„There is no greater grief than to find no happiness, but happiness in what is past.“

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Context: He was dead. No point speculating. Cherish the past for what it was, an ideal, a signal that human happiness might be a possibility. Raise your standards. Make a decent life, Lucilla. Life is all there is. If it's only once, it must be good... He had been right. If perfection only happened once, that was better than never. Now nothing for her would ever again entail complete despair. So thank you, Gaius Vinius Clodianus, son of Marcus, thank you for your good deed, a deed that brightened somebody's dark world.

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„We fret ourselves to reform life, in order that posterity may be happy, and posterity will say as usual: "In the past it used to be better, the present is worse than the past."“

—  Anton Chekhov Russian dramatist, author and physician 1860 - 1904
Alternate translation: We go to great pains to alter life for the happiness of our descendants and our descendants will say as usual: things used to be so much better, life today is worse than it used to be. Мы хлопочем, чтобы изменить жизнь, чтобы потомки были счастливы, а потомки скажут по обыкновению: прежде лучше было, теперешняя жизнь хуже прежней.

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„Our image of happiness is indissolubly bound up with the image of the past.“

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II

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„Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it we do suddenly realize — sometimes with astonishment — how happy we had been.“

—  Nikos Kazantzakis Greek writer 1883 - 1957
Context: While experiencing happiness, we have difficulty in being conscious of it. Only when the happiness is past and we look back on it we do suddenly realize — sometimes with astonishment — how happy we had been. Ch. 6

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