circle of life

 He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer (italics mine). Elis Wiesel (Night)

  Why do people always expect authors to answer questions? I am an author because I want to ask questions. If I had answers, I’d be a politician. Eugene Ionesco

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. Maya Angelou

 Quest is at the heart of what I do – the holy grail, and the terror that you’ll never find it, seemed a perfect metaphor for life. Jeanette Winterson

The quest for riches darkens the sense of right and wrong. Antiphanes 

I like quotes; many quotes contain unstated questions within them and therefore remain open to the reader to digest in any way they wish. For me, it is not important to ‘understand’ the viewpoint being expressed because that is limited and fixed and closes it. What I appreciate is that the quote opens me up in a way not experienced before. It may be a pang of recognition; I may disagree yet see a grain of truth expressed; I may see a great truth succinctly expressed in a few words and I feel my thirst quenched.

I like subversive quotes that have a flavour of anarchy or nihilism and disturb my peace of mind. Helen Rowland: Love, the quest; marriage, the conquest; divorce, the inquest.

It’s apt that the word question contains ‘quest’ within it. Our quest in life ends only when we stop asking questions – about who we are, our place in this mystery of life as we experience it with all its up and downs.

The more we listen and learn from our experiences, the more questions we have as we continue the quest to know ourselves and our place in the world better. There are no certainties in life (besides taxes and death – and aging). Certainty is too fixed and allows for no room to manoeuvre. Uncertainty and ambiguity never ends and is the magic ingredient that assists us to continue unfolding and becoming as we age. We may not know our destiny with any certainty; how limiting it would be if we did and would quell the mysteries of life.

Artists of all kinds and throughout all times have a quest to better describe the human condition.

The question invariably leads us somewhere. Some say that part of the ‘answer’ is in the question. Life always brings up questions, and the only foolish question is the one that is not asked.

Do you ask yourself questions about how you are living and aging?

41 comments on “Q – Quotes and Questions”

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  2. Of course I ask myself questions about how I am living and aging. I think you’d have to be numb not to. Although, there seem to exist increasing numbers of the numb out there.

    I love storytelling. I don’t have to answer questions in my stories, just tell the story. This is why I like Chekhov. He does the same. That’s life. How can you answer it. If we knew everything and we were perfect, we wouldn’t be here.

    On this subject of who am I and how am I doing/aging, my favorite quote is that of Oscar Wilde, and I don’t even know if he actually said it; he did say it in the TV mini-series, “Lillie”:

    Guest at a party: Oh it’s you!

    Oscar Wilde: I cannot deny it.

  3. I can not believe I never saw quest in the word question before. I feel ashamed. It’s tempting to try to get a grip on the “truth,” but you’re right, the truth is a journey. I have to shake myself loose of the past sometimes and just run!

  4. Hi, Susan, I love quotes too and those you’ve mentioned. A few words can raise a lot of questions and it’s important to continue asking them. I guess though it’ll become harder with age as energy levels are not the same. Thank you, this is a lovely post!

  5. It always pleases me when opening a novel or non-fiction to find the author’s favorite famous quotes of favorite writers. It is my quest to question everything.

    Sing out Susan!

    As ever,


  6. I’m often inspired by the words of others. That’s why I surround myself with them. I have quotes in frames in the room where I write and throughout my home. Lovely post, Susan.

  7. I enjoy quotes, although they are often misused or mis-attributed. Still, the best ones (like those you offered) contain kernels of wisdom. Thanks for the good post.

  8. Wonderful quotes, Susan. I like all of them, but especially the holy grail reference. So true — quest is at the heart of everything, the holy grail, the terror … I think I ask questions all the time … about aging, about life and living, about the universe, and the question of all questions: is this it or is there more out there … anywhere.
    Great post. You always get me into a philosophical mode, which I love.

  9. Hi Susan .. I wish I was better read … but I do appreciate questioning and trying to understand life … I’ve been doing this particularly since my mother became ill .. and now after she’s gone I can investigate further .. and learn more. Good to be here .. I do question much – cheers to you and Happy Easter – Hilary

  10. I believe each one of us has a song to sing in the choir of humanity. I also believe the answer to the question of why we are here is already answered, that we innately know, and we only know we know when we make the transition to the other dimension.Our job is to enjoy what life offers us every day.

    • Thank you Patricia. Words from a wise woman. Life can be difficult and sometimes not so enjoyable for many; but it is up to us while here on earth to enjoy the gifts that come our way – as simple as a good cup of tea or coffee – or glass of wine. Or sunset, or watching the waves …

  11. Excellent post. I too love quotes as they frequently say so much in so few words. Also, I find them enlightening and inspiring. This A – Z Challenge has definitely put us all on a quest to see what we are made of. I have truly have learned from this challenge and Thank You and Patricia for challenging me to take on the challenge. It has been my own quest. Thank you.

  12. Obviously, from my blog, you know I love quotes! And finding the right quote that addresses my question. Because there will always be more questions than answers.

  13. Hello, Susan

    As always, I do love your blog. It’s in my folder ‘Blogs I Love’.

    I came across Mishas Gericke today and am delighted. She says that she has been in touch with you too…

  14. Hi,
    I have to admit that even though I love your post, your posting of one of the quotes from Maya Angelou touched my heart. I have her book, I Know Why the Caged Bird sings and this woman is an example for me of overcoming. “The bird sings because it has a song.” Oh how nice it is to have a song to sing.

    Thank you My Dear.

  15. Hello. Tis said, one of the greatest teachers taught by questions meant to make the student think. One even greater than he taught by both parable and questions. Questions are important. They make us reflect and search for answers. Good post. Thank you. Best wishes to you. Ruby

    • Thank you Ruby. Socrates the first and Jesus the second..powerful means by both to get the student thinking and reflecting for her/himself. “They make us reflect and search for answers’ as you say, in a nut shell!

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