Kurt Bell

A life of courage, joy and independence.

Library

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This page contains a list of my favorite books and titles worth reading as a foundation to good thought and the pursuit of your own philosophy. Some books are enough, as suggested by Seneca: “You must linger among a limited number of master thinkers, and digest their works, if you would derive ideas which shall win firm hold in your mind.”

Below are a growing collection of my favorite quotes from the above listed writings.

It takes a tranquil and untroubled mind to roam freely across all parts of life.

-On the Shortness of Life by Seneca

Where do we find ourselves? In a series of which we do not know the extremes, and believe that it has none. We wake, and find ourselves on a stair; there are stairs below us, which we seem to have ascended; there are stairs above us, many a one, which go upward and out of sight. But the Genius which, according to the old belief, stands at the door by which we enter, and gives us the lethe to drink, that we may tell no tales, mixed the cup too strongly, and we cannot shake off the lethargy now at noonday. Sleep lingers all our lifetimes about the eyes, as night hovers all day in the boughs of the fir-tree. All things swim and glimmer. Our life is not so much threatened as our perception. Ghost-like we glide through nature, and should not know our place again.

-Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson

When a man’s spirit has been thoroughly crushed, he may be peevish at small offenses, but never resentful of great ones.

-The House of the Seven Gables by Nathanial Hawthorn

Whatever years lie behind us are in death’s hands.

-Moral Letters to Lucilius by Seneca

Do you ask what is the proper limit to wealth? It is, first, to have what is necessary, and, second, to have what is enough.

-Moral Letters to Lucilius by Seneca

“Give me the principles, and I will find the proofs myself.” -Chrysippus

I like this quote very much. However, I’d like it even more if there were some suggestion of what Chrysippus would do should the proofs prove nonexistent or of poor quality. Perhaps a slight change could communicate this important step:

Give me the principals, and I will find and attempt to discredit the proofs myself.

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