I was rounding off Seneca’s 9th Letter when he verbalised what I’ve always thought about the impact of meaningful literature and media on us and the wisdom therein.
“Think how many poets say things that philosophers have said – or ought to have said! Not mention the tragedians of our native Roman drama (which has a serious element in it as well and stands half way between comedy and tragedy), think of the quantity of brilliant lines to be found lying about in farces alone!” – Letters form a Stoic IX
So, I thought I’d share some of my favourite lines from the farces that live on as tangible wisdom to live by. Of course, I’ve gone on about the Jedi Code to no end as a Taoist call to arms so I shall spare that here.
- “Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It’s not the time that matters. It’s the person.” – The Tenth Doctor, Doctor Who
- “Chance, Grace. Chance is everything. Whether you’re born or not. Whether you live or die. Whether you’re good or bad. It’s all arbitrary.” – Two-Face, Batman: The Animated Series
- “Just when we think we figured things out, the universe throws us a curve ball. So, we have to improvise. We find happiness in unexpected places. We find ourselves back to the things that matter the most. The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it just has a way of making sure we wind up exactly where we belong.” – Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy
- “We all make choices, but in the end our choices make us.” – Andrew Ryan, Bioshock
- “It’s what you taught me. Do the right thing. That’s all that matters.” – Batman, Batman: Arkham Knight
- “Every day we change the world, but to change it the world in a way that means anything, that takes more time than people have.” – Elliott Alderson, Mr Robot
- “Human progress isn’t measured by industry. It’s measured by the value you place on a life. An unimportant life. A life without privilege. The boy who died on the river, that boy’s value is your value. That’s what defines an age. That’s what defines a species.” – The Twelfth Doctor, Doctor Who
- “Destiny? What would a boy know of destiny? If a fish lives its whole life in this river, does he know the river’s destiny? No! Only that it runs on and on out of his control. He may follow where it flows, but he cannot see the end. He cannot imagine the ocean.” – Jeong Jeong, Avatar: The Last Airbender
- “It is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keeps the Darkness at bay. Simple acts of love and kindness.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit
So wherever you may find it, don’t think to shun wisdom because some great philosopher wasn’t the one who said it. Wisdom is all around you. I suggest, start your searching in the mirror.