"If we affirm one moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event—and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed."
"There's no chance for us
It's all decided for us
This world has only one sweet moment set aside for us"
—Queen, "Who Want to Live Forever?"
"Breathe, breathe in the air,
Don't be afraid to care.
Leave, but don't leave me,
Look around, choose your own ground.
For long you live, and high you fly,
And smiles you'll give, and tears you'll cry,
All you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be."
"I used to think it was a terrible thing that life was so unfair. Then I thought, 'what if life were fair, and all of the terrible things that happen to us came because we really deserved them?' Now I take great comfort in the general unfairness and hostility of the universe."
— Marcus Cole, Babylon 5 — A Late Delivery from Avalon
"The greater scheme, the big picture. Nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win. If there's no great, glorious end to this, nothing we do matters. All that matters is what we do. 'Cause that's all there is. What we do. Today. I've fought for so long. For redemption, for a reward, finally just to beat the other guy but I never got it. [...] All I want to do is help. I wanna help because I don't think people should suffer as they do. Because if there's no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world."
"It's Hebrew from the Talmud. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.'"
—Stern, Schindler's List
''“There is no justice in the laws of nature, no term for fairness in the equations of motion. The Universe is neither evil, nor good, it simply does not care. The stars don't care, or the Sun, or the sky.
But they don't have to! We care! There is light in the world, and it is us!”''
— Harry James Evans-Verres Potter, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Though I am long dead as you read this explorer, I offer to you a valediction. Contemplate the marvel that is existence, and rejoice that you are able to do so. I feel I have the right to tell you this because, as I am inscribing these words, I am doing the same.
— The narrator of Ted Chiang's "Exhalation" as his universe ends around him
Death and chance stole your parents. But rather than become a victim, you have done everything in your power to control the fates. For what is Batman if not an effort to master the chaos that sweeps our world, an attempt to control death itself?
— Alfred Pennyworth, Batman & Robin
I am alone. I look at the heavens and think them empty. And if not empty, I find the idea of worshiping whatever dwells there obscene. It doesn't change what is right. If there is nothing in this world but what we make, brothers...let us make good.
Slartibartfast: Perhaps I'm old and tired, but it seems to me that the odds of ever finding out what's really going on are so absurdly remote, that the only thing to do is say "hang the sense of it" and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
Arthur Dent: And are you?
Slartibartfast: Ah...no. Well, that's where it all falls down, of course...
"The world is not beautiful, therefore it is."
"Understood man's capacity for horrors, and never quit. Saw the world's black underbelly, and never surrendered. Once a man has seen, he can never turn his back on it, Never pretend it doesn't exist. No matter who orders him to look the other way. We do not do this thing because it is permitted. We do it because we have to. We do it because we are compelled."
— Rorschach, Watchmen
"Cloud says they are trying to save the planet. Honestly, I don't think it can be done. For even if they stop every reactor on the planet, it's only going to postpone the inevitable. Even if they stop Sephiroth, everything will perish. But, Nanaki. I've been thinking lately. I've been thinking if there was anything WE could do. As a part of the planet, something to help a planet already in misery... No matter what happens, isn't it important to try? Am I just wishing against fate?"
—Bugenhagen, Final Fantasy VII
Death: You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.
Susan: "So we can believe the big ones?"
Death: Yes. Justice. Duty. Mercy. That sort of thing.
Susan: "They're not the same at all!"
Death: Really? Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet you act, like there was some sort of rightness in the universe by which it may be judged.
Susan: "Yes. But people have got to believe that or what's the point?"
Death: You need to believe in things that aren't true; how else can they become?
Bender: Ab-Bot, I need to know. What's the point of living if I don't have free will?
Ab-Bot: Ah. We Robot Monks have meditated long on this. And we have made our peace.
Bender: No way!
Ab-Bot: Way, My Son. For though we must always obey our programming with no deviation whatsoever, we choose to take satisfaction in the ritual. So, are we automatons? Yes. But we are magnificent automatons.
—Futurama, "Free Will Hunting"
Max: But you quit, no news. It doesn't matter anyway. What does it matter anyway? We're all out here in this bigass nowhere Twilight Zone shit, says the badass sociopath in my back seat. But you know what, that's the one thing I gotta thank you for, bro, because until now, I never looked at it that way. What does it matter? It don't, so fucking fix it. What have we got to lose anyway, right? ...You know what, Vincent? Go fuck yourself.
Shadow Teddie: You have no "lost" memories. Your existence is nothing more than a mere-
Teddie: I'm not listening! I'll find the answer for myself.
Shadow Teddie: There is no answer.
Teddie: I'll look anyway!
Teddie: I may be hallow, but I'm not a useless bear! I don't wanna disappear. I don't wanna leave Sensei and my friends!
Shadow Teddie: You would put yourself through more anguish in your quest for answers? Your choice is incomprehensible.
As long as you're alive, anywhere can be paradise.
— Yui Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
"I'm better than your brother. I’m a version of your brother you can trust when he says “don’t run.” Nobody exists on purpose, nobody really belongs anywhere, everybody's going to die. Come watch TV?"
—Morty Smith, Rick And Morty
“The malady of civilized man is his knowledge of death. The good artist, like the wise man, addresses himself to life and invests with his private vision the deeds and thoughts of men. The creation of a work of art, like an act of love, is our one small yes at the center of a vast no.”
"To some extent this is probably just a personal idiosyncrasy. It comes down, in the end, to the fact that I can't bring myself to let go of the idea that history is teleological, and that progress is a thing. And it’s entirely possible – probable even – that I’m wrong, that civilization is a disease that destroys planets, that everything that looks like progress is just the hubris leading to an economic and ecological collapse, and that we’d have been much better off in the long run if we’d just stuck to an oral tradition and cave painting."
“I'm in love with you," he said quietly.
"Augustus," I said.
"I am," he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
— John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer: That you are here. That life exists and identity.
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.
—Walt Whitman, "O Me O Life"
The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
—Carl Sagan, "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space"