Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Posts Tagged ‘The Greatest Problem

The last words of Lady Mary

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Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is not a figure that most of us would choose to envy. Her experience led her to the grim conclusions that marriage was “a lottery where there are (at the lowest computation) ten thousand blanks to one prize”; that “the pursuit of pleasure will ever be attended with pain”; that “we are no more free agents than the queen of clubs when she victoriously takes prisoner the knave of hearts.” Her own marriage failed; her son became an affliction and an ignominy; in her old age she records that for eleven years she had not dared look in her mirror. She had once called life “a dull road.” And yet, dying, she is said to have murmured: “It has all been very interesting; it has all been very interesting.” Even in death she kept her vital interest in the eternal strangeness of life. There are worse last words.

F.L. Lucas, The Greatest Problem

Written by nevalalee

September 18, 2016 at 7:30 am

F. L. Lucas on the sources of happiness

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Vitality of mind and body; the activity to employ and maintain them; the zest and curiosity that they can animate; freedom to travel widely in nature and art, in countries of the world and countries of the mind; human affections; and the gift of gaiety—these seem to me, then, the main causes of happiness. I am surprised to find how few and simple they are.

F.L. Lucas, The Greatest Problem

(And for extra credit, please see Lin Yutang on the philosophy of half-and-half, which remains closest, after all these years, to my own personal idea of happiness.)

Written by nevalalee

September 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

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