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exist on borrowed time

To live or exist in a temporary and/or tenuous position, which may come to an end suddenly and abruptly. The small aboriginal population has been existing on borrowed time since the invaders began colonizing their land. Accidents and disease can strike so unexpectedly that it feels like we're all existing on borrowed time.
See also: borrow, exist, time

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.

Prov. People need a deity to worship. (This is an English translation of a quote from Voltaire. It is often parodied, using a person's name instead of God and implying that the person is somehow necessary.) The atheist tried to convince Jerry that God does not exist, and that people should not waste their time worshiping Him. "But you can't stop people from worshiping God," Jerry replied. "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him." The unscrupulous mayor was such a convenient scapegoat for the city's problems that if she had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent her.
See also: did, god, if, invent, necessary, not
References in classic literature ?
For suppose the correlative of 'the slave' should be said to be 'the man', or the correlative of 'the wing"the bird'; if the attribute 'master' be withdrawn from' the man', the correlation between 'the man' and 'the slave' will cease to exist, for if the man is not a master, the slave is not a slave.
The object of knowledge would appear to exist before knowledge itself, for it is usually the case that we acquire knowledge of objects already existing; it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a branch of knowledge the beginning of the existence of which was contemporaneous with that of its object.
It is true that if the object of knowledge does not exist there can be no knowledge: for there will no longer be anything to know.
It seems as only yesterday--it is in fact fourteen long, long years--that I heard him thus holding forth to his pupils, explaining the marvels of the illimitable void, and rendering clear to my understanding the vast distance that exists between the Being that created all things and the works of his hands.
If we stretch forward from what exists to an ideal, it is to a better which may be in its turn transcended, not to a single immutable best.
But the wise know that foolish legislation is a rope of sand which perishes in the twisting; that the State must follow and not lead the character and progress of the citizen; the strongest usurper is quickly got rid of; and they only who build on Ideas, build for eternity; and that the form of government which prevails is the expression of what cultivation exists in the population which permits it.
The theory of politics which has possessed the mind of men, and which they have expressed the best they could in their laws and in their revolutions, considers persons and property as the two objects for whose protection government exists.
To educate the wise man the State exists, and with the appearance of the wise man the State expires.
It frequents in pairs or small flocks the most desolate places, where scarcely another living creature can exist.
With regard to the number of large quadrupeds, there certainly exists no quarter of the globe which will bear comparison with Southern Africa.
But the soul which cannot be destroyed by an evil, whether inherent or external, must exist for ever, and if existing for ever, must be immortal?
Does the injustice or other evil which exists in the soul waste and consume her?
The object might exist without the thought, but not the thought without the object: the three elements of act, content and object are all required to constitute the one single occurrence called "thinking of St.
Those who are not professional metaphysicians are willing to confess that they do not know what mind actually is, or how matter is constituted; but they remain convinced that there is an impassable gulf between the two, and that both belong to what actually exists in the world.
There are various problems as to how we can be conscious now of what no longer exists.