The Know - It - All: By A J Jacobs
Ecclesiastes - This is a book from the Old Testament of the bible.
The race is not to the swift, not the battle to the strong, nor the bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to the men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. Man's fate, does not depend on righteous or wicked conduct but is an inscrutable mystery and remains hidden to God. All attempts to penetrate this mystery and thereby gain the wisdom necessary to secure one's fate are "vanity" or futile. In the face of such uncertainty, one must enjoy the good things that God provides while one has them to enjoy.
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
I'd never noticed how closely things are connected to each other. We human beings are a part of something much larger. When we walk along the street we may crush a beetle or cause a change in the air so that a fly ends up where it might not have otherwise been. If we think the same example in a larger perspective but with ourselves as role of the insect, and the larger universe in the role we previously played, it's perfectly clear that we are affected everyday by forces which we have no more control than the poor beetle has over our gigantic foot as it descends upon it.
Ever Since Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould
I don't have a direct quote from the book since it is a lecture but I remember his argument being that people have a hard time grasping Darwin's idea of natural selection, the idea that explains the development of homo sapiens without reference to any sort of divine plan or vision of progress. He says our species is far from being at the pinnacle of an inevitable trend in nature toward a greater complexity and we are just a tiny accident that occured on a minor side-branch of the evolutionary tree. IF YOU WERE TO REWIND THE TAPES OF EVENTS TO PLAY EVOLUTION ONCE MORE, THE ODDS ARE AGAINST ANYTHING LIKE HOMO SAPIENS DEVELOPING. We're here because we're here - not because we had to be here.
Alan Watts - a philosopher, writer, speaker, and student of comparative government
Call it god, call it artistic expression, call it science, or call it spiritual enlightenment. I see the same truth in all these passages. It is the same truth that binds us all together; one of those universal laws that human beings have many different ways of expressing.