Finding Everyday Inspiration: Literally Just a Bunch of Random Quotes

Finding Everyday Inspiration: Literally Just a Bunch of Random Quotes

Part of WordPress’s writing course Finding Everyday Inspiration.

Today’s (un)inspiring task inspires the worst in me. I’m kidding only in part. That is, in part one of the statement: I do in fact appreciate the prompts, inspiring or not. Part two of the claim is no kidding. Expect the worst from me.

Today’s task is to preface your post with an epigraph in the form of a block quote. Inadvertently, I’ve been doing the very same a lot in my recent posts. Quotes are nice and all that, but I favour the bleakest kind of them. So, when I’m asked to elaborate on a quote of my choice, what can possibly go wrong? Everything.

A random bleak photo to go with random bleak quotes

Let’s get the shitstorm started. If you pardon my language. I promise I won’t choose any more quotes that contain heavy slang and four-letter words. Such as the four-letter word word, for example. Also, my promise only extends to this particular post. I’ll start niceish.

Literature: Transcendence, Epiphanies and Poor Choices

If literature matters today, it is chiefly because it seems to many conventional critics one of the few remaining places where, in a divided, fragmented world, a sense of universal value may still be incarnate; and where, in a sordidly material world, a rare glimpse of transcendence can still be attained.
—Terry Eagleton

Terry Eagleton, a foremost literary critic, is often quoted but this quote of his isn’t drawn attention to too often. It’s a shame because it attempts to answer the ultimate question of literature: What is it even good for? I hand-picked this quotation directly from one of Eagleton’s books I’ve read and enjoyed.

I’ve had transcendental experiences with literature of my own. I even had an epiphany. Ages ago, I was sitting on a bench somewhere in Edinburgh, during my literature summer school, and it was manifested to me that what I wanted to do in life was Scottish literature. True story.

Cute, right? I did go on to get a doctorate in ScotLit—in case I don’t mention it often enough, but you know, bragging rights. And then I had another epiphany. It was manifested to me that I needed to do something for a living. So, cheers, literature, RIP.

WYWI(N)WYG: What You Want Is (Not) What You Get

What each individual wills is obstructed by everyone else, and what emerges is something that no one willed.
—Friedrich Engels

My last triumphant achievement in the literature field was smuggling Marx and Engels into my dissertation and getting away with it. So, be not surprised that I seamlessly integrated randomly threw in some Engels in here too, for a good measure.

I happen to be a theoretical socialist. It means I think the idea of economic equality is cool, but it quickly becomes a mess when someone tries to apply it in real life. And why, no, I don’t have a better suggestion; if I had, I’d have written The Capital Revis(it)ed.

Freud: That’s What Everything Boils Down To

When one doesn’t have what one wants, one must want what one has.
—Sigmund Freud

Engels and Freud implicitly agree on that you’re not going to get what you want. I also agree, though no one is quoting me on it—you can be the first. Freud is my favourite and I find him extremely fascinating. That’s not hugely surprising, given that I’m a psychiatric patient, hence I have the unique opportunity to test Freud’s psychiatric hypotheses on myself.

This quote by Freud, you must admit, is however very sensible and universally acceptable. He might have been the first positive psychologist with this positive affirmation—they are conventionally called positive affirmations, aren’t they, because I just noticed that this naming is a prime example of tautology. That’s probably the idea.

10 thoughts on “Finding Everyday Inspiration: Literally Just a Bunch of Random Quotes

  1. I looked up the term “theoretical socialist”, didn’t find anything with that specific term. I found a website foe Democratic Socialists of America though…


  2. That Freud quote is about liking yourself isn’t it….not a lot to be gained from constantly criticising oneself, you will go in circles, better we accept who we are and get on with finding out what makes us tick and why we are the way we are. Its part of the road you travel in life to live with yourself and discover that despite all the flaws that stand out in your own opinion they are part of your whole and once accepted you can get on with the next bit which is liking yourself. That in itself could take a life time but its something to aim for as there are days when you think there’s nothing to like about yourself. Its like coming to an understanding that being alone is not what you want, but how its most likely to be.


    1. Hmm, I took the Freud quote more as suggesting that a person should keep it real, set realistic goals and do not get too down when something doesn’t work out. It’s fascinating how differently we read the same quote!

      I however wholeheartedly agree with what you say about self-acceptance. Self-flagellation is nice but rather unconstructive and discouraging.

      After all, both your and my point are acceptance: so maybe we read the quote to the same effect!


      1. I read this Freud quote somewhat differently from both of you. I see it as referring to the way that we are somehow programmed (sick maladapted species that we are) to seek transcendence and desire that, while neglecting the banal realities that actually sustain us. Freud says that we have to re-program ourselves as a species to ‘desire the banal’ and this is surprisingly difficult, because, unlike cats and dogs, our heads are so filled with ideologies of romantic love, spiritual fulfilment, ultimate equality, novel experience or whatever, that we cannot be satisfied with a warm bed and good plate of nosh. Marx’s idea of the fetish of the commodity was on something of the same track.


        1. Wow, one quote, three people and three readings of it! Isn’t it great, how different minds work differently?

          Your interpretation may not be one that came to my mind but I can now see the connection and I can’t but wholeheartedly agree.

          It’s a challenge to be grateful for the little things, and accidentally, I consciously practise this. Sometimes I happen to just think, wow, isn’t it amazing that I have hot running water, flushing toilet, food in the fridge and coffee in the cupboard? What’s there to be unhappy about!


  3. I think we actually wrote about the same topic, this time, Mara. What fun! Enjoyed your post even more on that account.


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