'Are you sure, my friend? Are you sure? What good is a life lived as if it made no difference at all to the great life of the world? A sadder thing I cannot imagine. Why should not a mother say to herself, if I raise this child aright, if I love and care for her, she shall live a life that brings joy to those about her, and thus I have changed the world? Why should not the farmer that plants a seed say to his neighbour, this seed I plant today will feed someone, and that is how I change the world today?'
'This is philosophy. I have never had time to study such things.'
'No, this is life. And no one has time not to think of such things. Each creature in the world should consider this thing, every moment of the heart's beating. Otherwise, what is the point of arising each day?'
Robin Hobb in "Royal Assassin"