It is not hard to live through a day, if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future, and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.
Living had got to be such a habit with him that he couldn’t conceive of any other condition.
What can be wrong That some days I hug this house Around me like a shawl, and feel Each window like a tatter in its skin Or worse, bright eyes I must not look through?
I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what I am. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that you were not in the beginning. If you knew when you began a book what you would say at the end, do you think that you would have the courage to write it? What is true for writing and for a love relationship is true also for life. The game is worthwhile insofar as we don’t know what will be the end.
Nothing changes. The bones of the mammoths are still in the earth.
That I cannot now predict your future is exactly what makes mine unpredictable. Our futures enter into each other. What is your future, and mine, becomes ours. We prepare each other for surprise.
You are in prison. All you can wish for, if you are a sensible man, is to escape. But how escape? One man can do nothing. But let us suppose there are ten or twenty men. If they work in turn and if one covers another they can complete the tunnel and escape. . . . No one can escape from prison without the help of those who have escaped before.
The coming to consciousness is not a discovery of some new thing; it is a long and painful return to that which has always been. . . . It is when we admit our powerlessness that the guide appears.
I sell mirrors in the city of the blind.
We cannot make a religion for others, and we ought not to let others make a religion for us. Our own religion is what life has taught us.
God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.
Of the terrible doubt of appearances, of the certainty that after all we may be deluded. . . . Maybe the things I perceive, the animals, plants, men, hills, shining and flowing waters, the sky of night and day, colors, densities, forms, maybe they are (as doubtless they are) only apparitions, and the real something yet to be known.
Einstein’s space is no closer to reality than Van Gogh’s sky. . . . The scientist’s discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is biased by the observer’s frame of reference, which differs from period to period, as a Rembrandt nude differs from a nude by Monet.
In the future, everyone will speak the same language. However, no one will speak it really well.
There is a great difference between taking a thing seriously and taking it literally.
Rabbi Irving Greenberg: “You just learned one of the secrets of Jewish survival. We disagree with each other all the time.”
Rabbi Laurence Kushner: “No we don’t.”