Quotations about   future

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The greatest danger to our future is apathy. We cannot expect those living in poverty and ignorance to worry about saving the world. For those of us able to read this magazine, it is different. We can do something to preserve our planet.

Jane Goodall
Jane Goodall (b. 1934) English primatologist and anthropologist
“The Power of One,” Time Magazine (26 Aug 2002)
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Added on 10-Feb-22 | Last updated 10-Feb-22
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Your task is to endure and save yourselves for better days.

[Durate, et vosmet rebus servate secundis.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 207 (1.207) [Aeneas] (29-19 BC) [tr. West (1990)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Endure the hardships of your present state;
Live, and reserve yourselves for better fate.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Bear up, and live for happier days.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

     Be firm,
And keep your hearts in hope of brighter days.
[tr. Cranch (1872), l. 263ff]

Keep heart, and endure till prosperous fortune come.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Abide, endure, and keep yourselves for coming days of joy.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Bear up; reserve you for a happier day.
[tr. Taylor (1907), l. 238]

     Have patience all!
And bide expectantly that golden day.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Endure, and keep yourselves for days of happiness.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Endure, and keep yourself for better days.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Hold on, and find salvation in the hope of better things!
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Hold out, and save yourselves for kinder days.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971)]

     Be patient:
Save yourselves for more auspicious days.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 282-83]

Endure, and save yourselves for happier times.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

     Bear up.
Save your strength for better times to come.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

     Hold on.
Save your strength for better days to come.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

Added on 5-Jan-22 | Last updated 5-Jan-22
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Those who are ahead of their time often have to wait for it in uncomfortable quarters.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
(Attributed)
Added on 4-Jan-22 | Last updated 4-Jan-22
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Lift up your hearts!
No more complaint and fear! It well may be
some happier hour will find this memory fair.

[Revocate animos, maestumque timorem
mittite: forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.]

Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 1, l. 202ff (1.202-203) (29-19 BC) [tr. Williams (1910)]
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(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Resume your courage and dismiss your care.
An hour will come, with pleasure to relate
Your sorrows past, as benefits of Fate.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Resume then your courage, and dismiss your desponding fears; perhaps hereafter it may delight you to remember these sufferings.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Come, cheer your souls, your fears forget;
This suffering will yield us yet
⁠A pleasant tale to tell.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

Recall your courage ; banish gloomy fears.
Some day perhaps the memory even of these
Shall yield delight.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Recall your courage, put dull fear away. This too sometime we shall haply remember with delight.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Come, call aback your ancient hearts and put your fears away!
This too shall be for joy to you remembered on a day.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Fear not; take heart; hereafter, it may be
These too will yield a pleasant tale to tell.
[tr. Taylor (1907)]

Recall your courage and put away sad fear. Perchance even this distress it will some day be a joy to recall.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Call the nerve back; dismiss the fear, the sadness.
Some day, perhaps, remembering even this
Will be a pleasure.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Take heart again, oh, put your dismal fears away!
One day -- who knows? -- even these will be grand things to look back on.
[tr. Day Lewis (1952)]

Call back
your courage, send away your grieving fear.
Perhaps one day you will remember even
these our adversities with pleasure.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 281ff]

Now call back
Your courage, and have done with fear and sorrow.
Some day, perhaps, remembering even this
Will be a pleasure.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 275ff]

So summon up your courage once again. This is no time for gloom or fear. The day will come, perhaps, when it will give you pleasure to remember even this.
[tr. West (1990)]

Recall your courage
And put aside your fear and grief. Someday, perhaps,
It will help to remember these troubles as well.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 238ff]

Call up your courage again. Dismiss your grief and fear.
A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this.
[tr. Fagles (2006)]

Perhaps one day it will be a joy to remember also these things.
[tr. @sentantiq (2011)]

Summon your spirits back, and abandon your sad fear:
perhaps one day even these things will be a pleasing memory.
[tr. @sentantiq/Robinson (2015)]

Perhaps one day it will be a joy to remember even these things
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

One day we’re going to look back on even this and laugh (maybe).
[tr. Tortorelli (2017)]

Perhaps someday it will bring pleasure to recall these things.
[tr. @sentantiq (2020)]

Be brave, let go your fear and despair.
Perhaps someday even memory of this will bring you pleasure.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

Commentary on this passage: A Hope for Better Days to Come – SENTENTIAE ANTIQUAE.
Added on 29-Dec-21 | Last updated 30-Dec-21
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If one were to write a book called “The Best Remedy against Self-Torment,” it would be very brief: “Let each day have trouble enough of its own.”

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Christian Discourses (Christelige Taler), Part 1 “The Cares of the Pagans,” ch. 6 (1848) [tr. Hong (1997)]
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Added on 27-Oct-21 | Last updated 27-Oct-21
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The past, which as always did not know the future, acted in ways that ask to be imagined before they are condemned. Or even simplified.

Paul Fussell (1924-2012) American cultural and literary historian, author, academic
“Thank God for the Atom Bomb,” The New Republic (26 Aug 1981)
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Reprinted in Thank God for the Atom Bomb and Other Essays (1988).
Added on 9-Sep-21 | Last updated 9-Sep-21
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You’ll ‘start living tomorrow’? Start living today already, Postumus, you’re running out of time. Anyone with sense started living yesterday.

[Cras vives? hodie iam vivere, Postume, serum est:
Ille sapit, quisquis, Postume, vixit heri.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 5, epigram 58 (5.58) [tr. Nisbet (2015)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). See a related sentiment by Martial here. Alternate translations:

Today to live, ev'n that's too late I say.
The wiseman, Posthumus, liv'd Yesterday.
[tr. Oldmixon (1728)]

You will live, you say, tomorrow; it is late, Posthumus, to live today; he is wise who lived yesterday.
[tr. Amos (1858), ch. 3, ep. 46, noted as Martial Book 5, ep. 59]

You will live tomorrow: even today it is too late to begin to live. He is the wise man, Postumus, who lived yesterday.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

To live today, Postumus, is already too late. He is wise, whoever he be, Postumus, who "lived" yesterday.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

"Tomorrow": -- nay, do not this moment delay.
The wise man is he who has lived yesterday.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

"Tomorrow"? -- Postumus, today's too late.
The wise man, Postumus, lived yesterday.
[tr. Whigham (1987)]

Forget tomorrow's teasing long delay.
To make life pleasant, dwell on yesterday.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Tomorrow will I live, the fool does say;
Today itself's too late; the wise lived yesterday.
[tr. Cowley, in Hay, "Appendix," ep. 59]

Thou'lt live tomorrow? -- this day's life's too late:
He's wise that lived before the present date.
[tr. Fletcher]

Believe me, wise men don’t say “I shall live to do that,”
Tomorrow’s life is too late; live today.

Added on 13-Aug-21 | Last updated 14-Jan-22
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Hence it is that, though in every age everybody knows that up to his own time progressive improvement has been taking place, nobody seems to reckon on any improvement during the next generation. We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason.

Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) English writer and politician
“Southey’s Colloquies on Society,” Edinburgh Review (1830)
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Review of Robert Southey, Sir Thomas More; or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829).
Added on 26-Jul-21 | Last updated 26-Jul-21
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“Inevitability” is a magic word with which to mesmerize the unwary. Only death is inevitable. Short of that, nothing is inevitable until it happens, and everything is inevitable once it has happened. The historian deals with past events and therefore to him all history is inevitable. But these past events were once in the future, and then they were not inevitable.

A. J. P. Taylor (1906-1990) British historian, journalist, broadcaster [Alan John Percivale Taylor]
“War by Time-Table,” War by Time-Table: How the First World War Began (1969)
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See also Taylor.
Added on 19-Jul-21 | Last updated 19-Jul-21
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Nearly all creators of Utopia have resembled the man who has toothache, and therefore thinks happiness consists in not having toothache. They wanted to produce a perfect society by an endless continuation of something that had only been valuable because it was temporary. The wider course would be to say that there are certain lines along which humanity must move, the grand strategy is mapped out, but detailed prophecy is not our business. Whoever tries to imagine perfection simply reveals his own emptiness.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Can Socialists Be Happy?” Tribune (20 Dec 1943) [as John Freeman]
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Added on 15-Jun-21 | Last updated 15-Jun-21
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Combining rational intelligence with all the imagination we can command, let us project ourselves forcefully into the future. In doing so, let us not fear occasional error — the imagination is only free when fear of error is temporarily laid aside. Moreover, in thinking about the future, it is better to err on the side of daring, than the side of caution.

Alvin Toffler (1928-2016) American writer and futurist
Future Shock (1970)
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Added on 24-May-21 | Last updated 24-May-21
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We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

Elizabeth II (b. 1926) Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth realms
Address to the Nation (5 Apr 2020)
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On the COVID-19 Pandemic. The last line is an allusion to the famous WWII song.
Added on 17-Mar-21 | Last updated 17-Mar-21
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We’ll meet again,
Don’t know where,
Don’t know when,
But I know we’ll meet again
Some sunny day.

Ross Parker (1914-1974) English pianist, composer, lyricist, actor [Albert Rostron Parker]
“We’ll Meet Again” (1939) [with Hughie Charles]
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Added on 4-Mar-21 | Last updated 4-Mar-21
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Planning for the future without a sense of history is like planting cut flowers.

Daniel J. Boorstin (1914-2004) American historian, professor, attorney, writer
(Attributed)

Occasionally quoted with "... and hoping for the best" added to the end.
Added on 26-Oct-20 | Last updated 26-Oct-20
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One would expect people to remember the past and to imagine the future. But in fact, when discoursing or writing about history, they imagine it in terms of their own experience, and when trying to gauge the future they cite supposed analogies from the past: till, by a double process of repetition, they imagine the past and remember the future.

Lewis B. Namier (1888-1960) Polish-British historian
“Symmetry and Repetition” (1941), Conflicts: Studies in Contemporary History (1942)
Added on 22-Oct-20 | Last updated 22-Oct-20
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At the very least, comsats and personalized transceivers will banish forever the exasperation of waiting on a corner for a friend while he mistakenly waits for you on another.

Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) British writer
“Man and Space,” Life Science Library (1964)
Added on 16-Oct-20 | Last updated 16-Oct-20
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I do so wish sometimes, that I could just pop home for an hour or two as easily in the flesh as in the spirit. No doubt the explorers of 2015, if there is anything left to explore, will not only carry their pocket wireless telephones fitted with wireless telescopes but will also receive their nourishment and warmth by wireless means & also their power to drive their motor sledges, but, of course, there will be an aerial daily excursion to both Poles then & it will be the bottom of the Atlantic, if not the centre of the earth, that will form the goal in those days.

Thomas Orde-Lees (1877-1948) British naval officer, arctic explorer, mountaineer, writer
Diary entry, HMS Endurance (10 Jan 1915)

Written while the ship was trapped in the ice during Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Some versions of the quotation refer to "2012," rather than 2015.

While the reference to "pocket wireless telephones" makes this quotation suspect, Orde-Lees has extensive diary material published, and this appears to be genuine.
Added on 13-Oct-20 | Last updated 16-Oct-20
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He’d been wrong, there was a light at the end of the tunnel, and it was a flamethrower.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
Added on 13-Oct-20 | Last updated 13-Oct-20
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After titanic studies he was satisfied that a thorough knowledge of the past could lead a profound scholar to predict the future course of history with greater accuracy, provided that it did not turn out quite differently.

Aubrey Menen (1912-1989) English writer
The Ramayana (1954)
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Added on 9-Sep-20 | Last updated 10-Sep-20
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The future has no lobby.

Peter G. Peterson (1926-2018) American investment banker, author, politician
“The Morning After,” Atlantic (Oct 1987)
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When did the future switch from being a promise to being a threat?

Chuck Palahniuk (b. 1962) American novelist and freelance journalist
Invisible Monsters (1999)
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Added on 4-Aug-20 | Last updated 4-Aug-20
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For the lesson of such stories is simple and within everybody’s grasp. Politically speaking, it is that under conditions of terror, most people will comply but some people will not, just as the lesson of the countries to which the Final Solution was proposed is that “it could happen” in most places but it did not happen everywhere. Humanly speaking, no more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, ch. 14 (1963)
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Speaking of resistance to Nazi atrocities.
Added on 14-Jul-20 | Last updated 14-Jul-20
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Every great work of art has two faces: one toward its own time and one toward the future, toward eternity.

Daniel Barenboim (b. 1942) Argentine-Israeli pianist and conductor
Quoted in the International Herald Tribune (20 Jan 1989)

The above is sometimes cited to his collaborative dialog with Edward Said, Parallels and Paradoxes (2002), but the passage there is slightly different: "I think that every great work of art has two faces: one toward its own time and one toward eternity."
Added on 14-May-20 | Last updated 15-May-20
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If you said to a bunch of average people two hundred years ago “Would you be happy in a world where medical care is widely available, houses are clean, the world’s music and sights and foods can be brought into your home at small cost, travelling even 100 miles is easy, childbirth is generally not fatal to mother or child, you don’t have to die of dental abcesses and you don’t have to do what the squire tells you” they’d think you were talking about the New Jerusalem and say ‘yes’.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
(Attributed)

Usually cited to alt.fan.pratchett, but not found in the repository.
Added on 17-Apr-20 | Last updated 17-Apr-20
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Keep cool: it will be all one a hundred years hence.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Montaigne; or, The Skeptic,” Representative Men, Lecture 4 (1850)
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Added on 25-Feb-20 | Last updated 19-Feb-22
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Mr. Khrushchev says that Communism, the police state, will bury the free ones. He is a smart gentleman, he knows that this is nonsense since freedom, man’s dim concept of and belief in the human spirit is the cause of all his troubles in his own country. But if he means that Communism will bury capitalism, he is correct. That funeral will occur about ten minutes after the police bury gambling. Because simple man, the human race, will bury both of them. That will be when we have expended the last grain, dram, and iota of our natural resources. But man himself will not be in that grave. The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.

William Faulkner (1897-1962) American novelist
Speech to the UNESCO Commission, New York (1959)

Quoted in The New York Times (3 Oct 1959)
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Prudent men are in the habit of saying — and not by chance or without basis — that he who wishes to see what is to come should observe what has already happened, because all the affairs of the world, in every age, have their individual counterparts in ancient times. The reason for this is that since they are carried on by men, who have and always have had the same passions, of necessity the same results appear.

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) Italian politician, philosopher, political scientist
The Discourses on Livy, Book 3, ch. 43 (1517) [tr. Gilbert (1958)]
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Alt. trans.: "The wise are wont to say, and not without reason or at random, that he who would forecast what is about to happen should look to what has been; since all human events, whether present or to come, have their exact counterpart in the past. And this, because these events are brought about by men, whose passions and dispositions remaining in all ages the same naturally give rise to the same effects." [tr. Thomson]
Added on 27-Jan-20 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
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The future always arrives too fast — and in the wrong order.

Alvin Toffler (1928-2016) American writer and futurist
(Attributed)
Added on 24-Jan-20 | Last updated 24-Jan-20
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Change is the process by which the future invades our lives.

Alvin Toffler (1928-2016) American writer and futurist
Future Shock, Introduction (1970)
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Added on 21-Jan-20 | Last updated 21-Jan-20
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Apologize, v.i. To lay the foundation for a future offense.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
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Added on 2-Feb-19 | Last updated 2-Feb-19
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In the end, the American Dream is not a sprint or even a marathon, but a relay.

Julián Castro (b. 1974) American politician and bureaucrat
Speech, Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC (4 Sep 2012)
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Added on 8-Aug-18 | Last updated 8-Aug-18
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What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you — what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind — you have to lean into that and figure out what to do, because complaining isn’t a strategy.

Jeff Bezos (b. 1964) American business magnate, entrepreneur, investor
Interview, ABC News (25 Sep 2013)
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Added on 16-Feb-18 | Last updated 16-Feb-18
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We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.

Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983) American architect, engineer
(Attributed)

Quoted in L. Steven Sieden, A Fuller View (2012).
Added on 12-Feb-18 | Last updated 12-Feb-18
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‘Tis not, believe me, a wise man’s part to say, “I will live.” Tomorrow’s life is too late: live today.

[Non est, crede mihi, sapientis dicere “Vivam”:
Sera nimis vita est crastina: vive hodie.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 1, epigram 15 (1.15) [tr. Bohn’s (1859)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Trust me, it is not wise to say,
I'll live; 'twill be too late tomorrow,
Live if thou'rt wise today.
[tr. Oldmixon (1728)]

"I'll live tomorrow," will a wise man say?
Tomorrow is too late, then live today.
[tr. Hay (1755), quoted in Bohn's, but not in Hay's own book]

Tomorrow I shall live, the fool will say. [...]
Wouldst thou be sure of living? Live today.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 2, ep. 45]

It sorts not, believe me, with wisdom to say "I shall live."
Too late is tomorrow's life; live thou today.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

To say, "I mean to live," is folly's place:
Tomorrow's life comes late; live, then, today.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

No sage will e'er "I'll live tomorrow" say:
Tomorrow is too late: live thou today.
[tr. WSB]

Added on 16-Aug-17 | Last updated 14-Jan-22
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Back in the nineteen-hundreds it was a wonderful experience for a boy to discover H. G. Wells. There you were, in a world of pedants, clergymen and golfers, with your future employers exhorting you to “get on or get out”, your parents systematically warping your sexual life, and your dull-witted schoolmasters sniggering over their Latin tags; and here was this wonderful man who could tell you about the inhabitants of the planets and the bottom of the sea, and who knew that the future was not going to be what respectable people imagined.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Wells, Hitler, and the World State,” Horizon (Aug 1941)
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Added on 27-Jul-17 | Last updated 31-Jul-17
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We are the highest achievement reached so far by the great constructors of evolution. We are their “latest” but certainly not their last word. The scientist must not regard anything as absolute, not even the laws of pure reason. He must remain aware of the great fact, discovered by Heraclitus, that nothing whatever really remains the same even for one moment, but that everything is perpetually changing. To regard man, the most ephemeral and rapidly evolving of all species, as the final and unsurpassable achievement of creation, especially at his present-day particularly dangerous and disagreeable stage of development, is certainly the most arrogant and dangerous of all untenable doctrines.

Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) Austrian zoologist, ethologist, ornithologist
On Aggression, ch. 12 “On the Virtue of Scientific Humility” (1963)
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Added on 24-Apr-17 | Last updated 24-Apr-17
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Nobody ever knows the whole truth. That’s why promises mean something. Otherwise they’d be too easy, don’t you see? We look toward the unknown future and promise to be faithful no matter what comes.

Claudia Gray (contemp.) American writer [pseud. of Amy Vincent]
Lost Stars (2015)
Added on 27-Feb-17 | Last updated 27-Feb-17
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We, or at least I, can have no conception of human life and human thought in a hundred years or fifty years. Perhaps my greatest wisdom is the knowledge that I do not know. The sad ones are those who waste their energy in trying to hold it back, for they can only feel bitterness in loss and no joy in gain.

John Steinbeck (1902-1968) American writer
Travels With Charley: In Search of America, Part 2 (1962)
Added on 23-Feb-17 | Last updated 23-Feb-17
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The goal of every culture is to decay through over-civilization; the factors of decadence, — luxury, skepticism, weariness and superstition, — are constant. The civilization of one epoch becomes the manure of the next.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
The Unquiet Grave (1944)
Added on 13-Feb-17 | Last updated 13-Feb-17
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I never hear parents exclaim impatiently, “Children, you must not make so much noise,” that I do not think how soon the time may come when those parents would give all the world, could they hear once more the ringing laughter which once so disturbed them.

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Abbott Eliot "A. E." Kittredge (1834-1912) American clergyman and Presbyterian leader
(Attributed)

Quoted in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
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It is perfectly true, as the philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.

Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) Danish philosopher, theologian
Journals IV.A.164 (1843)

Commonly paraphrased: "Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
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That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.

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John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

Often cited from a quote in Adlai Stevenson, Call to Greatness (1954), but appears earlier in, e.g., National Magazine (Nov 1911). Unverified in Mills' writings.
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The ignorance of even the best-informed investor about the more remote future is much greater than his knowledge, and he cannot but be influenced to a degree which would seem wildly disproportionate to anyone who really knew the future, and be forced to seek a clue mainly here to trends further ahead. But if this is true of the best-informed, the vast majority of those who are concerned with the buying and selling of securities know almost nothing whatever about what they are doing. They do not possess even the rudiments of what is required for a valid judgement, and are the prey of hopes and fears easily aroused by transient events and as easily dispelled.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
A Treatise on Money, Vol. 2 (1930)
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To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places — and there are so many — where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.

And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.

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Howard Zinn (1922-2010) American historian, academic, author, social activist
“The Optimism of Uncertainty,” The Nation (2 Sep 2004)
    (Source)

Adopted from Zinn's essay of the same name in Paul Loeb (ed.), The Impossible Will Take a Little While (2004). See also Zinn, "A Marvelous Victory" (23 Feb 2004).
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The ultimate test of man’s conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard.

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Gaylord Nelson (1916-2005) American politician and environmentalist
“Ah, Wilderness! Save It,” New York Times (4 Sep 1984)
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I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
“Where Do We Go From Here?” Southern Christian Leadership Conference Presidential Address (16 Aug 1967)
    (Source)
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White Americans must recognize that justice for black people cannot be achieved without radical changes in the structure of our society. The comfortable, entrenched, the privileged cannot continue to tremble at the prospect of change of the status quo. There is no separate white path to power and fulfillment, short of social disaster, that does not share power with black aspirations for freedom and human dignity.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community? (1967)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Oct-16 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
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Never, in peace or war, commit your virtue or your happiness to the future. Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received.

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
“Learning in War-Time,” The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (1965)
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Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. And look at your body — what a wonder it is! Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the ways you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work — we must all work — to make the world worthy of its children.

Pablo Casals (1876-1973) Spanish cellist, conductor, composer
In Joys and Sorrows: Reflections‎ by Pablo Casals as told to Albert E. Kahn (1970)
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Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae, l. 943
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“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right—somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?”

“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.”

“Oh dear,” said Lucy.

“But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me — what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”

C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer and scholar [Clive Staples Lewis]
Prince Caspian (1951)
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Lucius Arruntius killed himself, he said, to escape both the future and the past.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
“A Custom of the Island of Cea,” Essays (1588) [tr. Frame (1958)]
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Rash indeed is he who reckons on the morrow, or haply on days beyond it; for tomorrow is not, until today is past.

Sophocles (496-406 BC) Greek tragic playwright
Trachiniae, l. 943
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By concentrating on what is good in people, by appealing to their idealism and their sense of justice, and by asking them to put their faith in the future, socialists put themselves at a severe disadvantage.

Ian McEwan (b. 1948) English novelist and screenwriter
City Limits (London, May 27, 1983)
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How many things have been denied one day, only to become realities the next!

Jules Verne (1828-1905) French novelist, poet, playwright
From the Earth to the Moon (1865)
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Added on 12-Aug-16 | Last updated 12-Aug-16
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