The Wisdom of Hindsight

It is quite true what philosophy says: that life must be understood backwards. But then one forgets the other principle: that it must be lived forwards.

Soren Kierkegaard, The Journals of Soren Kierkegaard, Volume IV (1843). The quotation is often paraphrased: Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

The Family You Choose

In every life, no matter how full or empty one’s purse
there is tragedy.
It is the one promise life always fulfills.
Thus, happiness is a gift
and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes
and to add to other people’s store of it.
What happens if, too early
we lose a parent
that party on whom we rely for only everything?
What did these people do when their families shrank?
They cried their tears, but then they did the vital thing:
They built a new family, person by person.
They came to see that family need not be defined
merely as those with whom they share blood
but as those for whom they would give their blood.

A wedding toast delivered by Mr. Crummles in the film Nicholas Nickleby (2002) written and directed by Douglas McGrath.

No Monopoly on Truth

The idea that there is one people in possession of the truth, one answer to the world’s ills, or one solution to humanity’s needs, has done untold harm throughout history – especially in the last century. 

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006) and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize (2001), from his lecture at the Nobel Prize ceremony in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2001

The Problems of Mankind


The great thinker Said Nursi, from the village of Nurs, in Bitlis had a wise saying: “Mankind has three problems: Discrimination, poverty and ignorance. Discrimination can be solved with love and compassion, poverty with sharing, and ignorance can only be resolved by education.”


Spoken by Hadji Gumus in the film Five Minarets in New York also released as Act of Vengeance (2010) written and directed by Mahsun Kirmizigul.

Douplets: The Wisdom Within Us

What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Henry Haskins, Meditations in Wall Street (1940). Often misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, Oliver Wendell Holmes, or Henry David Thoreau.

All search is vain, until we begin to perceive that wisdom is within ourselves … then we may know the sun is rising, that the morning is breaking for us.

Swami Vivekananda (1863 – 1902), spiritual leader of Hinduism.

We Are Defined by the Choices We Make

We are all faced throughout our lives with agonizing decisions. Moral choices. Some are on a grand scale. Most of these choices are on lesser points. But! We define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are in fact the sum total of our choices. Events unfold so unpredictably, so unfairly, human happiness does not seem to have been included, in the design of creation. It is only we, with our capacity to love, that give meaning to the indifferent universe. And yet, most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying, and even to find joy from simple things like their family, their work, and from the hope that future generations might understand more.

Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)