“Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature,”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature,”
“There exists a popular Greek legend which talks about a mermaid who lived in the Aegean for hundreds of years who was thought to be Thessalonike. The legend states that Alexander, in his quest for the Fountain of Immortality, retrieved with great exertion a flask of immortal water with which he bathed his sister's hair. When Alexander died his grief-stricken sister attempted to end her life by jumping into the sea.
Instead of drowning, however, she became a mermaid passing judgment on mariners throughout the centuries and across the seven seas. To the sailors who encountered her she would always pose the same question: "Is Alexander the king alive?" (Greek: Ζει ο βασιλιάς Αλέξανδρος?), to which the correct answer would be "He lives and reigns and conquers the world" (Greek: Ζει και βασιλεύει, και τον κόσμο κυριεύει!). Given this answer she would allow the ship and her crew to sail safely away in calm seas. Any other answer would transform her into the raging Gorgon, bent on sending the ship and every sailor on board to the bottom.”
– The Legend of Thessalonike of Macedon
“There are no new truths, but only truths that have not been recognized by those who have perceived them without noticing.”
– Mary McCarthy, “The Vita Activa”
“Action and feeling go together…by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling.” — William James
“For whatever reason, the heart cannot separate the world’s appearance and actions from morality and valor, and the power of every idea is intensified, if not actually created, by its expression in substance. Over and over in the butterfly we see the idea of transcendence. In the forest we see not the inert but the aspiring. In water that departs forever and forever returns, we experience eternity.”
— Mary Oliver, “Wordsworth’s Mountain,” Long Life
Who goes to dine must take his Feast
Or find the Banquet mean –
The Table is not laid without
Till it is laid within.
– Emily Dickinson, “Who goes to dine must take his Feast”
“I would love to announce that I’m a person without regrets but, alas, I am not. I have regrets. Many of them, in fact. Things I wish I’d done better. Times I wish I had more grace. Moments that required more kindness than I was able to summon.
No, I don’t believe a life that is lived perfectly is the goal. A life that has produced scars and wrinkles and a heart open enough that’s bound to get broken a few times. That’s what I’m after.
I read something that our souls have chosen this exact life. That death comes after you fulfill your prescribed journey. There’s something I quite liked about that — it’s a bit of magic, isn’t it?”
— Tales of the City, S1E10
“No man’s land. There was a time when stopping halfway across this bridge would have been unthinkable to you. How things change. … You have nothing to be sorry about. I was standing between you and your dreams for this place. You did what you had to do.”
“I thought you said this place was just sand.”
“Sand has its virtues. On sand, nothing is fixed. Nothing is permanent. And fates change so quickly. Yesterday Captain Hornigold was immovable from that fort. And Captain Vane was a beggar. Now look at them today. Yesterday I was a whore of little consequence easily dismissed, easily forgotten. Today I am a madam with an income and allies and a woman who has learned the most important of lessons. Never let anyone stand in between you and you’re ambitions. Thank you for teaching it to me.”
— Black Sails S01 E08
“There are no legacies in this life, are there? No monuments, no history. Just the water. It pays us, and then it claims us. Swallows us whole, as if we’d never been here at all.”
— Black Sails, S01 E08
“Life is economics. A natural system of profit and loss. Wholly reliant on perpetual storm to sustain itself. Violent gales of creative destruction ceaselessly creating paths for something new. The only true choice we have is to weather the storm, or to welcome it. I always strive for the latter. Because there can be no creation without destruction. No beginning without end.”
– What If, S1E1
"'Everything happens for a reason.' Think about that for a moment. All your efforts – personal, professional, carnal ... utter and absolutely slaves to some cosmically predetermined set of outcomes. As if we have no say in, let alone culpability for the defining moments in our lives. If you want a life of purpose, begin by inverting the notion that everything happens for a reason.
Redefine it. Not as some future explanation for terrible tragedy or glorious achievement, but as validation for the deliberate choices that lead us to these critical junctures in the first place. Assert authority over chance, fate, and destiny, because everything does happen for a reason. And that reason is you. To attain elite success, you must be willing to make the hard choices, do the unpleasant things, risk your most valuable assets. And do away with the shackles designed by society to limit us – love, marriage, children, and, above all, the uninvited imposition of lesser people's moral agendas. Because nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without sacrifice. And true greatness only comes to those willing to pursue at any cost."
– What If, S1E1
“It is never easy to confront life-changing news, especially when you are deeply embroiled in the everyday and the banal, which we always are. They absorb almost everything, make almost everything small, apart from the few events that are so immense that they lay waste to all the everyday trivia around you."
— Karl Ove Knausgaard
“I'm willing to work within your metaphor.”
— Robert Louis Stevenson
“To interact with people of a noble character is like walking in a room filled with fragrant orchids. After some time you can no longer smell their fragrance because you are now part of it.” — Confucius
"‘How? Why?’ doesn't really matter now. What does matter is that as of this moment, we are at war. You've trained for this. You're ready for this. Stand to your duties, trust your fellow shipmates, and we'll all get through this.”
– Captain Adama
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” — Epicurus