When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.
—John Lennon (1940–80) British Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Activist
Wisdom is meaningless until your own experience has given it meaning, and there is wisdom in the selection of wisdom.
Our senses are indeed our doors and windows on this world, in a very real sense the key to the unlocking of meaning and the wellspring of creativity.
—Jean Houston (b.1937) American New Thought Author, Speaker
Return to the root and you will find the meaning.
—Jianzhi Sengcan (d.606) Chinese Buddhist Poet, Religious Leader
Life may have no meaning. Or even worse, it may have a meaning of which I disapprove.
—Ashleigh Brilliant (b.1933) British Cartoonist, Author
I don’t want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally.
—Zelda Fitzgerald (1900–48) American Novelist
This life is worth living, we can say, since it is what we make it.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
—Thornton Wilder (1897–1975) American Novelist, Playwright
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
—Emily Dickinson (1830–86) American Poet
The meaning of things lies not in the things themselves, but in our attitude towards them.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1900–44) French Novelist, Aviator
Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
—Helen Keller (1880–1968) American Author
The main facts in human life are five: birth, food, sleep, love and death.
—E. M. Forster (1879–1970) English Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist
My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?
—Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000) American Cartoonist, Writer, Artist
To know is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.
—Confucius (551–479 BCE) Chinese Philosopher
Weapons are like money; no one knows the meaning of enough.
—Martin Amis (b.1949) American Novelist, Short Story Writer
God created a number of possibilities in case some of his prototypes failed — that is the meaning of evolution.
—Graham Greene (1904–91) British Novelist, Playwright, Short Story Writer
It is really true what philosophy tells us, that life must be understood backwards. But with this, one forgets the second proposition, that it must be lived forwards.
—Soren Kierkegaard (1813–55) Danish Philosopher, Theologian
If God exists and we are made in his image we can have real meaning, and we can have real knowledge through what he has communicated to us.
—Francis Schaeffer (1912–84) American Presbyterian Religious Leader, Theologian, Philosopher
It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how things are in themselves. The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.
—Carl Gustav Jung (1875–1961) Swiss Psychologist, Psychiatrist, Philosopher
We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.
—Marian Wright Edelman (b.1939) American Civil Regrets Advocate, Humanitarian, Lawyer