Collected quotes

Updated on : added quote from The Virtuoso (2021)

This is a page which I will update every time I stumble upon a captivating sentence, paragraph, or play on words.

Anonymous

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

Wisdom of the crowd: average several guesstimations arrived at from different perspectives and maybe remove outliers and you'll get close to the real answer.

Adam Leipzig

The unexamined life is not worth living, but if all you're doing is examining, you're not living.

Alan Watts

Holy people are whole.

The purpose of music, dancing, and meditation is the act in itself — you play music not towards something, but you just play.

Alexander Fridman

Quality means no mistakes.

Andrew Bernstein

Loyalty in action, regardless obstacles or challenges, to one's most cherished values — this is the essense [sic.] of moral rectitude — and it is the foundation of heroism.

— Heroes, Legends, Champions: Why Heroism Matters

They might be exhausted but they persevere. They may be fearful but they face danger courageously. They may be both exhausted and fearful but they do not quail in the face of obstacle and/or danger. Heroes are undeterred by profoundly intractable problems and/or by dangerously potent antagonists. In the face of either or both, they are undaunted.

— Heroes, Legends, Champions: Why Heroism Matters
Antoine de Saint Exupéry

It seems that perfection is reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Brandur leach

With sufficient scale, something will be failing all the time.

— In Pursuit of Production Minimalism

With more technologies engineers will tend to become jacks of all trades, but masters of none.

— In Pursuit of Production Minimalism

Software that you write is software that you have to maintain. Forever.

— In Pursuit of Production Minimalism
Carl Jung

It is divine service to serve oneself. We thus relieve humanity of ourselves. May one man carry another's burden, has become an immorality. May each carry his own load; that is the least that one can demand anyone to do. We can at best show another how to carry his own load. To give all one's goods to the poor means to educate them to become idle. Pity should not carry another's load, but it should be a strict educator instead. Solitude with ourselves has no end. It has only just begun.

— The Black Book no. 5

There is only one way and that is your way. There is only one salvation and that is your salvation. Why are you looking for help? Do you believe help will come from outside? What is to come will be created in you and from you. Hence look into yourself. Do not compare. Do not measure. No other way is like yours. All other ways deceive and tempt you. You must fulfill the way that is in you.

— The Red Book

The melting together of sense and nonsense [...] produces the supreme meaning.

— The Red Book

Even the eternal stars are commonplace.

— The Red Book

My path is not your path, therefore I cannot teach you.

— The Red Book

Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves. This is not a law, but notice of the fact that the time of example and law, and of the straight line drawn in advance has become overripe. [...] Yet who today knows this? Who knows the way to the eternally fruitful climes of the soul? You seek the way through mere appearances, you study books and give ear to all kinds of opinion. What good is all that?

— The Red Book

The realization was that the self is the goal of individuation and that the process of individuation was not linear, but consisted in a circumambulation of the self.

— The Red Book

There is only one way and that is your way. Only one law exists, and that is your law. Only one truth exists, and that is your truth.

— The Red Book

You must endure the temptation of fear and doubt, and at the same time acknowledge to the bone that your fear is justified and your doubt is reasonable. How otherwise could it be a true temptation and a true overcoming?

— The Red Book

You still have to learn this, to succumb to no temptation, but to do everything of your own will; then you will be free and beyond Christianity.

— The Red Book

The slave to virtue finds the way as little as the slave to vices.

— The Red Book

Cleverness conquers the world, but simplemindedness, the soul. So take on the vow of poverty of spirit in order to partake of the soul.

— The Red Book

While I might have had clever thoughts as a thinker, it was not so in life.

— The Red Book

Nature is playful and terrible. Some see the playful side and dally with it and let it sparkle. Others see the horror and cover their heads and are more dead than alive. The way does not lead between both, but embraces both. It is both cheerful play and cold horror.

— The Red Book

When thinking leads to the unthinkable, it is time to return to simple life. What thinking cannot solve, life solves, and what action never decides is reserved for thinking.

— The Red Book

Madness is a special form of the spirit and clings to all teachings and philosophies, but even more to daily life, since life itself is full of craziness and at bottom utterly illogical. Man strives toward reason only so that he can make rules for himself. Life itself has no rules. That is its mystery and its unknown law. What you call knowledge is an attempt to impose something comprehensible on life.

— The Red Book

The way, or whatever it might be, on which people go, is our way, the right way. There are no paved ways into the future. We say that it is this way, and it is. We build roads by going on. Our life is the truth that we seek. Only my life is the truth, the truth above all. We create the truth by living it.

— The Red Book

If I accept the lowest in me, I lower a seed into the ground of Hell. The seed is invisibly small, but the tree of my life grows from it and conjoins the Below with the Above. At both ends there is fire and blazing embers. The Above is fiery and the Below is fiery. Between the unbearable fires grows your life. You hang between these two poles. [...] Therefore he who strives for the highest finds the deepest.

— The Red Book

He who accepts what approaches him because it is also in him, quarrels and wrangles no more, but looks into himself and keeps silent. He sees the tree of life, whose roots reach into Hell and whose top touches Heaven. He also no longer knows differences: who is right? What is holy? What is genuine? What is good? What is correct? He knows only one difference: the difference between below and above. For he sees that the tree of life grows from below to above, and that it has its crown at the top, clearly differentiated from the roots. To him this is unquestionable. Hence he knows the way to salvation. To unlearn all distinctions save that concerning direction is part of your salvation. Hence you free yourself from the old curse of the knowledge of good and evil.

— The Red Book

You can never deny your knowledge of good and evil to yourself, so that you could betray your good in order to live evil. For as soon as you separate good and evil, you recognize them. They are united only in growth. But you grow if you stand still in the greatest doubt, and therefore steadfastness in great doubt is a veritable flower of life.

— The Red Book

You turn your pain into pleasure. You are twisted, blinded; just suffer, you fool.

— The Red Book

The God knows only power and creation. He commands and you act. Your anxieties are laughable. There is only one road, the military road of the Godhead. [...] The sacrifice of all joy, provided that you do it yourself. Joy should neither be made nor sought; it should come, if it must come. [...] You should not serve your personal devil. That leads to superfluous pain. True joy is simple: it comes and exists from itself, and is not to be sought here and there. [...] Joy can never ever be prepared, but exists of its own accord or exists not at all. All you must do is fulfill your task, nothing else. Joy comes from fulfillment, but not from longing.

— The Red Book

Fear the soul, despise her, love her, just like the Gods. May they be far from us! But above all never lose them! Because when lost they are as malicious as the serpent, as bloodthirsty as the tiger that pounces on the unsuspecting from behind. A man who goes astray becomes an animal, a lost soul becomes a devil.

— The Red Book

Why do you look to the other? What you see in him lies neglected in yourself.

— The Red Book

Lamentation and abomination were the gift of the worm. [...] The beauty of suffering [...] is what is needed by whoever hosts the worm.

— The Red Book
Cicero

Satiety of all things causes satiety of life.

— Cato the Elder on Old Age
Daniel Chambliss

Excellence does not result from quantitative changes in behavior. Increased training time, per se, does not make one swim fast

— The Mundanity of Excellence

It is incorrect to believe that top athletes suffer great sacrifices to achieve their goals. Often, they don't see what they do as sacrificial at all. They like it.

— The Mundanity of Excellence

But of course there is no secret; there is only the doing of all those little things, each one done correctly, time and again, until excellence in every detail becomes a firmly ingrained habit, an ordinary part of one's everyday life.

— The Mundanity of Excellence
Dave Chappelle

We should forgive the ones of us that are weaker and support the ones of us that are stronger.

— The Bird Revelation
David Foster Wallace

Sex and substance issues notwithstanding, professional athletes are our culture's holy men: They give themselves over to a pursuit, endure great privation and pain to actualize themselves at it, and enjoy a relationship to 'excellence' and 'perfection' that we admire and reward (the monk's begging bowl, the RBI guru's eight-figure contract) and like to watch, even though we have no inclination to walk that road ourselves. In other words, they do it for us, sacrifice themselves for our redemption.

— The String Theory
exurb1a

And if we don't know everything yet, well better to have questions you can't answer than answers you can't question.

Technology's just nature we taught to do cool tricks.

Frank Zalm

We can't do a revolution, focus on the evolution.

Paraphrased. Heard when talking about rocking the ship too much in a company.

Friedrich Nietzsche

It is remarkable that the intellect manages to do this, for in reality this faculty is given only as a help to the most unfortunate, most delicate, and most perishable creature, in order to preserve it for a moment in an existence out of which it would otherwise [...] have every reason to flee.

— On Truth and Lies in a Non-moral Sense

Whence and when came to him the mystic bent into the One and the eternally Resting, nobody will be able to compute; perhaps it is only the conception of the finally settled old man, to whom, after the agitation of his erratic wanderings, and after the restless learning and searching for truth, the vision of a divine rest, the permanence of all things within a pantheistic primal peace appears as the highest and greatest ideal.

— Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

No 'idea' can ever make man better or more moral.

— Thoughts Out of Season

In former times people were warned especially against taking the day or the moment too seriously: the nil admirari (let nothing astonish you) was recommended and the care of things eternal.

— Thoughts Out of Season

But how peculiarly this feeling is crossed, when another force happens to join his quivering pride, the craving of the heights for the depths, the affectionate yearning for earth, for happiness and for fellowship — then, when he thinks of all he misses as a hermit-creator, he feels as though he ought to descend to the earth like a god, and bear all that is weak, human, and lost, 'in fiery arms up to heaven,' so as to obtain love and no longer worship only, and to be able to lose himself completely in his love.

— Thoughts Out of Season

This is a universal law; a living thing can only be healthy, strong and productive within a certain horizon: if it be incapable of drawing one round itself, or too selfish to lose its own view in another's, it will come to an untimely end.

— Thoughts Out of Season

Knowledge, taken in excess without hunger, even contrary to desire, has no more the effect of transforming the external life; and remains hidden in a chaotic inner world that the modern man has a curious pride in calling his ‘real personality.

— Thoughts Out of Season

To take everything objectively, to be angry at nothing, to love nothing, to understand everything — makes one gentle and pliable.

— Thoughts Out of Season

Measure the height of what thou knowest by the depths of thy power to do.

— Thoughts Out of Season

To not amass dead knowledge, we must base the quest for knowledge on the quest of life and further improving how we live it.

— Thoughts Out of Season

Everything new means something to be unlearnt.

— Thoughts Out of Season

We do not love father or mother or wife or child, but the pleasant sensations they cause us.

— Human, All Too Human

Many a man fails to become a thinker for the sole reason that his memory is too good.

— Human, All Too Human

Learning from one's enemies is the best way to love them, for it inspires us with a grateful mood towards them.

— Human, All Too Human

What is genius? To aspire to a lofty aim and to will the means to that aim.

— Human, All Too Human

All being hitherto have created something beyond themselves: and ye want to be the ebb of that great tide, and would rather go back to the beast than surpass man?

— Thus Spoke Zarathustra

They devour one another, and cannot even digest themselves.

— Thus Spoke Zarathustra

HE, however, who obeyeth, DOTH NOT LISTEN TO HIMSELF!

— Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Lose me and find yourselves.

— Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Thus the greatest evil belongeth unto the greatest good: but this is the creative good.

— Thus Spoke Zarathustra

He must have an inclination, born of strength, for questions that no one has the courage for; the courage for the forbidden; predestination for the labyrinth.

— The Antichrist

What is good?—Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself, in man. What is evil?—Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness?—The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome. Not contentment, but more power; not peace at any price, but war; not virtue, but efficiency (virtue in the Renaissance sense, virtù, virtue free of moral acid). The weak and the botched shall perish: first principle of our charity. And one should help them to it. What is more harmful than any vice?—Practical sympathy for the botched and the weak—Christianity...

— The Antichrist

I call an animal, a species, an individual corrupt, when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is injurious to it.

— The Antichrist

Life itself appears to me as an instinct for growth, for survival, for the accumulation of forces, for power: whenever the will to power fails there is disaster. My contention is that all the highest values of humanity have been emptied of this will—that the values of décadence, of nihilism, now prevail under the holiest names.

— The Antichrist

A virtue must be our invention; it must spring out of our personal need and defence. In every other case it is a source of danger. That which does not belong to our life menaces it.

— The Antichrist

What destroys a man more quickly than to work, think and feel without inner necessity, without any deep personal desire, without pleasure—as a mere automaton of duty? That is the recipe for décadence, and no less for idiocy.

— The Antichrist

The preponderance of pains over pleasures [...] supplies the formula for décadence.

— The Antichrist

Wherever the will to power begins to decline, in whatever form, there is always an accompanying decline physiologically, a décadence.

— The Antichrist

Indignation is the privilege of the Chandala; so is pessimism.

— The Antichrist

The most intelligent men, like the strongest, find their happiness where others would find only disaster: in the labyrinth, in being hard with themselves and with others, in effort; their delight is in self-mastery; in them asceticism becomes second nature, a necessity, an instinct. They regard a difficult task as a privilege; it is to them a recreation to play with burdens that would crush all others... Knowledge—a form of asceticism.—They are the most honourable kind of men: but that does not prevent them being the most cheerful and most amiable. They rule, not because they want to, but because they are; they are not at liberty to play second.

— The Antichrist

A right is a privilege. Every one enjoys the privileges that accord with his state of existence.

— The Antichrist

To set to early in the morning, at the break of day, in all the fullness and dawn of one's strength, and to read a book—this I call positively vicious!

— Ecce Homo

My formula for greatness in man is! amor fati: the fact that a man wishes nothing to be different, either in front of him or behind him, or for all eternity.

— Ecce Homo

After all, no one can draw more out of things, books included, than he already knows. A man has no ears for that to which experience has given him no access.

— Ecce Homo

People will believe that where nothing is heard there is nothing to hear.

— Ecce Homo

In this sense I have the right to regard myself as the first tragic philosopher—that is to say, the most extreme antithesis and antipodes of a pessimistic philosopher.

— Ecce Homo

At bottom all I had done was to put one of Stendhal's maxims into practice: he advises one to make one's entrance into society by means of a duel.

— Ecce Homo

My wisdom consists in my having been many things, and in many places, in order to become one thing—in order to be able to attain to one thing.

— Ecce Homo

I have discovered that a large number of young men are all in the same state of distress: one kind of unnatural practice perforce leads to another. In Germany, or rather, to avoid all ambiguity, in the Empire, only too many are condemned to determine their choice too soon, and then to pine away beneath a burden that they can no longer throw off.

— Ecce Homo

If the most insignificant organ within the body neglects, however slightly, to assert with absolute certainty its self-preservative powers, its recuperative claims, and its egoism, the whole system degenerates.

— Ecce Homo

It was God Himself who, at the end of His great work, coiled Himself up in the form of a serpent at the foot of the tree of knowledge. It was thus that He recovered from being a God... He had made everything too beautiful... The devil is simply God's moment of idleness, on that seventh day.

— Ecce Homo

Morality is the idiosyncrasy of decadents, actuated by a desire to avenge themselves with success upon life. I attach great value to this definition.

— Ecce Homo
G. K. Chesterton

Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.

Gary Provost

This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It's like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

Hannibal (the 2013 TV series)

Lessons learned from cellular decay: enjoy the world while we have it and give a little bit back.

— Season 2 Episode 1

The punctuation at the end of a sentence gives meaning to every word... every space that preceded it.

— Season 2 Episode 13

All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story.

— Season 3 Episode 3
House M.D. (the 2004 TV series)

It's normal to be screwed up. It's really screwed up to romanticize it.

People get what they get, it has nothing to do with what they deserve.

You're gonna spend one day of your life on your deathbed. The other 25000 are the ones we should be worrying about.

A response to Taub's concern that on his deathbed he'll think that he didn't do anything really important.

Joey Diaz

If you're walking on ice, you might as well dance.

Jordan Peterson

What's the price you pay for being? The price you pay for being is limitation and the price you pay for limitation is suffering so the price you pay for being is suffering.

Christ is He whose radical acceptance of the conditions of life defeats the hatred, bitterness, and vengefulness that the tragedy and malevolence that taints Being otherwise produces. Without the acceptance of death, bitterness rules, and Hell triumphs.

When things break down, what has been ignored rushes in.

Your rights are my responsibilities.

Lao Tzu

If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

All the facts of science are not enough to understand the world's meaning!

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

Mark Manson

A relationship based on sacrifices cannot be sustained and will eventually become damaging to both individuals in it.

— 1,500 People Give All the Relationship Advice You'll Ever Need

Never insult or name-call your partner. Put another way: hate the sin, love the sinner.

— 1,500 People Give All the Relationship Advice You'll Ever Need

The vast majority of people can sense needy behavior right away—and it's a major turn off. The reason for this is that neediness is actually a form of manipulation, and people have a keen nose for manipulative bullshit.

— The No-Bullshit Way to Find “The One”

Think about it, if you're acting needy, you're trying to get someone to think of you in a certain way or act a certain way towards you for your own benefit. Think about the way you feel when someone is blatantly trying to sell you something with high-pressure, salesy tricks. It just feels wrong. It's a similar feeling when someone is acting in a certain way just to get you to like them.

— The No-Bullshit Way to Find “The One”

A needy person wants their friends to think they're cool or funny or smart and will constantly try to impress them with their coolness or humor or smart opinions about everything. A non-needy person just enjoys spending time with their friends for the sake of spending time with them and doesn't feel the need to perform around them.

— The No-Bullshit Way to Find “The One”

And so, if you take nothing else away from this, just know that the way to find true love is to be the best version of yourself and do it unapologetically and without shame. You'll attract people into your life who connect with you on your level and, just as importantly, you'll weed out all the people who don't.

— The No-Bullshit Way to Find “The One”
Patrick Winston

Your ideas are like your children, and you don't want them to go into the world in rags.

— MIT How to Speak, IAP 2018
Paul Graham

Find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly.

— Six Principles for Making New Things

If you can find a new approach into a big but apparently played out field, the value of whatever you discover will be multiplied by its enormous surface area.

— Fashionable Problems

Cultivate a habit of impatience about the things you most want to do. Don't wait before climbing that mountain or writing that book or visiting your mother. You don't need to be constantly reminding yourself why you shouldn't wait. Just don't wait.

— Life is Short

Relentlessly prune bullshit, don't wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That's what you do when life is short.

— Life is Short
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.

Ralphie May

If you're gonna dance with the devil you might as well lead.

Ricky Gervais

Trying to make the ordinary extraordinary is so much better than starting with the extraordinary.

Rémi Gaillard

C'est en faisant n'importe quoi qu'on devient n'importe qui.

Translates to It's by doing anything that we become anyone.

Or to It's by doing whatever that one becomes whoever.

Sam Harris

Listen, we are just human beings. Right? We're human beings first, before we're Hindu, or Buddhist, or Christian. We can all get indoctrinated into the religion of our parents. This is an artifice that's laid on top of something far deeper. That should be obvious.

Susan Sontag

Love words, agonize over sentences. And pay attention to the world.

Descriptions mean nothing without examples.

Time exists in order that everything doesn't happen all at once [...] and space exists so that it doesn't all happen to you.

The Two Popes (the 2019 movie)

Truth may be vital, but without love, it is unbearable.

When no one is to blame, everyone is to blame.

The Virtuoso (the 2021 movie)

The heart beats two and a half billion times during the average lifetime, but there's only one beat that really matters. The next one.

William Shakespeare

[...] for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

— Hamlet

Give every man thy ear but few thy voice.

— Hamlet
Wristcutters: A Love Story (the 2006 movie)

Once upon a time there was a crooked tree and a straight tree. And they grew next to each other. And every day the straight tree would look at the crooked tree and he would say: you're crooked, you've always been crooked, and you'll continue to be crooked. But look at me, look at me, said the straight tree, he said I'm tall and I'm straight. And then one day the lumberjacks came into the forest, and looked around, and the manager in charge said: cut all the straight trees. And that crooked tree is still there to this day, growing strong and growing strange.