If Ideas Had Shapes

A quoteblog ranging from philosophers in bathrobes to galaxy-rises

Tag: life

Lewis Thomas – Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler’s Ninth Symphony (1983)

All of us, men, women, children, fish, sea grass, sandworms, dolphins, hamsters, and soil bacteria, everything alive on the planet, roll ourselves along through all our generations by replicating DNA and RNA, and although the alignments of nucleotides within these molecules are different in different species, the molecules themselves are fundamentally the same substance. We make our proteins in the same old way, and many of the enzymes most needed for cellular life are everywhere identical.



John Milton – Paradise Lost (1674)

…and every Starr perhaps a World
Of destind habitation…

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

“Life is a question of nerves, and fibers, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe, and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of color in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play—I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.”

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Each man lived his own life, and paid his own price for living it.

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.”

(Henry to Dorian)

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

It is the spectator, and not life, that art really mirrors.


Neil Gaiman – Trigger Warning (2015)

There. Consider yourself warned. There are so many little triggers out there, being squeezed in the darkness even as I write this. This book is correctly labeled. Now all we have to worry about is all the other books, and, of course, life, which is huge and complicated and will not warn you before it hurts you.


Neil Gaiman – Trigger Warning (2015)

Life imitates art, but clumsily, copying its movements when it thinks it isn’t looking.

(of ‘Feminine Endings’)

Alan Lightman – Mr. g (2012)

Nowhere is the joy of existence so apparent as in music. … The music dances and glides and swoops. Not that all of it is melodic or soft. But even the dissonant and the jarring contain a rapture, an ecstasy, an embrace of existence.

Sebastian Deterding – “What your designs say about you” (2011)

…And if you look into the designed environment around us with that kind of lens, asking, “What is the vision of the good life that our products, our designs, present to us?,” then you often get the shivers because of how little we expect of each other and of how little we actually seem to expect of our life.