Daily, @whoareweblog on Instagram, a thought-provoking quote is posted. It is intended to shift paradigms, inspire, and/or give perspective. Often, personal experience is considered in searching for quotes. Just as often, society’s experience is considered. Here, We dive into the top 8 Life-Saving Quotes of the Day posted in the year past.
“God Have Mercy on the Man Who Doubts What He’s Sure of…”
Bruce Springsteen is the perfect place to start due to his philosophical lyricism. The lyric “God have mercy on the man who doubts what he’s sure of…” is the last line of the song “Brilliant Disguise”. The line stands apart, barely intelligible as the mystery’s final pondering between two individuals romantically involved. But the line hits a broader chord.
It is my belief that many of us ‘know’ certain things. These ideations may be difficult to reconcile. They may require a complete change in life or an uncomfortable confrontation. And so we doubt, often to our own detriment. We may need to confront the conversation with our significant other about the relationship. We may need to quit our job and pursue something with more meaning. We may need to move to a warmer climate, take a vacation by ourselves, or step down from CEO to barista to feel connected to life once again.
This beautiful Idea inspires courage and certainty, self-knowledge and hope. And perhaps most importantly, forgiveness at the times we lack the courage to go in the direction of our dreams.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us….”
Gandalf the Grey so poignantly explains to Frodo, attempting to quell his despair. This may sound obvious or trite. In times when in the greatest despair, the simplicity of this idea is the remedy. Gandalf restates the idea that the quality of life is 90% your reaction to life’s events. It’s about what is done. Additionally, there is a boundary of time.
The average human lifespan is seventy-nine years. That’s 4,108 weeks. In your first ten years, you can’t do much about your living conditions. That’s 520 weeks of life. By the age of twenty, you’re beginning to find your identity. That’s 1,040 weeks, more than 25% of your life. By the age of thirty, you begin to understand who you are and what is sought. There’s still some exploring left to do. At thirty-five, there’s kids, bills, a mortgage, and a 401k – you’re a grown-up. That cost you 1,820 weeks. Without offending anyone, let’s say the last nine years of your life, you may not be as mobile and able – that’s 468 weeks. That totals at 2,288 weeks.
Time is limited. Are you deciding properly what to do with the time given?
“And those who were dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
The individual experience is unique. Many of the ideas that now guide everyday understanding were initially seen as insane. Consider Galileo. Essentially, labeled foolish, an absurdist, and a heritic by the powers that be. His life, reputation and livelihood threatened by his notion the earth was not the center of the galaxy. Instead, he suggested the sun was the center point. Galileo knew this to be true by the evidence he gathered, the measurements and observations made. He was dancing – but no one could hear the music.
This is true for many. Intuition suggests something not evident and we ignore or subdue it because we can’t be seen “dancing”, at least when no one else can hear the music. This idea reminds us to know what we know and know it to our core…the world will come around.
“Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around.”
Vanilla Sky (Abre Los Ojos) is a wonderful movie. In the main character’s dream of a perfect life, his love, Sofia, presents this fantastical idea. The idea reveals we are not what we’ve done. There is little to be done about past actions. We have only the present and the future. The idea is fascinating, freeing us from past guilt and allowing us the opportunity to learn.
The idea served as a gateway to the concept of mindfulness. Each moment is a moment of transition, a moment of change. The extent of that change is in our power to control. Also, the moment is passing – you’re in a moment, right now. Right now, there exists an opportunity to change course, to begin again. In the comfort of this thought exists peace and hope. In Sofia’s certainty, an opportunity for healing and growth.
“The quality of your life is more important than the destination of your life.”
Sam Harris is a modern-day philosopher. Stark and unforgiving, his certainty is sometimes daunting. However, here he points to a softer idea. Humanity hurriedly makes its way, rushing and plotting the way through life. Yet, when the perceived destination is reached, there is often a disappointment. This is because there is still a drive to arrive at another destination.
Combining elements of the hedonic treadmill, mindfulness, and gratitude, this quote plainly points out that our drive forward has the ability to distract us from the place we’ve arrived. And at times, there is the need to reorient that drive towards the quality of the current stop on the journey. At a level deeper, enjoying the “now” will only make it easier to enjoy the “then” – our destination. After all, the place you currently occupy was once a destination, right?
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
I recently experienced this as a personal phenomenon. I came across a book (doesn’t matter which) that connected me with deep parts of myself, revealing long-forgotten desires, hopes, dreams, and personal truths that I long had forgotten. Art does that. It reorients the way we see the world, ourselves, and our relation to it. From these different vantages, we can see into different cracks in our spirits, our souls. Like finding coins in the couch or a twenty in a pair of jeans, this discovery and rediscovery bring us to life.
Though many times in my life I’ve experienced this, this quote from Sharon Begley reminds me that something out there will awaken my spirit once again, though its eternal death seems imminent. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. Find it, and rekindle your spirit.
“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Dylan Thomas forever changed the way I felt about words. He is very earthy in their use. The unique way he put words to the experience of human emotion has never been replicated. In this poem (aptly titled: Do not go gentle into that good night), Thomas gives a holy rendition of the perseverance of the human spirit. Against all odds, against all rationale, against the foe of death…fight.
Perhaps one of the greatest features of the human spirit is perseverance. Against insurmountable obstacles, the illogical, emotional predilection to overcome, defeat, and outlast is universally admired. The poem stirs the instinctual human belief that there is no unconquerable enemy, no miracle too large to occur, and no hope too great to hold. All is possible through the perseverance of the human spirit.
Thomas asks us to hold all these fires close to our heart and conquer the darkness, to fight for life and the magic tenacity of the human spirit.
“If life transcends death, then I will seek for you there. If not, then there too.”
These words are uttered by Arjun in the second novel in the Expanse series, Caliban’s War. The words, an expression of his undying love for his emotionally unavailable, politician wife. A certainty is expressed in the love he has for his wife. A lack of rational thinking in the matter is purposed without thought. There is something admirable about this level of devotion. Another piece suggests a hope of love’s eternal binding: the suggestion that love itself is eternal, the human desire for eternal life.
In the context of the story, Arjun serves as his wife’s only tether to the chaos and irrationality of her own humanity. She relies on him to provide this, as she struggles to stand above the fray and manage humanity.
The excerpt serves as a reminder that the true beauty of humanity may be in our chaos, thoughtless devotion to love and the magic of the experience.