The enjoyments of this life are not equal to its evils.
—Pliny the Elder (23–79CE) Roman Statesman, Scholar
Between us and heaven or hell there is only life, which is the frailest thing in the world.
—Blaise Pascal (1623–62) French Mathematician, Physicist, Theologian
It is not reason which is the guide of life, but custom.
—David Hume (1711–76) Scottish Philosopher, Historian
Living is like working out a long addition sum, and if you make a mistake in the first two totals you will never find the right answer. It means involving oneself in a complicated chain of circumstances.
—Cesare Pavese (1908–50) Italian Novelist, Poet, Critic, Translator
Life—No, I’ve nothing to teach you about it for the moment. May be writing about it another week.
—E. M. Forster (1879–1970) English Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist
Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
—Ernest Hemingway (1899–1961) American Author, Journalist, Short Story Writer
Do not take life too seriously—you will never get out of it alive.
—Elbert Hubbard (1856–1915) American Writer, Publisher, Artist, Philosopher
Life is short; live it up.
—Nikita Khrushchev (1894–1971) Russian Head of State, Political leader
Life is a grindstone. But whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us.
—Thomas L. Holdcroft
The riders in a race do not stop short when they reach the goal. There is a little finishing canter before coming to a standstill. There is time to hear the kind voice of friends and to say to one’s self: “The work is done.” But just as one says that, the answer comes: “The race is over, but the work never is done while the power to work remains.” The canter that brings you to a standstill need not be only coming to rest. It cannot be while you still live. For to live is to function. That is all there is in living.
—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935) American Jurist, Author
Life is obstinate and clings closest where it is most hated.
—Mary Shelley (1797–1851) English Novelist
Remember, a dead fish can float downstream, but it takes a live one to swim upstream.
—W. C. Fields (1880–1946) American Actor, Comedian, Writer
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.
Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality—not as we expect it to be but as it is—is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.
—Frederick Buechner (1926–2022) American Writer, Theologian
Life is a struggle, but not a warfare.
—John Burroughs (1837–1921) American Naturalist, Writer
Living Life Tomorrow’s fate, though thou be wise, Thou canst not tell nor yet surmise; Pass, therefore, not today in vain, For it will never come again.
—Omar Khayyam (1048–1123) Persian Mathematician
Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always.
—Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926) Austrian Poet
There are four things every person has more of than they know; sins, debt, years, and foes.
You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.
One of the most appalling comments on our present way of life is that half of all the beds in our hospitals are reserved for patients with nervous and mental troubles, patients who have collapsed under the crushing burden of accumulated yesterdays and fearful tomorrows. Yet a vast majority of those people would be walking the streets today, leading happy, useful lives, if they had only heeded the words of Jesus: Have no anxiety about the morrow; or the words of Sir William Osler; Live in day-tight compartments.
—Dale Carnegie (1888–1955) American Self-Help Author
I would rather think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to come together and make sense.
—Harold Kushner (b.1935) American Jewish Religious Leader, Priest
Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of happiness.
—Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1914–2008) Indian Hindu Religious Leader
If life doesn’t offer a game worth playing, then invent a new one.
—Anthony J. D’Angelo
He has not lived badly whose birth and death has been unnoticed by the world.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
The slightest living thing answers a deeper need than all the works of man because it is transitory. It has an evanescence of life, or growth, or change: it passes, as we do, from one stage to another, from darkness to darkness, into a distance where we, too, vanish out of sight. A work of art is static; and its value and its weakness lie in being so: but the tuft of grass and the clouds above it belong to our own traveling brotherhood.
—Freya Stark (1893–1993) British Explorer, Writer
Life is a solitary cell whose walls are mirrors.
—Eugene O’Neill (1888–1953) American Playwright
We have long forgotten the ritual by which the house of our life was erected. But when it is under assault and enemy bombs are already taking their toll, what enervated, perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations.
When we speak the word “life,” it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.
—Antonin Artaud (1896–1948) French Actor, Drama Theorist
The game of life is a game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later with astounding accuracy.
—Florence Scovel Shinn (1871–1940) American Illustrator, Spiritual Writer
We have penetrated far less deeply into the regularities obtaining within the realm of living things, but deeply enough nevertheless to sense at least the rule of fixed necessity… what is still lacking here is a grasp of the connections of profound generality, but not a knowledge of order itself.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist