Saved Inspirations


“We have to create culture, don’t watch TV, don’t read magazines, don’t even listen to NPR. Create your own roadshow. The nexus of space and time where you are now is the most immediate sector of your universe, and if you’re worrying about Michael Jackson or Bill Clinton or somebody else, then you are disempowered, you’re giving it all away to icons, icons which are maintained by an electronic media so that you want to dress like X or have lips like Y. This is shit-brained, this kind of thinking. That is all cultural diversion, and what is real is you and your friends and your associations, your highs, your orgasms, your hopes, your plans, your fears. And we are told ‘no’, we’re unimportant, we’re peripheral. ‘Get a degree, get a job, get a this, get a that.’ And then you’re a player, you don’t want to even play in that game. You want to reclaim your mind and get it out of the hands of the cultural engineers who want to turn you into a half-baked moron consuming all this trash that’s being manufactured out of the bones of a dying world.” ~~Terence McKenna

” Maybe that’s the key to happiness—being sort of dumb, not wanting to know any of the answers.” ~~William Styron

“All of us have shameful thoughts. Why, if the mind of the average person—average, mind you—were exposed to public view I daresay he’d be stoned to death in a minute.” ~~William Styron

“‘…we stand at the back door of glory. Now in this setting part of time we are only relics of vanquished grandeur more sweet than God himself might have imagined: we are the driblet turds of angels, not men but a race of toads, vile mutations who have lost our lovewords.'” ~~William Styron

“[…] and I make it real by putting it into words. It is only by putting it into words that I make it whole; this wholeness means that it has lost its power to hurt me; it gives me, perhaps because by doing so I take away the pain, a great delight to put the severed parts together. Perhaps this is the strongest pleasure known to me”  ~~Virginia Woolf

“Everything in my own immediate experience supports my deep belief that I am the absolute center of the universe, the realest, most vivid and important person in existence. We rarely talk about this sort of natural, basic self-centeredness, because it’s so socially repulsive, but it’s pretty much the same for all of us, deep down. It is our default-setting, hard-wired into our boards at birth. Think about it: There is no experience you’ve had that you were not at the absolute center of. The world as you experience it is right there in front of you, or behind you, to the left or right of you, on your TV, or your monitor, or whatever. Other people’s thoughts and feelings have to be communicated to you somehow, but your own are so immediate, urgent, real — you get the idea. But please don’t worry that I’m getting ready to preach to you about compassion or other-directedness or the so-called “virtues.” This is not a matter of virtue — it’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default-setting, which is to be deeply and literally self-centered, and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.”  ~~David Foster Wallace

“But sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look over the roofs of Paris and think, ‘Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to write is one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.’”~~Ernest Hemingway

“All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.” ~~James Thurber

“In spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody. The essential substance of every thought and feeling remains incommunicable, locked up in the impenetrable strong-room of the individual soul and body. Our life is a sentence of perpetual solitary confinement.” ~~Aldous Huxley

“How good it would be to wake up and find that one had forgotten everything, absolutely everything. We are now in a civilisation of memory. It is important to know that if you press a button, you can have the reference you want, but it’s equally important to forget. There is too much memory, and people are suffocated by it, like in quicksands. Amnesia is hard, but it’s vital.” ~~Pierre Boulez

“Forgive me not according to my unworthiness, but according to Thy lovingkindness.” ~~Leo Tolstoy

“Why, one asked oneself, does one take all these pains for the human race to go on? Is it so very desirable? Are we attractive as a species?” ~~Virginia Woolf

“I can’t help but respect and sort of envy the moral nerve of people who truly do not care what others think of them, people like this also make me nervous, and I tend to do my admiring from a safe distance.” ~~David Foster Wallace

“But something is malignantly addictive if (1) it causes real problems for the addict, and (2) it offers itself as a relief from the very problems it causes. A malignant addiction is also distinguished for spreading the problems of the addiction out and in in interference patterns, creating difficulties for relationships, communities, and the addict’s very sense of self and spirit.” ~~David Foster Wallace

“Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer.” ~~Charles Henry Bukowski

“Nothing is real except the present, and already, I feel the weight of centuries smothering me. Some girl a hundred years ago once lived as I do. And she is dead. I am the present, but I know I, too, will pass.” ~~Sylvia Plath

“We only begin to live when we conceive life as tragedy.” ~~W. B. Yeats

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” ~~William Shakespeare

“Humility is perpetual quietness of heart. It is to have no trouble. It is never to be fretted or vexed, or irritable, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing that is done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised, it is to have a blessed home in myself where I can go in and shut the door and kneel to my Father in secret and be at peace, as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and about is seeming trouble.” ~~Unknown (plaque on Dr. Bob’s desk)

“If your everyday life seems poor, don’t blame it; blame yourself; admit to yourself that you are not enough of a poet to call forth its riches; because for the creator there is no poverty and no indifferent place.” ~~Rainer Maria Rilke

“To think about God is to disobey God,/Since God wanted us not to know him,/Which is why he didn’t reveal himself to us…” ~~Fernando Pessoa

“That’s why I read, as a stranger,/My being as if it were pages./Not knowing what will come/And forgetting what has passed,/I note in the margin of my reading/What I thought I felt./Rereading, I wonder: “Was that me?”/God knows, because he wrote it.” ~~Fernando Pessoa

“When it seems humanly impossible to do more in a difficult situation, surrender yourself to the inner silence and thereafter wait for a sign of obvious guidance or for a renewal of inner strength.” ~~Paul Brunton

“The word’s overused and banalified now, despair, but it’s a serious word, and I’m using it seriously. For me it denotes a simple admixture — a weird yearning for death combined with a crushing sense of my own smallness and futility that presents as a fear of death.” ~~David Foster Wallace

“Rural Midwesterners live surrounded by unpopulated land, marooned in a space whose emptiness starts to become both physical and spiritual. ~~David Foster Wallace

“Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people.” ~~David Foster Wallace

“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.” ~~Saint Francis de Sales

“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” ~~Franz Kafka

“The same pain that can blemish our personality can act as a creative force, burnishing it into an object of delight.” ~~Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

“The eye with which I see God is the same with which God sees me. My eye and God’s eye is one eye, and one sight, and one knowledge, and one love.” ~~Meister Eckhart, Sermon V

“This is also the real secret of the arts: always be a beginner.” ~~Shunryu Suzuki

“And meteorologists have nothing to tell people in Philo, who know perfectly well that the real story is that to the west, between us and the Rockies, there is basically nothing tall, and that weird zephyrs and stirs joined breezes and gusts and thermals and downdrafts and whatever out over Nebraska and Kansas and moved like streams into rivers and jets at and military fronts that gathered like avalanches and roared in reverse down pioneer oxtrails, toward our own personal unsheltered asses.” ~~David Foster Wallace

“Urge to come to terms with the ‘Outside,’ by
absorbing, ineteriorizing it. I won’t come out,
you must come in to me. Into my womb-garden
where I peer out. Where I can construct a universe
within the skull, to rival the real.” ~~Jim Morrison

“More or less, we’re all afflicted with the psychology
of the voyeur. Not in a strictly clinical or
criminal sense, but in our whole physical and emotional
stance before the world. Whenever we seek to break
this spell of passivity, our actions are cruel and
awkward and generally obscene, like an invalid who
has forgotten how to walk.”  ~~Jim Morrison

“Things aren’t so tangible and sayable as people would usually have us believe; most experiences are unsayable, they happen in a space that no word has ever entered.” —Rainer Maria Rilke

“The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them.” ~~Oliver Goldsmith

“‘One can’t believe impossible things,’ Alice said. ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.'” ~~Lewis Carroll

“Only gratefulness, in the form of limitless openness for surprise, lays hold of the fullness of life in hope.” ~~David Steindl-Rast

“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” ~~Pablo Picasso

“You have to have an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.” ~~Pablo Picasso

“As one can see when the eyes are open, so one can understand when the heart is open. ” ~~Hazrat Inayat Khan

“A bird does not sing because he has an answer. He sings because he has a song.” ~~Joan Walsh Anglund

“God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” ~~Meister Eckhart

The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” ~~Napoleon Hill

An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by its own fullness, not by its reception.  ~~Harold Loukes

“Most of our troubles are due to our passionate desire for and attachment to things that we misapprehend as enduring entities.” ~~Dalai Lama

“Smile, breath, and go slowly.”  ~~Thich Nhat Hanh

“Space is the breath of art.”  ~~Frank Lloyd Wright

“Faith is crumpling and throwing away everything, proposition by proposition, until nothing is left, and then writing a new proposition, your very own, to throw in the teeth of despair.”  ~~Mary Jean Irion

“I have no judgment about myself and my life. There is nothing I am quite sure about. I have no definite convictions – not about anything, really. I know only that I was born and exist, and it seems that I have been carried along. I exist on the foundation of something I do not know. In spite of all uncertainties, I feel a solidity underlying all existence and a continuity in my mode of being.” ~~C. G. Jung

“He who would be serene and pure needs but one thing, detachment.”  ~~Meister Eckhart

“To see a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.” ~~William Blake

“The root of suffering is attachment. You have created a space in your mind that holds a person or object as part of you. When that person or object is criticized, neglected or not with you, you feel pain in your mind and you experience a sense of loss. If you want to be happy, you must learn to love and appreciate while remaining independent.” – Anonymous

“If you want to receive divine light, pray. If you have begun to make progress and want this light to be intensified within you, pray. And if you have reached the summit of perfection and want to be super-illumined so as to remain in that state, pray.”  ~~Angela of Foligno

“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.” ~~Jalaluddin Rumi

“One day she took it a step too far and told him to go away and not to come back until he came to his senses.” ~~anonymous

“Looking at various means of developing compassion, I think empathy is an important factor: the ability to appreciate others’ suffering.” ~~Dalai Lama

“Gratitude is the intention to count-your-blessings every day, every minute, while avoiding, whenever possible, the belief that you need or deserve different circumstances.”~~Timothy Miller


  1. #1 by lovelyannie79 on January 17, 2011 - 10:10 am

    Fantastic collection of inspirations Carl! Thank you for sharing them…

    • #2 by Carl on January 17, 2011 - 8:04 pm

      Thank you for commenting. It’s nice to have a place to visit for them because my memory does not suffice with these things.

  2. #3 by Giovanni Cucullo on March 2, 2011 - 9:35 am

    Excellent collection of quotes, most of which are new to me.
    I will also revisit them.

    • #4 by Carl on March 2, 2011 - 10:02 pm

      I am glad you enjoyed them, Gio. It’s a bit strange of a collection because of the variety of topics. I add to the top when I add…

  3. #5 by nordicfreya on March 15, 2011 - 4:09 am

    Interesting and thought- and feel-friendly collection of quotes, Carl. I really enjoyed these and I may even steal a few for myself. 🙂

    • #6 by Carl on March 15, 2011 - 7:13 am

      I am so glad you enjoyed! It’s all in the sharing!

  4. #7 by Kathy Boles-Turner on July 26, 2011 - 8:51 am

    I do believe I must copy you 🙂 What a fantastic idea! And thanks most of all for showing me this:

    The strongest oak tree of the forest is not the one that is protected from the storm and hidden from the sun. It’s the one that stands in the open where it is compelled to struggle for its existence against the winds and rains and the scorching sun.” ~~Napoleon Hill

  5. #8 by pennycoho on October 1, 2012 - 1:37 am

    Thank you, Penny

    • #9 by Carl on October 6, 2012 - 4:20 pm

      Thank you for your comment.

  6. #11 by Rev Dani Lynn on October 3, 2012 - 12:46 am

    I love quotes. Thanks for sharing these. My favorite is “God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” ~Meister Eckhart. I hadn’t seen that one before. — Re the quote that begins “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer…” I tried looking it up online because I had seen it credited to Maya Angelou not Joan Walsh Anglund. I found it credited to both of them and also to a former NY Jets coach Lou Holtz and a couple places listed it as a Chinese proverb. ???

    • #12 by Carl on October 6, 2012 - 4:25 pm

      Thank you for your comment. I believe the bird singing quotation has roots with Buddha, but there have been many imitators.

  7. #13 by Carl D'Agostino on November 27, 2015 - 4:29 am

    Like the Thurber quote.

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