Quotes of the week: André Gide

quotation-marksIt’s been awhile since I put some quotes up. A shame really because I continually find interesting ones, so I thought I’d rectify that by now selecting a single author and put up a selection of quotes. If I like it, I might do this more often – selecting a single person, a book, or a theme, and give the quotes a bit of context.

Why André Gide? Who is that guy anyway?

Tell you what, I hadn’t heard of him until recently! But his quotes are quite interesting. According to the Infallable Wiki God Website, he was a gay French novelist who was friends with Oscar Wilde. Could have worse credentials than that!

Given my total and utter lack of time to read anything (this is just a matter of priority and my own fault, but still, I read almost nothing) I’m unlikely to read any of his books. His quotes are good though.

To start with, a quote NOT from Gide, but from Dr. Seuss, an American writer of children’s books. He’s an interesting character, too, and maybe more on him later, but it was a quote by him that then lead me to Gide:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. (Dr. Seuss)

Which I think is a very good idea and true, too. I’d read that quote a while back, and then read this related one on another website – which turns out is a quote from, you guessed it:

It’s better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.

Slightly different but with the same message, i.e. being yourself is better than pretending. I’m trying to live my life more according to these principles now than I have done for a few years – trying to appease various easily-upset girlfriends was of course an impossible task, but realising that took longer than it should have.

 Speaking of ex-girlfriends, this quote is quite pertinent, too:

Most quarrels amplify a misunderstanding.

Simple, yet true, if you think about it. Worth keeping in mind next time I (you?) quarrel (although I try never to – it’s a bloody waste of time and energy, and non-constructive, too). Besides:

The color of truth is gray.

Something that is, almost by definition, lost in a quarrel (think entrenchement).

Gide said more interesting things about life, such as:

Nothing prevents happiness like the memory of happiness.

This I can definitely attest to, having at various times in my life spent a few months to many doing not much, for no other reason than, well, thinking about how times used to be good, or could/should/would be good, or whatever. Of course that mindset actually prevented times from being good… something I now realise. Hindsight – greatest thing.

Speaking of attitude, this is reasonably close to my current mindset:

Welcome anything that comes to you, but do not long for anything else.

I found that expectations and anticipation were very bad for my happiness for a long time. Build them high and they can only disappoint – nothing and no-one can live up to them. So instead now I try to expect “nothing” and be happy with whatever does fall my way. Works quite well so far I must say.

Finally this is a quote that not only is related to the first quotes above, but also is well applicable to this blog – it’s all too easy not to write something, because I think “but that is SO obvious, why need I even write it?”. Well, maybe I should write it, because it is obvious, not despite it being obvious.

The most important things to say are those which often I did not think necessary for me to say – because they were too obvious.

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