. Freedom and liberty is what people really want. And it’s time to stop the duplicity of government lying to us. ibid.
A bizarre twist of fate led a young man to save the life of a woman. Incredibly, the woman choking to death had saved the same young man’s life years before. Was it more than coincidence? Was it part of the universe’s grand design? Weird or What? s3e10: Mind Control, Skyfy 2012
He gave her a bright fake smile; so much of life was a putting-off of unhappiness for another time. Nothing was ever lost by delay. Graham Greene, The Heart of the Matter 1948
He felt the loyalty we all feel to unhappiness – the sense that that is where we really belong. ibid.
Renew your brilliance. It is the privilege of the Phoenix. Excellence grows old and so does fame. Custom wears down our admiration, and a mediocre novelty can conquer the greatest eminence in its old age. So be reborn in courage, in intellect, in happiness, and in all else. Dare to renew your brilliance, dawning many times, like the sun, only changing your surroundings. Withhold it and make people miss it; renew it and make them applaud. Baltasar Gracian, 1601-58, The World of Worldly Wisdom
You see, gentlemen, reason is an excellent thing, there’s no disputing that, but reason is nothing but reason and satisfies only the rational side of man’s nature, while will is a manifestation of the whole life, that is, of the whole human life including reason and all the impulses. And although our life, in this manifestation of it, is often worthless, yet it is life and not simply extracting square roots. Fyodor Dostoyevsky
He is not apprehended by reason, but by life. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink and sleep, and I could not help doing these things; but there was no life, for there were no wishes the fulfilment of which I could consider reasonable. If I desired anything, I knew in advance that whether I satisfied my desire or not, nothing would come of it. Had a fairy come and offered to fulfil my desires I should not have known what to ask. If in moments of intoxication I felt something which, though not a wish, was a habit left by former wishes, in sober moments I knew this to be a delusion and that there was really nothing to wish for. I could not even wish to know the truth, for I guess of what it consisted. The truth was that life is meaningless. Leo Tolstoy
We cannot point to a single definitive solution of any one of the problems that confront us – political, economic, social or moral, that is, having to do with the conduct of life. We are still beginners, and for that reason may hope to improve. To deride the hope of progress is the ultimate fatuity, the last word in poverty of spirit and meanness of mind. There is no need to be dismayed by the fact that we cannot yet envisage a definitive solution of our problems, a resting-place beyond which we need not try to go. Peter Medawar, presidential address BAAS 3rd September 1969
You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe. Philip K Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
I believe that the universe was formed around 15 billion years ago and that humans have evolved from their apelike ancestors over the past few million years. I believe we are more likely to live a good life if all humans try to work together in a world community, preserving planet earth. When decisions for groups are made in this world, I believe that the democratic process should be used. To protect the individual, I believe in freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom from religion, freedom of inquiry, and a wall of separation between church and state. When making decisions about what is right or wrong, I believe I should use my intelligence to reason about the likely consequences of my actions. I believe that I should try to increase the happiness of everyone by caring for other people and finding ways to cooperate. Never should my actions discriminate against people simply because of their race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, or national origin. I believe that ideas about what is right and wrong will change with education, so I am prepared to continually question ideas using evidence from experience and science. I believe there is no valid evidence to support claims for the existence of supernatural entities and deities. I will use these beliefs to guide my thinking and my actions until I find good reasons for revising them or replacing them with other beliefs that are more valid. Ronald P Carver
Beyond work and love, I would add two other ingredients that give meaning to life. First, to fulfil whatever talents we are born with. However blessed we are by fate with different abilities and strengths, we should try to develop them to the fullest, rather than allow them to atrophy and decay. We all know individuals who did not fulfil the promise they showed in childhood. Many of them became haunted by the image of what they might have become. Instead of blaming fate, I think we should accept ourselves as we are and try to fulfil whatever dreams are within our capability.
Second, we should try to leave the world a better place than when we entered it. As individuals, we can make a difference, whether it is to probe the secrets of Nature, to clean up the environment and work for peace and social justice, or to nurture the inquisitive, vibrant spirit of the young by being a mentor and a guide. Michio Kaku