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“Life in Quotes" Created for Student Support Services participants Troy University; Troy, AL 36082 Interpreting and discussing quotes about life and developing your own life philosophy Objectives To encourage students to think purposely and critically about life

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life in quotes

“Life in Quotes"

Created for Student Support Services participants

Troy University; Troy, AL 36082

Interpreting and discussing quotes about life and developing your own life philosophy

  • To encourage students to think purposely and critically about life
  • To introduce students to some well-known thinkers, ethicists, and philosophers
  • To offer students points of reference to support impromptu writing and speech challenges
  • To expand students’ general knowledge
  • To encourage students to engage in thoughtful discussions

Related Vocabulary

The Thinker Statue – a man struggling internally with intellectual concepts and surveying his doctrinal beliefs. Such trepidation -- intellectual, ethical, and passionate preoccupation -- characterizes the life of persons involved in the process of critical thought. Picture Source:

what is life different responses
What is “Life”? Different responses
  • The period during which something is functional (as between birth and death)
  • The instant in which one is conceived or the instant in which one realizes he is alive (debate)
  • Energy or ability to move and be one’s human self

Can you think of some other words or ways to define “life”?

  • Freedom (liberty to pursue success in life)
  • Success (achievement of a great desire or power)
  • Love (passion and compassion for life and ideals)
  • Joy (a spirit of happiness or pleasure)
  • Wisdom (accumulated knowledge of life)
  • God (Creator of life or Model for living)
what is a life quote
What is a “Life Quote”?
  • Quote:the exact words spoken or written by someone
  • A Life Quoteis the exact words that someone writes or speaks specifically on the subject of “life.”
  • A Life Quote is also a philosophical statement that someone writes or speaks on the subject of “life.”
why study life quotes
Why study life quotes?

To help you develop your personal philosophy or value system so that you can consistently make ethical choices for yourself and understand the purpose for your life.

So, what is “philosophy”

and what is “ethics” ?

what is philosophy
What is “philosophy”?

Definitions of philosophy:

“Philosophy is a Greek word, taken from phileîn, which means “to love," and sophía, "wisdom"

  • Philosophy is an Appreciation for WISDOM.
  • Wisdom = Truth + Judgment = Insight


many branches of philosophy
Many Branches of Philosophy

Philosophical study is the search for a Wise, Logical Truth Upon Which to Base Ethical Practices. Arguments and Disagreements are to be expected as people will not agree on one Truth. Image:

what is ethics
What is “ethics”?
  • Ethics is “the philosophical study of moral values and rules.”
  • Ethics is the process of assessing conduct.
  • Ethics = Standards

Sources: http: and

Virtually every field of study, discipline or institution has its own formal set of ethics. Most individuals have their own set of ethics or values, though those values may be influenced by other humans.

analogies of life
Analogies of Life
  • Many philosophers make philosophical statements in the form of analogies.
  • Analogies are comparisons.
  • The purpose of such analogies is to give the hearer of the analogy an image or idea comparable to human life. The analogy may require the reader to think figuratively about life.
a popular life analogy
A Popular Life Analogy . . .

“Life is like a what?!?”

“My mama always said, ‘Life is like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re gonna’ get.’”

Image: Forest Gump. 8 October 2008 <>

write your life analogy quote
Write your life analogy quote

Try writing your own analogy

1. Life is as secure as ....

2. Life is about as funny as a...

3. Life is as good as ...

4. Human Life is as important to the earth as . . .

uncovered eyes in a bat cave.

an initiated knock-knock joke with no one to ask “who’s there?”

a piece of cake is to a colony of hungry ants.

healthy marrow is to the a bone.

great thinkers
Great thinkers?

Visions and Possibilities for Life . . .

Important thinkers . . .

and their thoughts about “Life”

Optimists or Pessimists?

Male or Female?

Religious or Non-Religious?

socrates 469 399 b c
Socrates (469 – 399 B.C.)

Socrates is described as the “first great moral philosopher of Western Civilization” (3).

  • a very controversial figure because of his strong political views and his influence on the young people of Athens.
  • sentenced to death in 399 B. C. after being tried and accused of “corrupting the youth and interfering with the religion of the city.” (Source:
  • a masterful debater who could think quickly and logically.
  • Had a student, Plato, who later recorded many of Socrates’ masterful dialogues with his students.

Note about Socrate’s behavior:

Plato described Socrates as “calm and reflective, even as Socrates stayed in prison awaiting execution.

why so calm socrates
Why so calm, Socrates?
  • Socrates, like other great thinkers, died because his philosophies challenged “status quo” thinking.
  • “Status Quo” thinking is thinking that has not changed for a long time and that is designed to keep old ways of life current.
  • Socrates’ life is important . . . It shows that people become afraid of others who think differently or who want to change the status quo. (Can you think of a situation in which people have express such fear? )

(Slave Trade; Holocaust; American Revolution; Politics)

  • Therefore, it takes great courage to try to change people’s minds or voice a new idea.
why so calm socrates16
Why so calm, Socrates?
  • Socrates, as wise as he was, expected people to look hard at him, question him, and even fear him. He probably wanted them to scrutinize him.

Therefore, this famous Socratic

quote should not surprise anyone.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.”

  • Note: Socrates spoke these words at this trial, which ended in his receiving the death penalty. Socrates had the option of choosing life in prison, but chose to die instead of live confined.

Why do you think Socrates chose to die?

Possibly he preferred death over living life with others telling him how to think.

fear of change
Fear of change . . .

Question:Can you think of ways that some people have behaved when they heard a new philosophy or ethical theory that challenged their existing thoughts or the status quo?

  • Anxiety/Depression/hypersensitivity
  • Preoccupation (obsessive thoughts of the deceased or of the past) -- Sentimental/Nostalgic ideals (“The good ole’ days”)
  • Stagnation (inactivity)
  • Disobedience to the Law (anarchy)
  • Threats or Cries for Violence
  • Violence (aggression) / Mob violence
philosophers know
Philosophers know . . .
  • Many philosophers are so wise that they are prophetic.
  • Many know so much about human tendencies because they have observed human behavior / psychology.
  • Many philosophers have become “martyrs,” for they risked their own lives in order to help change the lives of others.
  • Question: Other than Socrates, can you think of a person who risked his or her life in order to publicize his or her philosophies about life? Explain.
life quote revolutionary spirit
Life Quote -- Revolutionary Spirit

Ideally, revolution yields profound change.

Quote 1

“These are the times that try men's souls.”

Quote 2

“The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.”


life quotes patriotism liberty
Life Quotes – Patriotism/Liberty

Quote: “I know not the course others may take, but give me liberty or give me death.”-

Patrick Henry (March 1775)


life quote unity democracy emancipation
Life Quote – Unity, Democracy & Emancipation

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.”

Abraham Lincoln, 16th U. S. president, assassinated April 15, 1865.


life quotes martyr equality
Life Quotes – Martyr / Equality

“I have a dream today.” Martin Luther King (August 1963)

American Civil Rights icon, assassinated April 4, 1968


life quotes religion race
Life Quotes –Religion/Race

Malcolm X

(Malik Shabazz)

Nation of Islam leader, Icon, and black nationalist, assassinated in a mosque meeting February 21, 1965


life quote spiritual life
Life Quote – Spiritual Life

Jesus Christ, whose ethnicity remains a mystery to many, crucified 26 to 36 B.C. after being betrayed by one of his disciples.


life quote civil disobedience
Life Quote – Civil Disobedience

Gandhi became a leader in a complex struggle known as the Indian Campaign for Home Rule. He launched his movement of  non-violent resistance to Great Britain.A demonstration against the Rowlatt Acts resulted in a massacre of Indians at Amritsar by British soldiers.

In 1920, when the British government failed to make amends, Gandhi proclaimed an organized campaign of non-cooperation. Indians in public office resigned, government agencies such as courts of law were boycotted, and Indian children were withdrawn from government schools. Throughout India, streets were blocked by squatting Indians who refused to rise even when beaten by police. Gandhi was arrested, but the British were soon forced to release him.

Gandhi’s teachings of passive resistance and civil disobedience inspired the world and leaders such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Gandhi was shot to death in a public forum.

“You should be the change you wish to see in the world.”



life quote secular proverb
Life Quote: Secular Proverb

“Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

A proverb advising the tactic of caution and non-aggression, backed up by the ability to do violence if required. Senator John McCain alluded to this quote during a recent, televised presidential debate.

Quote Origin

  • The widespread use of this proverb began with American president Theodore Roosevelt. In a speech in Chicago in April 1903, he said:
  • There is a homely old adage which runs: 'Speak softly and carry and big stick; you will go far.' If the American nation will speak softly, and yet build and keep at a pitch of the highest training a thoroughly efficient navy, the Munroe Doctrine will go far.
  • The proverb is sometimes cited as being of African origin . . . If it truly was an 'old adage' in 1903 it ought to be easy to find earlier citations of it, but I can find none. It is certainly possible that Roosevelt coined the phrase himself.

Teddy Roosevelt


life quotes women as activist
Life quotes – Women as Activist

Activism – working to make change occur

Alice Walker, author of the acclaimed novel, The Color Purpose


life quote activist women
Life Quote – Activist Women

“Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.” Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Mother Teresa established the Missionaries of Charity- which was to be the centre of all her activities with its branches spread in many parts of the country . . . Mother Teresa's efforts and her dedication were recognized all over the world and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979.


life quotes contemporary
Life Quotes – Contemporary

“If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress.”

Senator Barack Obama

“We cannot forever hide the truth about ourselves, from ourselves.”

Senator John McCain


final quote all life
Final Quote . . . All Life

“Can't We All Just Get Along?” -- Rodney King, 1991


the end
The End . . .
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  • Make suggestions on the form for future workshops you desire presented.
  • Enjoy your learning experience here at Troy University.