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Food For Thought: Thought-Provoking Quotes and Videos

Updated on March 26, 2017

If you are anything like me, it is hard to resist recording a noteworthy quote or watching a captivating TED talk. Sometimes I must forbid myself from watching TED talks because I have other things I must do.

This minor (and occasional) struggle aside, I’ve found a handful of Ted Talks worth sharing because I find them thought-provoking. Quite naturally you may or may not also find them thought-provoking, and it is also possible that the quotes I’ve provided in this hub—which often make me pause and go, “Hmmm…I never thought about that issue in that way…”—will not inspire you to pause and reflect on what the passage means or even if you agree or disagree with the writer.

Regardless, I am sharing in the hope that at least a few of these quotes or videos will hit the mark and give you delicious food for thought. Enjoy!


Frida Kahlo: “At the end of the day, we can endure more than we think we can.”

“How long does it take your soul to realize that your life is full? The slower the living, the greater the sense of fullness and satisfaction.” Ann Voskamp, one thousand gifts

“It is the challenge of our age, in work and in life: to do one thing at a time, what one has consciously chosen to do and only that, and to do it with care and attention.” David Roberts, “Reboot or Die Trying”

“In The Confessions, Augustine writes that memory is like a house. You move from one room to another, and each memory fills a space, informing it, ineluctably giving it shape. ‘The huge repository of the memory,’ he writes, ‘with its secret and unimaginable caverns, welcomes and keeps all these things, to be recalled and brought out for use when needed; and all of them have their particular ways into it, so all are put back again in their proper places.’ The way Augustine describes it, memory is like a vast storehouse. I imagined crawling back through dim corridors that opened into room after room: pantries with their bright boxes, canisters of grains. Bags of papery onions. Herbs rustling in the eaves: rosemary, anise. Wheels of bright cheeses: the soft, fermenting aroma of apple and chicory. The secret and unimaginable caverns of what we keep.

October, in New England, a month of change. From octo, ‘right,’ for eighth month. In the Middle Ages people that that on Saint Frances Day, swallows flew to the bottom of ponds to hibernate through winter. Walking back and forth from the university to our new house and back to the green shag again as the month drew to a close, I thought about hibernation. Bears knitting themselves a skein of warmth deep within a cave. The frowsy scent of shared breathing. Being pregnant this time felt to me like that: burrowing inward. Keeping this new life warm.

The last weekend of the month, we turned the clocks back. We went from room to carpeted room, Jacques and I, looking for clocks to change, propelling the hands with our fingers, resetting dials, tapping new numbers into the microwave, the travel alarms.

‘I love this,’ I heard Jacques say to himself, operating on the shower radio. ‘We could really use this extra hour.’

I imagined where that hour would go, in Augustine’s storeroom. A small, low-ceiling room of extra hours, the color of slumber.” Amy Boesky, What We Have

Rumi: “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

“What we lose in our great human exodus from the land is a rooted sense, as deep and intangible as religious faith, of why we need to hold on to the wild and beautiful places that once surrounded us.” Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder

Powder and Shull Mountains in the Pasayten Wilderness along the Pacific Crest Trail
Powder and Shull Mountains in the Pasayten Wilderness along the Pacific Crest Trail | Source

“How do we know how we feel? I’m likely much closer to Zizek’s aforementioned description of Titanic. There is almost certainly a constructed schism between (a) how I feel, and (b) how I think I feel. There’s probably a third level, too—how I want to think I feel. Very often, I don’t know what I think about something until I start writing about it.” Chuck Klosterman, Eating The Dinosaur

Author Robert MacFarlane
Author Robert MacFarlane | Source

“Mountain landscapes appear chaotic in their jumbledness, but they are in fact ultra-logical landscapes, organized by the climatic extremes and severe expressions of gravity: so hyper-ordered as to seem chance-made.” Robert MacFarlane, The Old Ways

“And no matter how fiercely I struggled to evade my fate as a farmer’s wife, becoming a writer instead, how strange it is to realize that writing, the act of arranging language in neat horizontal furrows, is a great deal like farming.” Debra Marquart, The Horizontal World

Author Ken Ilgunas
Author Ken Ilgunas | Source

“On this voyage, I couldn’t help but think that we need need. We need to be forced to go outside. We need to be forced to depend upon one another. We need to be forced to sacrifice, to grow a garden, to fix a roof, to interact with neighbors. Nature had been all around me as a boy. It unleashed terrifying storms, spun circular cycles, inflicted bone-chilling cold, and renewed itself with springy revivifications. Yet I was completely oblivious to it all. I was playing video games.” Ken Ilguanas, Walden on Wheels

“If, at root, everything is biology, are altruism and sympathy merely signs of weakness?” Caleb Crain, “Four Legs Good”

“Maybe working on the little things as dutifully and honestly as we can is how we stay sane when the world is falling apart.” Haruki Murakami, “Samsa in Love”


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