Archive | contemplation

If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience.

If merely ‘feeling good’ could decide, drunkenness would be the supremely valid human experience. – William James What does that mean? This quote is part of a larger discussion of the way we make decisions and determine what we think is good for us or the proper way to live. This quote specifically says that […]

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I cannot tell you that I lose nothing, but whatever I do lose I can tell you how and why the loss occurred.

I cannot tell you that I lose nothing, but whatever I do lose I can tell you how and why the loss occurred. – Seneca What does that mean? In the original text, he is moving between discussing the value of time and money, but the title of the section is on saving time. In […]

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Wisdom and Folly are taking opposite sides. Which shall I join?

Wisdom and Folly are taking opposite sides. Which shall I join? – Seneca What does that mean? In the letter from which this quote is taken, Seneca is discussing the difference between Stoics and others when it comes to defining man and friend. To a Stoic, all of humanity is a friend, as the motivation […]

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No man was ever wise by chance.

No man was ever wise by chance. – Seneca What does that mean? Another brutally short and compact quote. I guess he expected people would have to chisel it into stone or something. But seriously, I always like a quote that examines the roots of wisdom. This quote says that wisdom doesn’t come by chance. […]

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The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it.

The first forty years of life give us the text; the next thirty supply the commentary on it. – Arthur Schopenhauer What does that mean? As I am past that point of inflection, I find this quote fascinating. Personally, I might put that point back a few years, but it still is good. By the age […]

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“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”

“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” – Robert Burns What does that mean? This is a line from an old Scottish poem and song. It is a traditional ‘ending’ song, asking the rhetorical question “what if we forgot our old friends?” The usual answer is that we won’t, we’ll remember them, and raise […]

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Consider, when you are enraged at any one, what you would probably think if he should die during the dispute.

Consider, when you are enraged at any one, what you would probably think if he should die during the dispute. – Seneca What does that mean? This quote is about how mad a person should, or should not, become. This is something many of us, as humans, do from time to time. We have all done […]

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A window stuck open is just as bad as a window stuck shut. Either way, you’ve lost its use. Ditto for a mind.

A window stuck open is just as bad as a window stuck shut. Either way, you’ve lost its use. Ditto for a mind. – Dr Tayo Adeyemi What does that mean? A window that is stuck open isn’t so much a window as it is a hole in the wall. Since the purpose of a window is […]

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Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.

Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment. – Seneca What does that mean? In short, this quote is saying that humans are basically lazy. That is simply the baseline for the human condition. Some are more so than others, and we all have our favorite topics on which we think. But the truth is […]

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Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who delights in nursing it in his bosom.

Hatred, in the course of time, kills the unhappy wretch who delights in nursing it in his bosom. – Giacomo Casanova What does that mean? This is an interesting quote, and it is about the end result of a lifetime of hatred. As you might guess, it doesn’t end well for the hater. The interesting twist […]

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When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.

When we see men of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves. – Confucius What does that mean? This is an interesting quote about trying to master yourself by interaction with other people. It is the second half of a longer quote, often stated as: “When we see men of worth, we should […]

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We must exchange the philosophy of excuse, what I am is beyond my control, for the philosophy of responsibility.

We must exchange the philosophy of excuse, what I am is beyond my control, for the philosophy of responsibility. – Barbara Jordan What does that mean? This is a fairly straight-forward quote. It urges us to quit making excuses. There is always a reason, something outside ourselves, that caused things to not work out. It’s never our […]

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An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. – Benjamin Franklin What does that mean? As is often the case on Twitter, there is a longer version of this quote available: “If a man empties his purse into his head no man can take it from him. An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” […]

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The best way of fulfilling your own interest is to take care of others.

The best way of fulfilling your own interest is to take care of others. – Dalai Lama What does that mean? I suppose this quote depends on how you define your own interests. Yes, there are things in which you are interested, and things you think you want, but what is in your actual best interest? […]

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It would have been great to be able to understand myself when I was 20 rather than when I was 82.

It would have been great to be able to understand myself when I was 20 rather than when I was 82. – Dave Brubeck What does that mean? Once again, we have a nice, short, Twitter-friendly quote with which to work. The more complete version of this quote is “I’m beginning to understand myself. But it […]

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