Sometimes I just really love a good quote. When I see a quote I like, I usually copy it and put it into my quotes database, and then the quotes in that database show up randomly in the right side-bar of my blog. I love this feature! I also love my huge collection of quotes.
Recently I saw this quote on Pinterest, which linked to a store on Etsy, where someone sells quotes typed with an old typewriter on nice paper. I bought it immediately and favorited the shop.
Isn’t that awesome? It’s from The Catcher in the Rye, the best book I ever read in high school. I can’t wait for my kids to read that book. Anyway…
Usually when I see a quote, I take it at face value that the quote is correct and attributed to the right person, but I think that more often than I realize, the quote is not represented as it was originally said, or has been altered through translation, or completely mis-attributed. Sometimes I don’t care too much because sometimes the quote isn’t too off, or the words are still meaningful. Sometimes I think it’s weird.
Like that commencement speech about wearing sunscreen that went viral several years back. Remember that one? (You can listen to it or read it here if you don’t.) It was attributed to Kurt Vonnegut as being given at MIT in 1997. It’s really great, but how funny that at some point it was attributed to Kurt Vonnegut and went viral. Who made that happen?
A while ago I wrote a post about the quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” which is attributed to Ghandi. While I love this quote, and it’s a great mantra, that’s not what he actually said. He said a whole bunch more than that, with different words in a different language, not that portable little snippet. But I like that it got boiled down to something simpler. It’s useful to me that way.
Recently a friend gave me the “Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules for Living” which I immediately hung up on my inspiration board.
Those are some pretty good rules aren’t they? But do they sound like the Dalai Lama? I wasn’t sure, so I turned to snopes.com and found out that this was also a fake. But it’s still on my inspiration board.
I guess it’s not too surprising that this type of thing happens all the time, and probably has since the beginning of time. And I don’t think it’s a terribly bad thing either, because obviously these words are touching people enough that they get shared a billion times over. Although it does seems unfair to the true author.
I myself will continue collecting quotes and posting them on my blog, doing my best to make sure they’re attributed to the right person, but posting them none-the-less because they inspire me. There are also plenty of anonymous quotes out there that aren’t attributed to anyone, that I think are fantastic. Like this one that appeared in a recent Design Within Reach catalog that I would love to have in my living room:
When was the last time your own possibilities gave you goosepimples?
And then there’s this one that appears in the lobby at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs:
Every 12 seconds someone remembers that we’re all in this together.
If those “18 Rules for Living” were anonymous and not attributed to the Dalai Lama, would I still have put them on my bulletin board? I don’t know. I think so. I like things that are short and sweet, or laid out nicely in a list like that.
Here are some words from the 14th Dalai Lama’s book The Art of Happiness that I believe are actually his:
“Sometimes when I meet old friends, it reminds me how quickly time passes. And it makes me wonder if we’ve utilized our time properly or not. Proper utilization of time is so important. While we have this body, and especially this amazing human brain, I think every minute is something precious. Our day-to-day existence is very much alive with hope, although there is no guarantee of our future. There is no guarantee that tomorrow at this time we will be here. But we are working for that purely on the basis of hope. So, we need to make the best use of our time. I believe that the proper utilization of time is this: if you can, serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. I think that is the whole basis of my philosophy.
So, let us reflect what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that. The purpose of our life needs to be positive. We weren’t born with the purpose of causing trouble, harming others. For our life to be of value, I think we must develop basic good human qualities—warmth, kindness, compassion. Then our life becomes meaningful and more peaceful—happier.”
I love this! However it’s too long to add to my quotes database, and it probably won’t get turned into an email chain-letter either. But it sounds more like the Dalai Lama, doesn’t it? It sure sounds fa shizzle to me. But what do I know? I’m not even sure I’m using the term ‘fa shizzle’ right. I just think it sounds super cool…