One rarely falls in love without being as much attracted to what is interestingly wrong with someone as what is objectively healthy.
The moment we cry in a film is not when things are sad but when they turn out to be more beautiful than we expected them to be.
The price we have paid for expecting to be so much more than our ancestors is a perpetual anxiety that we are far from being all we might be.
Far from rejecting outright any hierarchy of success or failure, philosophy instead reconfigures the judging process, lending legitimacy to theidea that themainstream value system may unfairly consign some people to disgrace and others to respectability.
We don't need to be constantly reasonable in order to have good relationships; all we need to have mastered is the occasional capacity to acknowledge with good grace that we may, in one or two areas, be somewhat insane.
One's doing well if age improves even slightly one's capacity to hold on to that vital truism: This too shall pass.
The media insists on taking what someone didn't mean to say as being far closer to the truth than what they did.
I never wavered in my certainty that God did not exist. I was simply liberated by the thought that there might be a way to engage with religion without having to subscribe to its supernatural content - a way, to put it in more abstract terms, to think about Fathers without upsetting my respectful memory of my own father. I recognized that my continuing resistance to theories of an afterlife or of heavenly residents was no justification for giving up on the music, buildings, prayers, rituals, feasts, shrines, pilgrimages, communal meals and illustrated manuscripts of the faiths.
However powerful our technology and complex our corporations, the most remarkable feature of the modern working world may in the end be internal, consisting in an aspect of our mentalities: in the widely held belief that our work should make us happy. All societies have had work at their centre; ours is the first to suggest that it could be something more than a punishment or a penance. Ours is the first to imply that we should seek to work even in the absence of a financial imperative.
The materialistic view of happiness of our age starkly revealed in our understanding of the word luxury.
Don't despair: despair suggests you are in total control and know what is coming. You don't - surrender to events with hope.
It is hope--with regard to our careers, our love lives, our children, our politicians, and our planet--that is primarily to blame for angering and embittering us. The incompatibility between the grandeur of our aspirations and the mean reality of our condition generates the violent disappointments which rack our days and etch themselves in lines of acrimony across our faces.
What makes the prospect of death distinctive in the modern age is the background of permanent technological and sociological revolution against which it is set, and which serves to strip us of any possible faith in the permanence of our labours. Our ancestors could believe that their achievements had a chance of bearing up against the flow of events. We know time to be a hurricane. Our buildings, our sense of style, our ideas, all of these will soon enough be anachronisms, and the machines in which we now take inordinate pride will seem no less bathetic than Yorick's skull.
For the rest of history, for most of us, our bright promise will always fall short of being actualised; it will never earn us bountiful sums of money or beget exemplary objects or organisations....Most of us stand poised at the edge of brilliance, haunted by the knowledge of our proximity, yet still demonstrably on the wrong side of the line, our dealings with reality undermined by a range of minor yet critical psychological flaws (a little too much optimism, an unprocessed rebelliousness, a fatal impatience or sentimentality). We are like an exquisite high-speed aircraft which for lack of a tiny part is left stranded beside the runway, rendered slower than a tractor or a bicycle.
Philosophy, art, politics, religion and bohemia have never sought to do away entirely with the status hierarchy; they have attemptee, rather, to institute new kinds of hierarchies based on sets of values unrecognised by, and critical of, those of the majority.. They have provided us with persuasive and consoling reminders that there is more than one way of succeeding in life.
We believe we are seeking happiness in love, but what we are really after is familiarity. We are looking to re-create, within our adult relationships, the very feelings we knew so well in childhood and which were rarely limited to just tenderness and care. The love most of us will have tasted early on came entwined with other, more destructive dynamics: feelings of wanting to help an adult who was out of control, of being deprived of a parent’s warmth or scared of his or her anger, or of not feeling secure enough to communicate our trickier wishes.How logical, then, that we should as adults find ourselves rejecting certain candidates not because they are wrong but because they are a little too right—in the sense of seeming somehow excessively balanced, mature, understanding, and reliable—given that, in our hearts, such rightness feels foreign and unearnt. We chase after more exciting others, not in the belief that life with them will be more harmonious, but out of an unconscious sense that it will be reassuringly familiar in its patterns of frustration.
...workplace dynamics are no less complicated or unexpectedly intense than family relations, with only the added difficulty that whereas families are at least well-recognised and sanctioned loci for hysteria reminiscent of scenes from Medea, office life typically proceeds behind a mask of shallow cheerfulness, leaving workers grievously unprepared to handle the fury and sadness continually aroused by their colleagues.
You have to be quite heavily invested in someone to do them the honour of telling them you're annoyed with them.
Everyone endeavours to eliminate through the other individual his own weaknesses, defects, and deviations from the type, lest they be perpetuated or even grow into complete abnormalities in the child which will be produced.
The feeling one has no time to get anything done provides the pressure that guarantees one does get some things done.
Booksellers are the most valuable destination for the lonely, given the numbers of books written because authors couldn't find anyone to talk to.
We pick our friends not only because they are kind and enjoyable company, but also, perhaps more importantly, because they understand us for who we think we are.
Being political doesn’t only or principally mean caring what party wins the next election, to be political is to care about the happiness of strangers.
It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things.
What we seek, at the deepest level, is inwardly to resemble, rather than physically to possess, the objects and places that touch us through their beauty.
You normally have to be bashed about a bit by life to see the point of daffodils, sunsets and uneventful nice days.
There is a danger of developing a blanket distaste for modern life which could have its attractions but lack the all-important images to help us identify them.
It is in dialogue with pain that many beautiful things acquire their value. Acquaintance with grief turns out to be one of the more unusual prerequisites of architectural appreciation. We might, quite aside from all other requirements, need to be a little sad before buildings can properly touch us.