We read philosophy for wisdom, and for life lessons and one of them can be to become a better reader, to read more, or to just read when you don’t feel like it.
So here are 3 philosophy quotes that, if I read for the first time, would encourage me to pick up a book and start reading again.
"I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth; and truth rewarded me." – Simone de Beauvoir
What is truth but knowledge, and books are such a vast ocean of knowledge that you can never drown in even if you don’t know how to swim.
Simone de Beauvoir’s existentialist philosophy has always encouraged me to engage a lot more with literature. It has also challenged me, on a more personal level, to confront and accept some uncomfortable truths about myself, which naturally include reasons why I sometimes struggle with reading consistently.
"Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking." – Marcus Aurelius
This quote, from "Meditations," is a very gentle, daily reminder that maybe sometimes all you need is a good book. His words always make me feel less wound up in my thoughts, and that helps when I’m feeling too depressed, anxious, or even distracted to read.
They clear up space in my head, which allows me to sit down and truly appreciate the peace and joy found in a well-written book. In a way that the book then becomes a refuge (like a haven of introspection and solace), if only for the time being.
"If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done." – Ludwig Wittgenstein
From “Philosophical Investigations,” the quote defends the value of experimentation and error in intellectual pursuits. I often go back to this quote to remind myself that reading does not serve some grand purpose in my life. It’s a very refreshing perspective to take on every now and then!
Reading the quote, and many others by Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century, frees me from the pressure of not only reading but also expecting profound revelations from every book.
Philosophy, no matter who or where it comes from, can really pull you out of a reading slump. And not by urging you to take reading seriously but by insisting, and not in a creepy way, that unexpected wisdom and profound intellectual discoveries can only be stumbled upon if you explore with an open, free mind, as opposed to one bound by any form of “expectations.”