„I've been trying to live my life so that in the hour of my death I would rather feel joy, than fear.“

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Witold Pilecki
1901 - 1948
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„I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees.“

—  Euripidés ancient Athenian playwright -480 - -406 a.C.

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„I wanted to live my life so that people would know unmistakably that I am alive, so that when I finally die people will know the difference for sure between my living and my death.“

— June Jordan Poet, essayist, playwright, feminist and bisexual activist 1936 - 2002
Context: I wanted to be strong. I never wanted to be weak again as long as I lived. I thought about my mother and her suicide and I thought about how my father could not tell whether she was dead or alive. I wanted to get well and what I wanted to do as soon as I was strong, actually, what I wanted to do was I wanted to live my life so that people would know unmistakably that I am alive, so that when I finally die people will know the difference for sure between my living and my death. And I thought about the idea of my mother as a good woman and I rejected that, because I don't see why it's a good thing when you give up, or when you cooperate with those who hate you or when you polish and iron and mend and endlessly mollify for the sake of the people who love the way that you kill yourself day by day silently. And I think all of this is really about women and work. Certainly this is all about me as a woman and my life work. I mean I am not sure my mother’s suicide was something extraordinary. Perhaps most women must deal with a similar inheritance, the legacy of a woman whose death you cannot possibly pinpoint because she died so many, many times and because, even before she became my mother, the life of that woman was taken; I say it was taken away. "Many Rivers To Cross" (1981); later published in Some of Us Did Not Die : New and Selected Essays of June Jordan (2002)

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„If I knew that I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice.“

— Terry Pratchett English author 1948 - 2015
Context: I dare say that quite a few people have contemplated death for reasons that much later seemed to them to be quite minor. If we are to live in a world where a socially acceptable "early death" can be allowed, it must be allowed as a result of careful consideration. Let us consider me as a test case. As I have said, I would like to die peacefully with Thomas Tallis on my iPod before the disease takes me over and I hope that will not be for quite some time to come, because if I knew that I could die at any time I wanted, then suddenly every day would be as precious as a million pounds. If I knew that I could die, I would live. My life, my death, my choice. Final lines of his Richard Dimbleby lecture Shaking Hands With Death on euthanasia and assisted suicide, quoted in "Terry Pratchett: my case for a euthanasia tribunal" in The Guardian (2 February 2010) http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/feb/02/terry-pratchett-assisted-suicide-tribunal

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„Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life“

— Bertolt Brecht, Jewish Wife and Other Short Plays: Includes: In Search of Justice; Informer; Elephant Calf; Measures Taken; Exception and the Rule; Salzburg Dance of Death

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„And if that plunges me into contradiction and paradox, so be it; I've lived in that messy ocean all my life. I've fished in it for my art.“

— Salman Rushdie British Indian novelist and essayist 1947
Context: "Our lives teach us who we are." I have learned the hard way that when you permit anyone else's description of reality to supplant your own — and such descriptions have been raining down on me, from security advisers, governments, journalists, Archbishops, friends, enemies, mullahs — then you might as well be dead. Obviously, a rigid, blinkered, absolutist world view is the easiest to keep hold of, whereas the fluid, uncertain, metamorphic picture I've always carried about is rather more vulnerable. Yet I must cling with all my might to … my own soul; must hold on to its mischievous, iconoclastic, out-of-step clown-instincts, no matter how great the storm. And if that plunges me into contradiction and paradox, so be it; I've lived in that messy ocean all my life. I've fished in it for my art. This turbulent sea was the sea outside my bedroom window in Bombay. It is the sea by which I was born, and which I carry within me wherever I go. "Free speech is a non-starter," says one of my Islamic extremist opponents. No, sir, it is not. Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself.

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„I would have been glad to have lived under my wood side, to have kept a flock of sheep, rather than undertook such a Government as this is.“

— Oliver Cromwell English military and political leader 1599 - 1658
Statement to Parliament (4 February 1658) quoted in The Diary of Thomas Burton, esq., volume 2: April 1657 - February 1658 (1828), p. 466

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„Here I am trying to live, or rather, I am trying to teach the death within me how to live.“

— Jean Cocteau French poet, novelist, dramatist, designer, boxing manager and filmmaker 1889 - 1963

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