Life and living

The value of life lies not in its length, but in the use we make of it.

Michel de Montaigne, 1533–1592, Renaissance writer

As for the meaning of life, I do not believe it has any. I do not at all ask what it is, but I suspect that it has none and this is a source of great comfort to me. We make of it what we can and that is all there is about it.

Isaiah Berlin, 1909–1997, philosopher

I believe in living, the enjoyment of being, the fulfilment of our powers, the wonders of nature, the marvels of the cosmos. We don’t have to bother ourselves too much about what lies behind it all. It’s there. We are here. What is is. Our job is to get on with things, trying to make life better as we go.

Claire Rayner, 1931-2010, writer and broadcaster

Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles. What do we live for if not to make the world less difficult for each other?

Mary Ann Evans, 1819–1880, novelist better known as George Eliot

The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

Bertrand Russell, 1872–1970, philosopher, mathematician, social reformer and pacifist

Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked – as I am surprisingly often – why I bother to get up in the mornings. To put it the other way round, isn’t it sad to go to your grave without wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it?

Richard Dawkins, born 1941, evolutionary biologist and popular science writer.
Quote from Unweaving the Rainbow, 1998

If you don’t know the guy on the other side of the world, love him anyway because he’s just like you. He has the same dreams, the same hopes and fears. It’s one world, pal. We’re all neighbors

Frank Sinatra, 1915-1998, singer and actor

Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.

Kurt Vonnegut, 1922-2007, novelist

It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world.

John Steinbeck, 1902-1968, writer

I’m for decency — period. I’m for anything and everything that bodes love and consideration for my fellow man.

Frank Sinatra, 1915-1998, singer and actor

Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.

From the Russell-Einstein Manfesto, July 1955