From three dead, wise men.
"Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance…till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality…. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business."
– Henry David Thoreau, on reality
"We dress our garden, eat our dinners, discuss the household with our wives, and these things make no impression, are forgotten next week; but in the solitude to which every man is always returning, he has a sanity and revelations, which in his passage into new worlds he will carry with him. Never mind the ridicule, never mind the defeat: up again, old heart!"
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, on solitude
"They stood there knowing each other well and each on the whole willing to accept the satisfaction of knowing as a compensation for the inconvenience — whatever it might be — of being known."
– Henry James, on two old lovers