"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all."
"In speaking of this desire for our own faroff country, which we find in ourselves even now, I feel a certain shyness. I am almost committing an indecency. I am trying to rip open the inconsolable secret in each one of you—the secret which hurts so much that you take your revenge on it by calling it names like Nostalgia and Romanticism and Adolescence … Wordsworth’s expedient was to identify it with certain moments in his own past. But all this is a cheat. If Wordsworth had gone back to those moments in the past, he would not have found the thing itself, but only the reminder of it; what he remembered would turn out to be itself a remembering. The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself … for they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited."
"Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. It is a violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look, or behave… To LGBT men and women worldwide, let me say this: wherever you live and whatever the circumstances of your life, whether you are connected to a network of support, or feel isolated, and vulnerable, please know that you are not alone. People around the globe are working hard to support you, and to bring an end to the injustices and dangers you face. That is certainly true for my country. And you have an ally in the United States of America. And you have millions of friends among the American people."
"There’s something deeper than making money off stuff. Being part of creating stuff for the universe is awesome."