Davis on Embracing Risks

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 3.54.37 PM.pngAny life truly lived is a risky business, and if one puts up too many fences against the risks one ends by shutting out life itself.



Kenneth S. Davis (1912-1999), American historian.


Adam Smith on Compassion

Screen Shot 2018-09-09 at 3.58.11 PM.pngWhen our passive feelings are almost always so sordid and selfish, how comes it that our active principles should often be so generous and so noble?

Adam Smith (1723-1790), Scottish philosopher.


From The Theory of Moral Sentiments, p. 137 

Human Relationships Are Like a Kind of Four-dimensional​ Chess

Screen Shot 2018-08-05 at 4.07.08 PMChess, which exists predominantly in two dimensions, is one of the world’s most difficult games. Three-dimensional chess is an invitation to insanity. But human relationships, even of the simplest order, are like a kind of four-dimensional chess, a game whose pieces and positions change subtly and inexorably between moves, whose players stare dumbly while their powerful positions deteriorate into hopeless predicaments and while improbable combinations suddenly become inevitable. To make matters worse, some games are open to any number of players, and all sides are expected to win.

From Time and the Art of Living (1982), by Robert Grudin, Section VII.9, p. 95 

Pirsig on Awareness

Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 12.19.37 PM.pngWe take a handful of sand from the endless landscape of awareness around us and call that handful of sand the world.


Robert M. Pirsig (1928-2017), American philosopher and novelist.



From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974), p. 82

Philosophy—The Art of Wondering

The following poem serves as the prelude to James L. Christian’s exquisite textbook Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering—the likes of which have yet to be seen again, for the book is not a traditional philosophy textbook, but rather presents the subject in a playful, engaging way.

Enjoy the poem. Philosophy begins in wonder. The unexamined life is not worth living.


The following pagesUnknown
may cause you to wonder.
That’s what philosophy is.

To philosophize
is to wonder about life—
about right and wrong,
love and loneliness,
war and death,
about freedom, truth, beauty, time…
and a thousand other things.

To philosophize
is to explore life.
It means breaking free
to ask questions.Unknown.jpeg
It means resisting
easy answers.
To philosophize
is to seek in oneself
the courage to ask
painful questions.

But if, by chance,
you have already asked
all your questions
and found all the answers—
if you’re sure you know
right from wrong,
and whether God exists,
and what justice means,
and why men fear and hate and pray—
if indeed you have done your wondering
about freedom and love and loneliness
and those thousand other things,
then the following pagesimages-1.jpeg
will waste your time.

Philosophy is for those
who are willing to be disturbed
with a creative disturbance

Philosophy is for those
who still have the capacity
for wonder.


Source: Philosophy: An Introduction to the Art of Wondering by James L. Christian (1973)

Heidegger on Philosophy

“Philosophy means asking: ‘Why are there beings at all instead of nothing?’ Actually asking this means venturing to exhaust, to question thoroughly, the inexhaustible wealth of this question, by unveiling what it demands that we question. Whenever such a venture occurs, there is philosophy.

imagesIt is entirely correct and in order to say, ‘You can’t do anything with philosophy.’ The only mistake is to believe that with this, the judgment concerning philosophy is at an end. For a little epilogue arises in the form of a counterquestion: even if we can’t do anything with it, may not philosophy in the end do something with us, provided that we engage ourselves with it?

We asserted that to ask this question [why is there something rather than nothing?] is to philosophize. Whenever we set out in the direction of this question, thinking and gazing ahead, then right away we forgo any sojourn in any of the usual regions of beings. We pass over and surpass what belongs to the order of the day. We ask beyond the usual, beyond the ordinary that is ordered in the everyday.

Philosophizing is questioning about the extra-ordinary…. Philosophizing, we can now say, is extra-ordinary questioning about the extra-ordinary.”


From Introduction to Metaphysics by Martin Heidegger (2000), pp. 8, 13-14 

Longfellow on Hard Times

Screen Shot 2018-07-02 at 1.12.31 PM.pngBe still, sad heart, and cease repining;

Behind the clouds, the sun is shining;

Thy fate is the common fate of all,

Into each life some rain must fall,

Some days must be dark and dreary.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), famous American Poet, from whose poem “The Rainy Day” this is taken.