Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’?

Lady Macbeth, suggesting you be less of a wimp. Cf. Seneca:

You act like mortals in all that you fear, and like immortals in all that you desire.

If you look inward and concentrate only on your own desires all the time, you end up having fun some of the time, but a large amount of the time you’re miserable and another portion of the time you’re bored. I’d rather be attentive and curious all the time so I just keep my eyes and ears open to the world beyond myself.

John Cage, in People magazine of all places. 1979. (via Alex Ross)

That was the idiot hopefulness of humans, always to love what was unformed.

Chad Harbach in The Art of Fielding. Cf. John Cage:

I am frankly embarrassed that most of my musical life has been spent in the search for new materials. The significance of new materials is that they represent, I believe, the incessant desire in our culture to explore the unknown. Before we know the unknown, it inflames our hearts. When we know it, the flame dies down, only to burst forth again at the thought of a new unknown. This desire has found expression in our culture in new materials, because our culture has its faith not in the peaceful center of the spirit but in an ever-hopeful projection onto things of our own desire for completion.

As there is no appetite, sexual or otherwise, without excitement, the sane person has to be unusually mindful of all the ways she has of attacking, trivializing, ignoring, ironizing and generally spoiling her own excitement. So she will prize charm in herself and others because charm gives excitement a chance; and she will be suspicious of her own shyness–and more sympathetically suspicious of other people’s–because it too smugly keeps the excited self at bay.

We recognize our sexual desire by the fact that once again–once again, after childhood–we feel our safety and our excitement are in conflict with each other. When we feel we are taking a risk, or are at risk, there is always an object of desire in the vicinity.

Since money always promises something other than itself–it is only, as we say, worth what it can buy–it seems to protect us, as promises do, from the fear of there being nothing and no one that we want.

Adam Phillips. I think I’ll post a couple more from his very good Going Sane later.

I am frankly embarrassed that most of my musical life has been spent in the search for new materials. The significance of new materials is that they represent, I believe, the incessant desire in our culture to explore the unknown. Before we know the unknown, it inflames our hearts. When we know it, the flame dies down, only to burst forth again at the thought of a new unknown. This desire has found expression in our culture in new materials, because our culture has its faith not in the peaceful center of the spirit but in an ever-hopeful projection onto things of our own desire for completion.