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There is no wealth but life.
John Ruskin, 1819-1900, English author and poet
There's night and day, brother, both sweet things; sun, moon, and stars, brother, all sweet things; there's likewise a wind on the heath. Life is very sweet, brother; who would wish to die?
George Borrow, 1803-1881, English author, Lavengro (1851)
...a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us.
Sir Thomas Browne, 1605-1682, English author
...the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises.
Samuel Butler, 1835-1902, English novelist
...colour and warmth and light
And a striving evermore for these...
Julian Grenfell, 1888-1915, English poet, "Into Battle"
The mere sense of living is joy enough.
Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886, American poet
December 22, 1912
Palaeontology has its comfortable words too. I have revelled in my littleness and irresponsibility. It has relieved me of the harassing desire to live, I feel content to live dangerously, indifferent to my fate; I have discovered I am a fly, that we are all flies, that nothing matters. It's a great load off my life, for I don't mind being such a microorganism to me the honour is sufficient of belonging to the universe such a great universe, so grand a scheme of things. Not even Death can rob me of that honour. For nothing can alter the fact that I have lived; I have been I, if for ever so short a time.
W. N. P. Barbellion, 1889-1919, British naturalist, Journal of a Disappointed Man (1919)
I slept and dreamed that life was joy,
I awoke and saw that life was duty,
I acted, and behold duty wasjoy.
Rabindranath Tagore, 1861-1941, winner of the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature
Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life.
Epicurus, 341-270 BC, Greek philosopher
Is it so small a thing to have enjoyed the sun,
To have lived light in the spring,
To have loved,
To have thought,
To have done?
Matthew Arnold, 1822-1888, "The Hymn of Empedocles" (1852)
If you feel that life is one of God's jokes, there is still no reason why we shouldn't make it a good joke.
Kenneth Williams, 1926-1988, British actor
There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved.
George Sand, 1804-1876, French author
...is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
Mother Teresa, 1910-1997, Catholic missionary
...is one soul inhabiting two bodies.
Aristotle, 384-322 BC
...is someone you can be silly with.
Cecil Beaton, 1904-1980, photographer
I shall show you a love philtre compounded without drug or herb or witches' spell. It is this: if you wish to be loved, love.
Hecato, c. 100 BC, Stoic philosopher
Those four letters, L-O-V-E, contain multitudes. The Ancient Greeks used three different words in place of our catch-all one: Agape, the love that people have for God, duty, or family; Philia, which denoted the love we feel for friends; and Eros, love for a lover.
The simple act of falling in love is as beneficial as it is astonishing.
Robert Louis Stevenson, 1850-1894, Scottish writer
Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king.
Emma Goldman, 1869-1940, anarchist, "Marriage and Love," in Anarchism and Other Essays (1911)
If I can't love Hitler, I can't love at all.
Rev. A. J. Muste, 1885-1967, American pacifist, at a Quaker meeting in 1940
makes the world go round; will find a way; teaches even donkeys to dance; sees roses without thorns; pays no attention to dignity; makes the impossible possible; rules without rules; makes labor light; laughs at locksmiths; can be neither bought nor sold; rules his kingdom without a sword; understands all languages; conquers all; is as strong as death.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I Love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806-1861, English poet, Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850)
The Harian Metro newspaper in Malaysia recently reported that a thirty-three-year-old man from the north of the country has married a 104-year-old woman. It is the man's first marriage and the bride's twenty-first. Muhamad, an ex-army serviceman, declared that he had found peace and a strong sense of belonging after meeting Wook Kundor. The groom went on to say that he couldn't be accused of going after his wife's money as she had none.
Who said Iranian women were oppressed? A wife in Iran has managed to have her husband condemned for his avarice in a court of law. The stingy husband was ordered to buy 124,000 red roses for his wife. The court seized the man's apartment until all the roses appeared.
As reported in the Iranian daily, Etemad.
There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
Martin Luther, 1483-1546, German theologian
According to Professor Andrew Oswald, of Warwick University, "the singleton life is seriously bad for your health and can be almost as bad as smoking," while the wedded life actually boosts the immune system. If that's a bit too vague, research presented to the American Psychosomatic Society shows that, if you're happily married, cuts and grazes are likely to heal more quickly. Researchers monitored forty-two couples and found that their (medically induced) minor wounds healed almost twice as fast among those happily married than among those less so.
Marriage is the result of the longing for the deep, deep peace of the double bed after the hurly-burly of the chaise-longue.
Mrs. Patrick Campbell, 1865-1940, British stage actress
...In what stupid age or nation
Was marriage ever out of fashion?
Samuel Butler, 1612-1680, English poet
Man's best possession is a sympathetic wife.
Euripides, 484-406 BC, Antigone
The Virgin Islands, ironically, is the place with the highest marriage rate in the world.
Marriage, it has been proven, makes men more successful and richer. The 10 to 40 percent wage premium married men receive compared to their unmarried counterparts is in fact "one of the most well-documented phenomena in social science."
I think it's fair to say that personal computers have become the most empowering tool we've ever created. They're tools of communication, they're tools of creativity, and they can be shaped by their user.
Bill Gates, b. 1955, American businessman
Let me make the newspapers, and I care not what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in Congress.
Wendell Phillips, 1811-1862, American abolitionist and orator
The BBC World Service is perhaps Britain's greatest gift to the world this century.
Kofi Annan, b. 1938, UN secretary-general, in 1999
The printing press is the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.
T. E. Lawrence, 1888-1935, British soldier and writer
It's not that the world has got much worse, just that the news coverage has got so much better.
Often attributed to G. K. Chesterton, 1874-1936
In these times we fight for ideas, and newspapers are our fortresses.
Heinrich Heine, 1797-1856, German poet and writer
Here is the living disproof of the old adage that nothing is as dead as yesterday's newspaper...This is what really happened, reported by a free press to a free people. It is the raw material of history; it is the story of our own times.
Henry Steele Commager, 1902-1998, historian
Most of us probably feel we couldn't be free without newspapers, and that is the real reason we want the newspapers to be free.
Edward R. Murrow, 1908-1965, broadcast journalist
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1803-1873, English writer and politician
Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.
Thomas Jefferson, 1743-1826
Every time a newspaper dies, even a bad one, the country moves a little closer to authoritarianism; when a great one goes, like the New York Herald Tribune, history itself is denied a devoted witness.
Richard Kluger, b. 1934, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
Elbert Hubbard, 1856-1915, American writer and philosopher
Men are like wine. Some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.
Pope John XXIII, "The Good Pope," 1881-1963
In 1974, Janet Saltzman Chafetz, a sociology professor at the University of Houston, pinpointed the following Seven Areas of Masculinity:
1 Physical virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging
2 Functional breadwinner, provider for family as much as mate
3 Sexual sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable
4 Emotional unemotional, stoic, the proverb says Boys don't cry
5 Intellectual logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical
6 Interpersonal leader, dominating; disciplinarian; independent, free, individualistic; demanding
7 Other personal characteristics success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, proud, egotistical; moral, trustworthy; decisive, competitive, uninhibited, adventurous
Men build bridges and throw railroads across deserts, and yet they contend successfully that the job of sewing on a button is beyond them. Accordingly, they don't have to sew buttons.
Heywood Broun, 1888-1939, American journalist, Seeing Things at Night (1921)
We're more proficient than women at arm wrestling, fresco-painting, ice hockey and particle physics. We make better cabinets, sun decks and booster rockets. We know how to read a map. In the movies, most Westerns and martial arts films would be poorer without our presence. ...So let's renew our male mission and wear our antlers high on our heads. Let's stand up straight, aim well, and exercise our prerogative to leave the seat up. After all, we're MEN, and we hold a proud heritage in our hands.
Rick Bayan, b. 1950, at the Cynic's Sanctuary, January 1999
For those who have lost or are still looking for their masculinity, the ManKind Project promotes "accountability and integrity; connection to feelings; leadership, fatherhood; and the blessing of elders". Join more than forty thousand men worldwide who have participated in its primary training, the New Warrior Training Adventure, at www.mkp.org.
A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit and a violin; what else does a man need to be happy?
Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, German-born physicist
You don't understand life any better at forty than twenty, but you know it and you admit it. That's youth.
Jules Renard, 1864-1910, French author
Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age.
Victor Hugo, 1802-1885, French poet
At twenty years of age, the will reigns, at thirty, the wit; at forty, the judgment.
Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, Poor Richard's Almanac (1758)
At fifty you have the choice of keeping your face or your figure and it's much better to keep your face.
Dame Barbara Cartland, 1901-2000, Daily Mail (1981)
I want to retire at fifty. I want to play cricket in the summer and geriatric football in the winter, and sing in the choir.
Neil Kinnock, b. 1942, The London Times, July 28, 1980
Lady Bracknell: Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the very highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.
Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
Women are most fascinating between the ages of thirty-five and forty, after they have won a few races and know how to pace themselves. Since few women ever pass forty, maximum fascination can continue indefinitely.
Attributed to Christian Dior, 1905-1957, Collier's Magazine, June 10, 1955
Copyright © 2008 by Niall Edworthy and Petra Cramsie
You fall out of your mother's womb, you crawl across open country under fire, and you drop into your grave.
Quentin Crisp, 1908-1999, from An Evening with Quentin Crisp
There are only three events in a man's life; birth, life and death; he is unaware of being born, he dies in pain, and he forgets to live.
Jean de La Bruyere, 1645-1696, French essayist
What do baths bring to your mind? Oil, sweat, dirt, greasy water and everything that is disgusting. Such, then, is life in all its parts and such is every material thing in it.
Marcus Aurelius, 121-180, Roman Emperor, Meditations
The world is a grindstone and life is your nose.
Fred Allen, 1894-1956, American humorist
Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.
George Orwell, 1903-1950, "Shooting an Elephant" (1950)
...a cheap table d'hote in a rather dirty restaurant, with time changing the plates before you've had enough of anything.
Thomas Kettle, 1880-1916, Irish poet
...everywhere a state in which much is to be endured, and little to be enjoyed.
Samuel Johnson, 1709-1784, Rasselas (1759)
...just one damned thing after another.
Elbert Hubbard, 1856-1915, American writer and philosopher
It is not true that life is one damn thing after another it is one damn thing over and over.
Edna St. Vincent Millay, 1892-1950, American poet
Time is a great teacher, they say. Unfortunately, it kills all its pupils.
Hector Berlioz, 1803-1869, French composer
All day, every day, we breathe in a highly toxic substance which leads to the production of free radicals in our systems. These, in turn, sometimes cause damage to our DNA which may, occasionally, result in the formation of a tumor. This chain of events is statistically likely to happen over a long period of time, so, as we live for longer and longer lifespans, more and more of us will get cancer. Already, it's one in three. But it's no use trying to avoid inhaling the noxious stuff that will get us in the end: it's called oxygen.
Who would venture on the journey of life if compelled to begin it at the end?
Mme de Maintenon, 1635-1719, wife of Louis XIV
Life can then little else supply
But a few good fucks and then we die.
Thomas Potter, An Essay on Woman (1755)
I can understand companionship. I can understand bought sex in the afternoon. What I cannot understand is the love affair.
Gore Vidal, b. 1925, American writer, in The Sunday Times (London), 1973
...the desire to prostitute oneself. There is, indeed, no exalted pleasure that cannot be related to prostitution.
Charles Baudelaire, 1821-1867, French poet, Intimate Journals (1887)
...the desire of satisfying a voracious appetite with a certain quantity of delicate white human flesh.
Henry Fielding, 1707-1754, Tom Jones (1749)
...a sin in theology, a forbidden intercourse in jurisprudence, a mechanical insult in medicine, and a subject philosophy has no time for.
Karl Kraus, 1874-1936, Austrian satirist
I Liked You Better Before I Got to Know You So Well
How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night That Chewed Your Ass Out All Day Long
She Got The Ring and I Got the Finger
You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly
If I Can't Be Number One in Your Life, Then Number Two on You
I'm So Miserable Without You, It's Like You're Still Here
If The Phone Don't Ring, You'll Know It's Me
I Still Miss You Baby, But My Aim's Gettin' Better
If I Had Shot You When I First Wanted To, I'd Be Out of Prison by Now
We all know that romantic, passionate love doesn't last, but surely the "companionate" love it turns into is the real thing a long-term emotion that only grows as couples stay together through thick and thin? Not so, according to psychology professor Elaine Hatfield at the University of Hawaii. After a series of interviews with nearly 1,000 couples, she and her fellow social psychologist Jane Traupmann presented their findings that, contrary to prevailing wisdom, companionate love declines as precipitously as romantic love, and never stops declining.
Love is the fart
Of every heart:
It pains a man when 'tis kept close,
And others doth offend, when 'tis let loose.
John Suckling, 1609-1642, English poet, "Love's Offence"
Love seeketh only Self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a Hell in Heaven's despite.
William Blake, 1757-1827, "The Clod and the Pebble" (1794)
Greeting an ex-lover after several years:
I thought I told you to wait in the car.
Tallulah Bankhead, 1902-1968, American actress
A man without a wife is a man without a master.
Neither marriage nor war will go away once begun.
He who has a wife has pain.
I know nothing about sex because I was always married.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, b. 1917, Hungarian-born American actress
The most happy marriage I can picture or imagine to myself would be the union of a deaf man to a blind woman.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1772-1834, English poet
LOVE MAY BE BLIND, BUT MARRIAGE IS A REAL EYE-OPENER
MY OTHER WIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
NO HUSBAND HAS EVER BEEN SHOT WHILE DOING THE DISHES
Vienna, Austria, has a phenomenally high divorce rate: 69 percent. The city, therefore, has decided to hold a first Divorce Fair to enable people to meet the right lawyers, estate agents, travel agents, counselors, and so on. Sunday's fair is open to women and Saturday's to men.
How short can a Hollywood or celebrity marriage be? Some are chasing annulment just a few hours after getting hitched.
Elizabeth Taylor and Nicky Hilton 8 months
Lisa Marie Presley and Nicolas Cage 3 months, 15 days
Drew Barrymore and Jeremy Thomas 30 days
Cher and Gregg Allman 9 days
Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker 6 hours
He that has a wife, has strife.
A dead wife's the best goods in a man's house.
According to Charles L. Nunn of the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia, mammals that are monogamous or have small harem groups are more prone to extinction. Several duiker species which are monogamous died out around ten years after reserves had been set up for them in Ghana. The African buffalo, however, which has harems of about fifteen females, is still thriving in those reserves: "The most sexually active species...may have evolved elevated immune systems as a defense mechanism against disease. ...We looked at animal species with a range of mating behaviors and found a strong relationship between high white blood cell counts and high promiscuity in healthy animals."
In Kebbi State, northern Nigeria, the average age of marriage for girls is just over eleven years, against a national average of seventeen.
When a man opens the car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife.
Attributed to Prince Philip, b. 1921, Duke of Edinburgh
Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
Ben Hecht, 1894-1964, American playwright and screenwriter
Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility a development which we should waste little time dreaming about.
Lee de Forest, 1873-1961, inventor of the cathode ray tube
The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.
Terry Pratchett, b. 1948, English author
A newspaper consists of the same number of words whether there be any news in it or not.
Henry Fielding, 1707-1754, author
You can't take something off the Internet it's like taking piss out of a swimming pool.
Television? No good will come of this device. The word is half Greek and half Latin.
C. P. Scott, 1846-1932, editor
If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: President Can't Swim.
Lyndon B. Johnson, 1908-1973, U.S. president
The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?
Response of colleagues to a call from DAVID SARNOFF, American pioneer of broadcast media, to invest in commercial radio in the 1920s
My work is being destroyed almost as soon as it is printed. One day it is being read; the next day someone's wrapping fish in it.
Al Capp, 1909-1979, American cartoonist
There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.
T. Craven, U.S. Federal Communications commissioner, in 1961; the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965
It's estimated that about 1.4 blogs are created every second of every day. Since online sources of information on every subject under the sun can be constantly updated, our daily papers risk being out-of-date in more ways than one. Will newsprint survive the onslaught of the digital age?
There are two good men: one dead, the other unborn.
Men first feel necessity, then look for utility, next attend to comfort, still later amuse themselves with pleasure, thence grow dissolute in luxury, and finally go mad and waste their substance.
Giambattista Vico, 1668-1744, Italian philosopher
What is man, when you come to think upon him, but a minutely set, ingenious machine for turning, with infinite artfulness, the red wine of Shiraz into urine?
Isak Dinesen, 1885-1962, Danish writer, "The Dreamers" (1935)
A single sentence will suffice for modern man: he fornicated and read the papers.
Albert Camus, 1913-1960
Between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four, with the onset of the "testosterone storm," males are nearly five times more likely to die than females. It comes as no surprise to find that most of these deaths are from car accidents followed by homicide, suicide, cancer, and death by drowning. The difference between men and women then narrows until after fifty-five when, again, more men than women die, thanks to heart disease (five in a thousand), suicide, car accidents, and smoking and drinking. And, finally, when male and female get old, men will, on average, die five years younger than women do. Is that all? No. Men are about five times more likely than women to be struck by lightning.
He is the most ridiculous beast on earth and the reason is his mind and his pudendum.
Edward Dahlberg, 1900-1977, American novelist
A man is two people, himself and his cock. A man always takes his friend to the party. Of the two, the friend is the nicer, being more able to show his feelings.
Beryl Bainbridge, b. 1934, British author
There is, of course, no reason for the existence of the male sex except that one sometimes needs help with moving the piano.
Rebecca West, 1892-1983, Irish writer, Sunday Telegraph, 1970
In the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.
First Lady Abigail Adams, 1797-1801, letter to her husband John Adams, 1776
Until recently, men (not just male scientists) were the only ones who could make spermatozoa. But, in 2007, scientists discovered a way of making sperm cells from bone marrow, thereby opening up the possibility of a woman making sperm from her own bone marrow and fertilizing another woman's egg or vice versa and leaving men neatly out of the equation. Redundancy beckons, and probably no severance package.
The man who has cured himself of BO and halitosis, has learned French to surprise the waiter, and the saxophone to amuse the company, may find that people still avoid him because they do not like him.
Heywood Broun, 1888-1939, American journalist
The more I see of men, the more I like dogs.
Attributed to various French women of the 18th century
Fair, fat and forty.
Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832, St. Ronan's Well (1823)
In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself in a dark wood
Where the straight path was lost.
Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia, Inferno, Canto 1 (c.1320)
Faced with the collapse of his marriage, a forty-four-year-old Australian from Perth is planning to auction his life (his house, his job, his clothes, his friends) on eBay. By throwing out everything from his car to his friends, Ian Usher is planning to get rid of the chaos and the midlife blues that have beset his life and start again.
Everybody has a talent at twenty-five. The difficult thing is to have it at fifty.
Edgar Degas, 1834-1917, French artist
Forty is a terrible age. It is the age in which we become what we are.
Charles Péguy, 1873-1914, French writer
Nature gives you the face you have when you are twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But it is up to you to earn the face you have at fifty.
Attributed to Coco Chanel, 1883-1971, fashion designer
The man who views the world at fifty the same as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.
Muhammad Ali, b. 1942, American boxer
The man who is a pessimist before forty-eight knows too much; if he is an optimist after it, he knows too little.
Mark Twain, 1835-1910, American humorist, Notebook, December 1902
A team of economists, who published their results in the journal Social Science and Medicine, have shown that people's levels of happiness are definitely a curved shape. It would appear that we are happiest at the start and the end of our lives, making us pretty grumpy and depressed in the middle years between forty and fifty. This was a pattern that appeared not only in Europe and America, but in countries across the globe in Asia and Africa.
Copyright © 2008 by Niall Edworthy and Petra Cramsie