Monday, May 15, 2006

Words to Live By

I found these resonant thoughts in Book By Book--Notes On Reading and Life, by Pulitzer-winning Washington Post book critic and columnist Michael Dirda. The Lorain native dedicates the book to his alma mater, Oberlin College.

'Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon.'
--Alexander Pope

'There is no such thing as perpetual tranquility of mind, while we live here. Because life itself is but motion, and can never be without desire, nor without fear, no more than without sense.'
--Thomas Hobbes

''Remember that every life is a special problem, which is not yours but another's; and content yourself with the terrible algebra of your own.'
--Henry James

'Our main business is not to see what lies dimly ahead at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.'
--Thomas Carlyle

'The point is to...live one's life in the full complexity of what one is, which is something much darker, more contradictory, more of a maelstrom of impulses and passions, of cruelty, ecstasy and madness, than is apparent to the civilized being who glides on the surface and fits smoothly into the world.'
--Thomas Nagel, summarizing the teaching of Friedrich Nietzsche

2 Comments:

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anne said...

Hi John,

Seems I've missed a lot by not reading the Washington Post. Your post has resulted in my purchase of not only Dirda's new book but also the Bound to Please book of essays. Perhaps you can work out a deal with Border's or Amazon.

 
At 7:01 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Anne,
I'm thrilled to have turned you on to Dirda, who's a gem of a writer himself, in addition to being a gateway to much good writing. I really should get around to doing an Amazon affiliate thing, but then, the pennies that would earn me pale in comparison to the joy I get out of hearing from readers like you. Thanks again for visiting and especially for stopping a moment to leave this note.

 

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