Martin Luther (quotes)

  • The devil is God’s ape!
  • Pray, and let God worry.
  • Unthankfulness is theft.
  • Music is the 5th gospel.
  • Reason is the enemy of faith.
  • Forgiveness is God’s command.
  • Faith is the yes of the heart.
  • Animals are footprints of God.
  • Faith is under the left nipple.
  • Nothing is easier than sinning.
  • A unjust law, is no law at all.
  • Each betrayal begins with trust.
  • The cross alone is our theology.
  • Here I stand; I can do no other.
  • Your God is altogether too human.
  • Beer is made by men, wine by God.
  • There is no wisdom save in truth.
  • Thoughts are not subject to duty.
  • Despair makes priests and friars.
  • Your thoughts of God are too human
  • God may delay, but He always comes.
  • I did nothing. The Word did it all.
  • Every evening brings us nearer God.
  • No great saint lived without errors.
  • Nothing good ever comes of violence.
  • We should die relying on grace alone
  • A woman has no control over herself.
  • Christians are rare people on earth.
  • When the Scripture speaks, God speaks
  • Peace if possible, truth at all costs.
  • When schools flourish, all flourishes.
  • Take away the Mass, destroy the Church.
  • I would rather obey than work miracles.
  • Sin is essentially a departure from God.
  • Blood alone moves the wheels of history.
  • Whatever we make the most of is our God.
  • Against the flying ball no valor avails.
  • Whatever you love most, that is your god.
  • I cannot neglect prayer for a single day.
  • We are at fault for not slaying the Jews.
  • The defects of a preacher are soon spied.
  • To pray well is the better half of study.
  • The hair is the richest ornament of women.
  • The devil won’t stay where there is music.
  • To do so no more is the truest repentance.
  • My conscience is captive to the Word of God
  • The fewer the words, the better the prayer.
  • Prayer, study, and suffering make a pastor.
  • Teaching is of more importance than urging.
  • God’s mark is on everything that obeys Him.
  • Prayer is climbing up into the heart of God.
  • A man cannot do good before he is made good.
  • Some people need a fig-leaf on their mouths.
  • The devil doesn’t stay where there is music.
  • A penny saved is better than a penny earned.
  • You have as much laughter as you have faith.
  • Christian life consists of faith and charity
  • I have to hurry all day to get time to pray.
  • A wicked tyrant is better than a wicked war.
  • Stubbornness should have been my middle name.
  • Reason should be destroyed in all Christians.
  • A dairymaid can milk cows to the glory of God
  • A happy fart never comes from a miserable ass.
  • The Clergy is the greatest hindrance to faith.
  • To pray diligently is more than half the task.
  • All of a Christian’s life is one of repentance.
  • The Bible is the cradle wherein Christ is laid.
  • My temptations have been my Masters of Divinity.
  • Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
  • Make sure to send a lazy man the angel of death.
  • Obedience is the crown and honour of all virtue.
  • Therefore the blind Jews are truly stupid fools.
  • When I am angry I can pray well and preach well.
  • As long as we live there is never enough singing.
  • Faith is the master, and reason the maid-servant.
  • God can be found only in suffering and the cross.
  • The Gospel is nothing less than laughter and joy.
  • How can a reason which hates God be called sound?
  • …Hope endures and overcomes misfortune and evil.
  • The organ in the worship service is a sign of Baal.
  • Brief let me be. The fewer words the better prayer.
  • The fool will upset the whole science of astronomy.
  • Come, let us sing a psalm, and drive away the devil.
  • To progress is always to begin always to begin again
  • The God of this world is riches, pleasure and pride.
  • The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation
  • The heart of religion lies in its personal pronouns.
  • Faith ever says, “If Thou wilt,” not “If Thou canst.
  • Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God.
  • Riches, understanding, beauty, are fair gifts of God.
  • Faith is a living, daring, confidence in God’s grace.
  • Our loving God wills that we eat, drink and be merry.
  • What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?
  • A penny saved is of more value than a penny paid out.
  • I see a word that hates evil more than it loves good.
  • Many pass for saints on earth whose souls are in hell.
  • Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.
  • The Holy Ghost must here be our only master and tutor.
  • Of whom shall I be afraid? One with God is a majority.
  • False preachers are worse than deflowerers of virgins.
  • Great thieves go Scott-free, as the Pope and his crew.
  • God is not hostile to sinners, but only to unbelievers.
  • Demons live in many lands, but particularly in Prussia.
  • Ah, if I could only pray the way that dog looks at meat.
  • The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious.
  • I do not admit that my doctrine can be judged by anyone.
  • We should throw the Epistle of James out of this school.
  • To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of reason.
  • Before every great opportunity God gave me a great trial.
  • There are two days in my calendar: This day and that Day.
  • One Book is enough, but a thousand books is not too many!
  • The law works fear and wrath; grace works hope and mercy.
  • The law of God cannot be fulfilled by external obedience.
  • No gown worse becomes a woman than the desire to be wise.
  • The irony is I stopped going to church a few weeks later.
  • God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.
  • Nothing in the world causes so much misery as uncertainty.
  • In this Revolution no plans have been written for retreat.
  • Christ is the master; the Scriptures are only the servant.
  • Divinity consists in use and practice, not in speculation.
  • The church converteth the whole world by blood and prayer.
  • Women should remain at home, sit still, and bear children.
  • Scripture is the manger in which we find the Christ child.
  • I more fear what is within me than what comes from without.
  • Let the man who would hear God speak, read Holy Scriptures.
  • Next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise.
  • Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God.
  • Though in midst of life we be Snares of death surround us.
  • If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.
  • Remove Christ from the Scriptures and there is nothing left.
  • We are but the instruments or assistants, by whom God works.
  • Without images we can neither think nor understand anything.
  • Christ desires nothing more of us than that we speak of him.
  • All who call on God in true faith…will certainly be heard.
  • Mary was not only holy. She was also the mother of the Lord.
  • I know not the way God leads me, but well do I know my Guide.
  • You should point to the whole man Jesus and say, That is God.
  • All we who believe on Christ are kings and priests in Christ.
  • Now just behold these miserable, blind, and senseless people.
  • The Law is for the proud and the Gospel for the brokenhearted.
  • If a man serves not God only, then surely he serves the devil.
  • Can he who understands not God’s word, understand God’s works?
  • The Holy Spirit has a way of His own to say much in few words.
  • Every book is a great action and every great action is a book!
  • It is the duty of every Christian to be Christ to his neighbor.
  • No other God have I but thee, born in a manger, died on a tree.
  • This is true faith, a living confidence in the goodness of God.
  • One drop of Christ’s blood is worth more than heaven and earth.
  • Here again you confuse and mix everything up in your usual way.
  • The gospel cannot be truly preached without offense and tumult.
  • A safe stronghold our God is still. A trusty shield and weapon.
  • Pure Christian love is not derived from the merit of the object.
  • Let Christ’s righteousness and grace, not yours, be your refuge.
  • This error of free will is a special doctrine of the Antichrist.
  • Strange, though I am saved from sin, I am not saved from sinning.
  • It is neither safe nor prudent to do anything against conscience.
  • If I am not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don’t want to go there.
  • To turn one’s eyes away from Jesus means to turn them to the Law.
  • Christ wants to slay reason and subdue the arrogance of the Jews.
  • For what God gives I thank indeed; What He withholds I do not need
  • what is sought by means of free choice is to make room for merits.
  • There never yet have been, nor are there now, too many good books.
  • The man who has the will to undergo all labor may win to any good.
  • Good works do not make a good man, but a good man does good works.
  • God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is.
  • The more a person loves, the closer he approaches the image of God.
  • I had rather be in hell with Christ, than be in heaven without him.
  • I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist.
  • Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved.
  • Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding.
  • Our Lord God doesn’t do great things except by violence, as they say
  • The quest for glory can never be satisfied, it must be extinguished.
  • We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it every day.
  • We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.
  • A lie is like a snow-ball; the longer it is rolled, the larger it is.
  • I should have no compassion on these witches; I should burn them all.
  • May the Lord fill you with His blessings and with hatred of the Pope.
  • Blessed is he who submits to the will of God; he can never be unhappy.
  • I have so many things to do today, I dare not ignore my time with God.
  • God created Adam lord of all living creatures, but Eve spoiled it all.
  • Those with prodigious skill in music are better suited for all things.
  • Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.
  • Show me where a man spends his time & money, and I’ll show you his god.
  • Whoever does not know God hidden in suffering does not know God at all.
  • The Devil fears the word of God, He can’t bite it; it breaks his teeth.
  • Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason.
  • The devil should not be allowed to keep all the best tunes for himself.
  • They are trying to make me into a fixed star. I am an irregular planet.
  • There are only two days on my calendar… today and the day of judgment
  • I have so much to do today, I’ll need to spend another hour on my knees.
  • A lie is like a snowball: the further you roll it the bigger it becomes.
  • War for the sake of war is sin, but war for the sake of defense is duty.
  • I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.
  • If you could understand a single grain of wheat you would die of wonder.
  • After theology I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.
  • When the gospel flourishes in the church, everything flourishes with it.
  • For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.
  • The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes.
  • The veneration of Mary is inscribed in the very depths of the human heart
  • We find no rest for our weary bones unless we cling to the word of grace.
  • Prayer is a powerful thing; for God has bound and tied himself thereunto.
  • We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force.
  • No man understands the Scriptures, unless he be acquainted with the Cross.
  • He who loves not women, wine, and song Remains a fool his whole life long.
  • Drive them [Jews] like mad dogs from our land… let not one of them live.
  • If we esteem them too highly, good works can become the greatest idolatry.
  • A simple man with Scripture has more authority than the Pope or a council.
  • Is it not wonderful news to believe that salvation lies outside ourselves?
  • The only saving faith is that which casts itself on God for life or death.
  • I must remain a child and pupil of the Catechism, and am glad so to remain.
  • Many of the ugly pages of American history have been obscured and forgotten
  • Whoever wishes to be a Christian, let him pluck out the eyes of his reason.
  • They gave our Master a crown of thorns, why do we hope for a crown of roses?
  • Faith is permitting ourselves to be seized by the things that we do not see.
  • A good servant is a real godsend, but truly this is a rare bird in the land.
  • It is not the imitation that makes sons; it is sonship that makes imitators.
  • I’d rather see heaven crash from the skies than one grain of God’s truth die.
  • Faith is the ‘yes’ of the heart, a conviction on which one stakes one’s life.
  • It’s not what I don’t know that bothers me – it’s what I do know and don’t do!
  • Religion is not ‘doctrinal knowledge,’ but wisdom born of personal experience.
  • We are nothing with all our gifts be they ever so great, except God assist us.
  • It is God who creates, effects, and preserves all things through his almighty.
  • I have so much to do today that I must set apart more time than usual to pray.
  • A gospel that doesn’t deal with the issues of the day is not the gospel at all.
  • You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say
  • Undoubtedly they do more and viler things than those which we know and discover
  • All creatures are merely veils under which God hides Himself and deals with us.
  • Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness.
  • The Lord commonly gives riches to foolish people, to whom he gives nothing else.
  • Let him who wants a true church cling to the Word by which everything is upheld.
  • After the devil himself, there is no worse folk than the pope and his followers.
  • So preach that those who do not fall out with their sins may fall out with thee.
  • What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good.
  • If ever the church is to flourish again, one must begin by instructing the young.
  • Superstition, idolatry, and hypocrisy have ample wages, but truth goes a begging.
  • Be a sinner and sin strongly, but more strongly have faith and rejoice in Christ.
  • Earth has nothing more tender than a woman’s heart when it is the abode of piety.
  • I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove, as the priest in Kulenberg did.
  • A Christian is never in a state of completion but always in a process of becoming.
  • A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it
  • Grace was not given to heal the spiritually sick but to decorate spiritual heroes!
  • All the cunning of the devil is exercised in trying to tear us away from the word.
  • There is no gown or garment that worse becomes a woman than when she will be wise.
  • The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,  His Kingdom is forever.
  • Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.
  • If I could today become king or emperor, I would not give up my office as preacher.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…their homes also should be razed and destroyed.
  • Our God is the God from whom cometh salvation: God is the Lord by who escape death.
  • The conscience is eternal and never dies. Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.
  • The devil flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God.
  • A religion that gives nothing, costs nothing, and suffers nothing, is worth nothing.
  • Medicine makes people ill, mathematics make them sad and theology makes them sinful.
  • By faith we began, by hope we continue, and by revelation we shall obtain the whole.
  • Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon.
  • If I could believe that God was not angry with me, I would stand on my head for joy.
  • Personally I declare that I owe the Pope no other obedience than that to Antichrist.
  • It cannot, indeed, be denied, that a good man is more worthy of love than a bad one.
  • God is a blank sheet upon which nothing is found but what you yourself have written.
  • The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing.
  • The saved are singled out not by their own merits, but by the grace of the Mediator.
  • Nothing is more beautiful in the eyes of God than a soul that loves to hear His Word.
  • Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body.
  • In a mouse we admire God’s creation and craft work. The same may be said about flies.
  • The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough.
  • Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world.
  • God is entirely and personally present in the wilderness, in the garden, in the field.
  • I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict Scripture.
  • Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control.
  • Wealth is the smallest thing on earth, the least gift that God has bestowed on mankind.
  • Mankind has a free will; but it is free to milk cows and to build houses, nothing more.
  • I’ve got so much work to do today, I’d better spend two hours in prayer instead of one.
  • If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them.
  • To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.
  • Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.
  • Truly, if faith is there, the believer cannot hold back… he breaks out into good works.
  • Let us keep to Christ, and cling to Him, and hang on Him, so that no power can remove us.
  • Jews and papists are ungodly wretches; they are two stockings made of one piece of cloth.
  • Thus every matter, if it is to be done well, calls for the attention of the whole person.
  • Let your holy Angel have charge concerning us, that the wicked one have no power over us.
  • It is better to think of church in the ale-house than to think of the ale-house in church.
  • The authority of Scripture is greater than the comprehension of the whole of man’s reason.
  • True faith will no more fail to produce [good works] than the sun can cease to give light.
  • To have peace and love in marriage is a gift which is next to the knowledge of the Gospel.
  • Works indeed are good, and God strictly requires them of us, but they do not make us holy.
  • What would it matter if, for the sake of the Christian Church, one were to tell a big lie?
  • Sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
  • What do we older folks live for if not for the care of the young, to teach and train them?
  • Every week I preach justification by faith to my people, because every week they forget it.
  • Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God.
  • How is God’s name hallowed among us? When both our doctrine and living are truly Christian.
  • Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things.
  • The curses of the ungodly are more pleasing to God’s ears than the hallelujahs of the pious
  • Pray like it all depends on God, then when you are done, go work like it all depends on you.
  • If you see yourself as a “little sinner” you will inevitably see Jesus as a “little savior”.
  • Our works do not generate righteousness, rather our righteousness in Christ generates works.
  • The first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God’s law and to show the nature of sin.
  • Married love burns as fire, and seeks nothing more than the mate. It says, “I want only you”
  • When Satan tells me I am a sinner he comforts me immeasurably, since Christ died for sinners.
  • Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let him make her sorry to see him leave.
  • Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.
  • Faith is a free surrenderand a joyous wager on the unseen, unknown, untested goodness of God.
  • Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.
  • Whoever does not accept my teaching may not be saved – for it is God’s teaching and not mine.
  • If I should neglect prayer but a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.
  • I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.
  • Nothing is more sweet than harmony in marriage, and nothing more distressing than dissension.
  • Sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive.
  • It is a tremendously hard thing to pray aright, yea, it is verily the science of all sciences.
  • Be a sinner and sinÔªøÔªø boldly,Ôªø but believe andÔªøÔªø rejoice in Christ even more boldly.
  • The will of man without grace is not free, but is enslaved, and that too with its own consent.
  • A man must completely despair of himself in order to become fit to obtain the grace of Christ.
  • Holy Christendom has, in my judgment, no better teacher after the apostles than St. Augustine.
  • Bewilderment is the true comprehension. Not to know where you are going is the true knowledge.
  • We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished.
  • Who waits until circumstances completely favor his undertaking, will never accomplish anything.
  • God creates out of nothing. Therefore, until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.
  • Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God, your functional savior.
  • The winds are nothing else but good or bad spirits. Hark! how the Devil is puffing and blowing.
  • Anything that one imagines of God apart from Christ is only useless thinking and vain idolatry.
  • The truth is mightier than eloquence, the Spirit greater than genius, faith more than education.
  • It is pleasing to the dear God whenever thou rejoicest or laughest from the bottom of thy heart.
  • We know, on the authority of Moses, that longer than six thousand years the world did not exist.
  • I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s Word: otherwise I did nothing. The Word of God did it all.
  • The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.
  • God has set the type of marriage through creation. Each creature seeks its perfection in another.
  • It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business of the morning and the last of the evening.
  • I have done nothing; the Word has done and accomplished everything…. I let the Word do its work!
  • Our bodies are always exposed to Satan. The maladies I suffer are not natural, but Devil’s spells.
  • The bible is the cradle that holds the Christ, without him it is nothing more than wood and straw.
  • Whenever the word is rightly preached, and attentively heard, it never fails to bring forth fruit.
  • I compare it with a lie, which like to a snowball, the longer it is rolled the greater it becomes.
  • I would not have preachers torment their hearers, and detain them with long and tedious preaching.
  • That the Creator himself comes to us and becomes our ransom – this is the reason for our rejoicing.
  • At Sussen, the Devil carried off, last Good Friday, three grooms who had devoted themselves to him.
  • Therefore we Christians, in turn, are obliged not to tolerate their wanton and conscious blasphemy.
  • Christians fight best on their knees. Whatever good may be done is done and brought about by prayer.
  • Grant that I may not pray alone with the mouth; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.
  • The whole Turkish empire is nothing else but a crust cast by Heaven’s great Housekeeper to His dogs.
  • God created the world out of nothing, and so long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.
  • The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.
  • A theologian is born by living, nay dying and being damned, not by thinking, reading, or speculating.
  • True Christian love is not derived from things without, but floweth from the heart, as from a spring.
  • Prayer is a very precious medicine, one that certainly helps and never fails, if you will only use it.
  • Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
  • Whoever sees Christ as a mirror of the Father’s heart, actually walks through the world with new eyes.
  • I maintain that some Jew wrote it who probably heard about Christian people but never encountered any.
  • The bible is a remarkable fountain: the more one draws and drinks of it, the more it stimulates thirst.
  • There is no more lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
  • Everything is from God himself, both commandment and fulfillment. He alone commands; he alone fulfills.
  • We old folks have to find our cushions and pillows in our tankards. Strong beer is the milk of the old.
  • Not only the words (vocabula) which the Holy Spirit and Scripture use are divine, but also the phrasing
  • As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars.
  • Many demons are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark poolly places ready to hurt…people.
  • I can’t keep the sparrows from flying around my head, but I can keep them from making a nest in my hair.
  • I put the Scriptures above all the sayings of the fathers, angels, men and devils. Here I take my stand.
  • Human reason is like a drunken man on horseback; set it up on one side, and it tumbles over on the other
  • Adam and Eve derived the fullness of joy and bliss from their contemplation of all the animal creatures.
  • When I was a child there were many witches, and they bewitched both cattle and men, especially children.
  • God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
  • What man, if he were God, would humble himself to lie in the feedbox of a donkey or to hang upon a cross?
  • Those who lapse from the Gospel to the Law are no better off than those who lapse from grace to idolatry.
  • I am so busy now that if I did not spend three hours each day in prayer, I could not get through the day.
  • We must beat the Gospel into peoples’ heads incessantly because it’s the one thing we’re prone to forget.
  • Ambition begat simony; simony begat the pope and his brethren, about the time of the Babylonish captivity
  • If it were art to overcome heresy with fire, the executioners would be the most learned doctors on earth.
  • We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation.
  • We do not become righteous by doing righteous deed but, having been made righteous, we do righteous deeds.
  • When God creates faith in a man, that is as great a work as if He created heaven and earth all over again.
  • All laws and philosophy merely tell us what should be done, but they do not provide the strength to do it.
  • To worship God in spirit is the service and homage of the heart, and implies fear of God and trust in Him.
  • If I had power over the Jews, as our princes and cities have, I would deal severely with their lying mouth
  • For they who think they make an end of temptation by yeilding to it, only set themselves on fire the more.
  • I have such hatred of divorce that I prefer bigamy to divorce. Anyway, I think we should see other people.
  • And I myself, in Rome, heard it said openly in the streets, “If there is a hell, then Rome is built on it.
  • God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to God because he loves them.
  • If the earth is fit for laughter then surely heaven is filled with it. Heaven is the birthplace of laughter.
  • Whoever has skill in music is of good temperament and fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools.
  • People must have righteous principals in the first, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.
  • God wants us to pray, and he wants to hear our prayers-not because we are worthy, but because he is merciful.
  • Rough, boisterous, stormy and altogether warlike, I am born to fight against innumerable monsters and devils.
  • My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.
  • It is a miracle how God has so long preserved His Book! How great and glorious it is to have the Word of God!
  • I have grounded my preaching upon the literal word; he that pleases may follow me; he that will not may stay.
  • To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer.
  • A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing: our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing.
  • The mystery of the humanity of Christ, that he sunk himself into our flesh, is beyond all human understanding.
  • Marriage is a civic matter. It is really not, together with all its circumstances, the business of the church.
  • Human nature is like a drunk peasant. Lift him into the saddle on one side, over he topples on the other side.
  • It is not I that smite, stab, and slay, but God and my prince, for my hand and my body are now their servants.
  • I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, Self.
  • The certain mark by which a Christian community can be recognized is the preaching of the gospel in its purity.
  • We must not regard what or how the world esteems us, so we have the Word pure, and are certain of our doctrine.
  • He that has but one word of God before him, and out of that word cannot make a sermon, can never be a preacher.
  • Whoso hearkens not to God’s voice, is an idolator, though he perform the highest and most heavy service of God.
  • As for the demented, I hold it certain that all beings deprived of reason are thus afflicted only by the Devil.
  • When asked what he would do if he knew the world would end tomorrow, Martin Luther said, “I would plant a tree.”
  • Justice is a temporary thing that must at last come to an end; but the conscience is eternal and will never die.
  • God freely forgives us on account of Christnot on account of our works, contrition, confession, or satisfactions.
  • Put thou thy trust in God; In duty’s path go on; Fix on His word thy steadfast eye; So shall thy work be done.
  • God’s love does not love that which is worthy of being loved, but it creates that which is worthy of being loved.
  • An angel is a spiritual creature created by God without a body, for the service of Christendom and of the church.
  • In our sad condition our only consolation is the expectancy of another life. Here below all is incomprehensible.
  • Always preach in such a way that if the people listening do not come to hate their sin, they will instead hate you
  • It would be a good thing if young people were wise and old people were strong, but God has arranged things better.
  • To preach Christ is to feed the soul, to justify it, to set it free, and to save it, if it believes the preaching.
  • Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have always received more than I asked for. God may delay, but He always comes.
  • The soul can do without everything except the word of God, without which none at all of its wants are provided for.
  • so it is with human reason, which strives not against faith, when enlightened, but rather furthers and advances it.
  • None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience.
  • It is impossible to separate works from faith- yea, just as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews.
  • This is the reason why our Theology is certain: because it seizes us from ourselves and places us outside ourselves.
  • Twas a special gift of God that speech was given to mankind; for through the Word, and not by force, wisdom governs.
  • The whole being of any Christian is faith and love. Faith brings the person to God, love brings the person to people.
  • There are three conversions necessary (for the Christian life): the conversion of the heart, the mind, and the purse.
  • When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent,’ he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.
  • Every doer of the law and every moral worker is accursed, for he walketh in the presumption of his own righteousness.
  • If God were willing to sell His grace, we would accept it more quickly and gladly than when He offers it for nothing.
  • In a delightful garden, sowing, planting or digging are not hardship but are done with a zeal and a certain pleasure.
  • The hair is the finest ornament women have. Of old, virgins used to wear it loose, except when they were in mourning.
  • People give ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus]…this fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy
  • The slender capacity of man’s heart cannot comprehend the unfathomable depth and burning zeal of God’s love toward us.
  • As is the business of tailors to make clothes and cobblers to make shoes, so it is the business of Christians to pray.
  • To be convinced in our hearts that we have forgiveness of sins and peace with God by grace alone is the hardest thing.
  • Faith cannot be inherited or gained by being baptized into a Church. Faith is a matter between the individual and God.
  • Without armaments peace cannot be kept; wars are waged not only to repel injustice but also to establish a firm peace.
  • Did I not tell you earlier that a Jew is such a noble, precious jewel that God and all the angels dance when he farts?
  • I cannot believe that my illness is natural. I suspect Satan, and therefore I am the more inclined to take it lightly.
  • Spare the rod and spoil the child – that is true. But, beside the rod, keep an apple to give him when he has done well.
  • Thus, dear friends, I have said it clearly enough, and I believe you ought to understand it and not make liberty a law.
  • True humility does not know that it is humble. If it did, it would be proud from the contemplation of so fine a virtue.
  • Leave the ass burdened with laws behind in the valley. But your conscience, let it ascend with Isaac into the mountain.
  • Nothing is more unbecoming to a teacher of the Word than flippancy. He must be serious and should not act like a clown.
  • Let a man be endowed with ten virtues and have but one fault and the one fault will eclipse and darken all the virtues.
  • One learns more of Christ in being married and rearing children than in several lifetimes spent in study in a monastery.
  • Though we be active in the battle, if we are not fighting where the battle is the hottest, we are traitors to the cause.
  • The Bible is the book that makes fools of the wise of this world; it is only understood by the plain and simple hearted.
  • Men are so delving into the mysteries of things that today a boy of twenty knows more than twenty doctors formerly knew.
  • Adam was created, as it were, intoxicated with rejoicing toward God and was delighted also with all the other creatures.
  • Christianity can be summed up in the two terms faith and love…receiving from above [faith] and giving out below [love].
  • God works by contraries so that a man feels himself to be lost in the very moment when he is on the point of being saved.
  • An earthly kingdom cannot exist without inequality of persons. Some must be free, some serfs, some rulers, some subjects.
  • Feelings come, and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving. My warrant is the Word of God, naught else is worth believing.
  • If you young fellows were wise, the devil couldn’t do anything to you, but since you aren’t wise, you need us who are old.
  • Should anyone knock at my heart and say, ‘Who lives here?’ I should reply, ‘Not Martin Luther, but the Lord Jesus Christ.’
  • [The Psalms are] a Little Bible, wherein everything contained in the entire Bible is beautifully and briefly comprehended.
  • Dearest Jesus, holy child, make thee a bed, soft, undefiled, within my heart, that it may be a quiet chamber kept for thee.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings…are to be taken from them.
  • So great are the effectiveness and power of the Word of God that the more it is persecuted the more it flourishes and grows.
  • Peace is more important than all justice; and peace was not made for the sake of justice, but justice for the sake of peace.
  • The forces of good and evil are working within and around me, I must choose, and in a free will universe I do have a choice.
  • Sin cannot tear you away from him [Christ] even though you commit adultery a hundred times a day and commit as many murders.
  • I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word, till soul and body sever. For though all things pass away, His Word shall stand forever.
  • Someone asked Luther, “Do you feel that you’ve been forgiven?” He answered, “No, but I’m as sure As there’s a God in Heaven!”
  • Lord God…use me as Your instrument — but do not forsake me, for if ever I should be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.
  • I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.
  • Father and Mother are apostles, bishops and priests to their children, for it is they who make them acquainted with the gospel.
  • All our experience with history should teach us, when we look back, how badly human wisdom is betrayed when it relies on itself
  • The Holy Ghost has called me by the gospel and illuminated me with his gifts and sanctified and preserved me in the true faith.
  • God doesn’t slack his promises because of our sins or hasten them because of our righteousness. He pays no attention to either.
  • You should not believe your conscience and your feelings more than the word which the Lord who receives sinners preaches to you.
  • Love is an image of God, and not a lifeless image, but the living essence of the divine nature which beams full of all goodness.
  • If you want to interpret well and confidently, set Christ before you, for He is the man to whom it all applies, every bit of it.
  • Either God must be unjust, or you, Jews, wicked and ungodly. You have been, about fifteen hundred years, a race rejected of God.
  • Christ designed that the day of his coming should be hid from us, that being in suspense, we might be as it were upon the watch.
  • If men only believe enough in Christ they can commit adultery and murder a thousand times a day without periling their salvation.
  • You may as well quit reading and hearing the Word of God, and give it to the devil, if you do not desire to live according to it.
  • The Devil has a great advantage against us inasmuch as he has a strong bastion and bulwark against us in our own flesh and blood.
  • Faith looks to the word and the promise; that is, to the truth. But hope looks to that which the word has promised, to the gift .
  • Some plague the people with too long sermons; for the faculty of listening is a tender thing, and soon becomes weary and satiated.
  • When God wants to speak and deal with us, he does not avail himself of an angel but of parents, or the pastor, or of our neighbor.
  • God uses lust to impel men to marry, ambition to office, avarice to earning, and fear to faith. God led me like an old blind goat.
  • We may well lie with what seems to be a woman of flesh and blood, and yet all the time it is only a devil in the shape of a woman.
  • God does not give grace freely in the sense that He will demand no satisfaction, but He gave Christ to be the satisfaction for us.
  • We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.
  • When questioned whether the Blessed will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest tortured answers, “Not in the least.”
  • We need not invite the Devil to our table; he is too ready to come without being asked. The air all about us is filled with demons.
  • Whenever the true message of the cross is abolished, the anger of hypocrites and heretics eases and all things seem to be at peace.
  • Faith does not inquire whether there are good works to be done, but even before asking questions, faith has done the works already.
  • He that will maintain that man’s free will is able to do or work anything in spiritual cases, be they never so small, denies Christ.
  • Godly people are waiting for the Lord; therefore they live, therefore they are saved, therefore they receive what has been promised.
  • We are determined here in Montgomery to work and fight until justice runs ‘down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.’
  • When God contemplates some great work, He begins it by the hand of some poor, weak, human creature, to whom He afterwards gives aid.
  • The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him, for he cannot bear scorn.
  • Singing has nothing to do with the affairs of this world: it is not for the law. Singers are merry, and free from sorrows and cares.
  • Whoever teaches differently from what I have taught, or whoever condemns me therein, he condemns God and must remain a child of hell.
  • I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.
  • Two devils rose from the water, and flew off through the air, crying, ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ and turning one over another, in sportive mockery.
  • Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that the believer would stake his life on it a thousand times.
  • A preacher should have the skill to teach the unlearned simply roundly, and plainly; for teaching is of more importance than exhorting.
  • It is impossible for a man to be a Christian without having Christ; and if he has Christ he has at the same time all that is in Christ.
  • Grace remits sin, and peace quiets the conscience. Sin and conscience torment us, but Christ has overcome these fiends now and forever.
  • He who hears this name [God] from a Jew must inform the authorities, or else throw sow dung at him when he sees him and chase him away.
  • For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver.
  • All who call on God in true faith, earnestly from the heart, will certainly be heard, and will receive what they have asked and desired.
  • Of all deadly sins, this is the most deadly, namely, that any one should think he is not guilty of a damnable and deadly sin before God.
  • The fact that the biblical book Hebrews is not an epistle of St Paul, or of any other apostle, is proved by what it says in chapter two.
  • Jesus Christ never died for our good works. They were not worth dying for. But he gave himself for our sins, according to the Scriptures.
  • Music is a discipline, and a mistress of order and good manners, she makes the people milder and gentler, more moral and more reasonable.
  • Glory to God in highest heaven, Who unto man His Son hath given;  While angels sing with tender mirth,  A glad new year to all the earth.
  • There is no rustic so rude but that, if he dreams or fancies anything, it must be the whisper of the Holy Ghost, and he himself a prophet.
  • Whoever drinks beer, he is quick to sleep; whoever sleeps long, does not sin; whoever does not sin, enters Heaven! Thus, let us drink beer!
  • Now the Church is not wood and stone, but the company of believing people; one must hold to them, and see how they believe, live and teach.
  • Angels are our true and trusty servants, performing offices and works that one poor miserable mendicant would be ashamed to do for another.
  • The article of justification is fragile. Not in itself, of course, but in us. I know how quickly a person can forfeit the joy of the Gospel.
  • Music must be supported by the king and the princes, for the maintenance of the arts is their duty no less than the maintenance of the laws.
  • God’s entire divine nature is wholly and entirely in all creatures, more deeply, more inwardly, more present than the creature is to itself.
  • And though this world with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
  • Some will object that the Law is divine and holy. Let it be divine and holy. The Law has no right to tell me that I must be justified by it.
  • When Jesus Christ utters a word, He opens His mouth so wide that it embraces all Heaven and earth, even though that word be but in a whisper.
  • The Holy Ghost is not a Sceptic, and He has not inscribed in our hearts uncertain opinions, but, rather, affirmations of the strongest sorts.
  • In many countries there are particular places to which devils more especially resort. In Prussia there is an infinite number of evil spirits.
  • The world says of marriage: A short joy and a long displeasure. But he who understands it finds in it delight, love, and joy without ceasing.
  • Count it one of the highest virtues upon earth to educate faithfully the children of others, which so few, and scarcely any, do by their own.
  • People go through three conversions: The conversion of their head, their heart, and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.
  • He who receives a sacrament does not perform a good work; he receives a benefit. In the mass we give Christ nothing; we only receive from Him.
  • How often have not the demons called ‘Nix,’ drawn women and girls into the water, and there had commerce with them, with fearful consequences.
  • The inner man cannot be forced to do out of his own free will, what he should do, except the grace of God change the heart and make it willing.
  • Good works are the seals and proofs of faith; for even as a letter must have a seal to strengthen the same, even so faith must have good works.
  • In the Church, great wonders daily occur, such as the forgiveness of sins, triumph over death . . . the gift of righteousness and eternal life.
  • A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject of all, subject to all.
  • The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.
  • What can only be taught by the rod and with blows will not lead to much good; they will not remain pious any longer than the rod is behind them.
  • A preacher must be both soldier and shepherd. He must nourish, defend, and teach; he must have teeth in his mouth, and be able to bite and fight.
  • The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.
  • I pray that God would open the mouth in me and the heart in you and that he would be the teacher in the midst of us who may in us speak and hear.
  • The Devil…clutched hold of the miserable young man…and flew off with him through the ceiling, since which time nothing has been heard of him.
  • Wer nicht liebt Wein,Weib und Gesang, Der bleibt ein Narr sein Leben lang. Who loves not woman, wine and song Remains a fool his whole life long.
  • women and girls begin to bare themselves behind and in front, and there is nobody to punish and hold in check, and besides, God’s word is mocked.
  • God delights in our temptations and yet hates them. He delights in them when they drive us to prayer; he hates them when they drive us to despair.
  • Music is a fair and glorious gift of God. I am strongly persuaded that after theology, there is no art which can be placed on the level with music.
  • The worship of God….should be free at table, in private rooms, downstairs, upstairs, at home, abroad, in all places, by all peoples, at all times
  • It is the most ungodly and dangerous business to abandon the certain and revealed will of God in order to search in to the hidden mysteries of God.
  • Good news from heaven the angels bring, Glad tidings to the earth they sing: To us this day a child is given, To crown us with the joy of heaven.
  • God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing
  • Everything that is done in the world is done by hope. No merchant or tradesman would set himself to work if he did not hope to reap benefit thereby.
  • A great variety of reading confuses and does not teach. It makes the student like a man who dwells everywhere and, therefore, nowhere in particular.
  • He [Christ] died for me. He made His righteousness mine and made my sin His own; and if He made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.
  • The will of man without the grace of God is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil since it cannot turn itself to good.
  • I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.
  • Let us not flutter too high, but remain by the manger and the swaddling clothes of Christ, ‘in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.’
  • There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason…Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
  • The church that preaches the gospel in all of its fullness, except as it applies to the great social ills of the day, is failing to preach the gospel.
  • We ought first to know that there are no good works except those which God has commanded, even as there is no sin except that which God has forbidden.
  • When God works in us, the will, being changed and sweetly breathed upon by the Spirit of God, desires and acts, not from compulsion, but responsively.
  • War is the greatest plague that can afflict humanity, it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it.
  • I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates to hell.
  • We ought not to criticize, explain, or judge the Scriptures by our mere reason, but diligently, with prayer, meditate thereon, and seek their meaning.
  • Rest in the Lord; wait patiently for Him. In Hebrew, “Be silent in God, and let Him mould thee.” Keep still, and He will mould thee to the right shape.
  • If by any effort of reason I could conceive how God, Who shows so much anger and iniquity, could be merciful and just, there would be no need of faith.
  • Christ is no Moses, no exactor, no giver of laws, but a giver of grace, a Savior; he is infinite mercy and goodness, freely and bountifully given to us.
  • If you preach the gospel in all aspects with the exception of the issues which deal specifically with your time, you are not preaching the gospel at all.
  • If we wish to wash our hands of the Jews blasphemy and not share in their guilt, we have to part company with them. They must be driven from our country.
  • I shall never be a heretic; I may err in dispute, but I do not wish to decide anything finally; on the other hand, I am not bound by the opinions of men.
  • I have before me God’s Word which cannot fail, nor can the gates of hell prevail against it; thereby will I remain, though the whole world be against me.
  • If God is to create or to preserve a creature, God must be present and must make and preserve God’s creation both in its innermost and outermost aspects.
  • The fool will upset the whole science of astronomy, but as the Holy Scripture shows, it was the sun and not the earth which Joshua ordered to stand still.
  • A Christian is free and independent in every respect, a bond servant to none. A Christian is a dutiful servant in every respect, owing a duty to everyone.
  • There is no justification without sanctification, no forgiveness without renewal of life, no real faith from which the fruits of new obedience do not grow.
  • It is the nature of all hypocrites and false prophets to create a conscience where there is none, and to cause conscience to disappear where it does exist.
  • I have undertaken to translate the Bible into German. This was good for me; otherwise I might have died in the mistaken notion that I was a learned fellow.
  • Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world.
  • If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.
  • He who loses sight of the word of God, falls into despair; the voice of heaven no longer sustains him; he follows only the disorderly tendency of his heart.
  • Blessed is the man that hath not walked in the way of the Sacramentarians, nor sat in the seat of the Zwinglians, nor followed the Council of the Zurichers.
  • The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands
  • One thing, and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is the most holy Word of God, the gospel of Christ.
  • For from the error of not knowing, or understanding, what sin is, there necessarily arises another error, that people cannot know or understand what grace is.
  • Let every man recognize what he is, and be certain that we are all equally priests, that is, we have the same power in the word and in any sacrament whatever.
  • Snakes and monkeys are subjected to the demon more than other animals. Satan lives in them and possesses them. He uses them to deceive men and to injure them.
  • God wants to be praised for nourishing and cherishing, for He cherishes all creatures. He is not only the Creator, but He is also the Sustainer and Nourisher.
  • Anyone who is to find Christ must first find the church. How could anyone know where Christ is and what faith is in him unless he knew where his believers are?
  • Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending; while love, like warmth, should beam forth on every side, and bend to every necessity of our brethren.
  • Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
  • The two chief things are faith and love. Faith receives the good; love gives the good. Faith offers us God as our own; love gives us to our neighbor as his own.
  • Exhort your household to learn [the Ten Commandments] word for word, that they should obey God. ¶For if you teach and urge your families things will go forward.
  • Astrology is framed by the devil, to the end people may be scared from entering into the state of matrimony, and from every divine and human office and calling.
  • what the situation will be like in the world before the Lord returns, namely, Christ will be despised, and the preachers of the Gospel will be regarded as fools.
  • Yes, I see the Church as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists.
  • Maternity is a glorious thing, since all mankind has been conceived, born, and nourished of women. All human laws should encourage the multiplication of families.
  • You parents can provide no better gift for your children than an education in the liberal arts. House and home burn down, but an education is easy to carry along.
  • I often laugh at Satan, and there is nothing that makes him so angry as when I attack him to his face, and tell him that through God I am more than a match for him
  • Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?
  • The Holy Spirit is no Skeptic, & the things He has written in our hearts are not doubts or opinions, but assertions – surer & more certain than sense & life itself.
  • Next to theology I give to music the highest place and honor. And we see how David and all the saints have wrought their godly thoughts into verse, rhyme, and song.
  • If the heart has been reformed by the spirit, it makes use of both the useful and delightful things created and given by God in a holy manner and with thanksgiving.
  • He who is well acquainted with the text of scripture, is a distinguished theologian. For a Bible passage or text is of more value than the comments of four authors.
  • Our Lord God doeth work like a printer who setteth the letters backwards; we see and feel well his setting, but we shall see the print yonder – in the life to come.
  • from you, my dear Erasmus, let me obtain this request, that just as I bear with your ignorance in these matters, so you in turn will bear with my lack of eloquence.
  • We refuse to have our conscience bound by any work or law, so that by doing this or that we should be righteous, or leaving this or that undone we should be damned.
  • Isaiah calls the Church barren because her children are born without effort by the Word of faith through the Spirit of God. It is a matter of birth, not of exertion.
  • That which the sober man keeps in his breast, the drunken man lets out at the lips. Astute people, when they want to ascertain a man’s true character, make him drunk.
  • If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.
  • Nothing on earth is so well-suited to make the sad merry, the merry sad, to give courage to the despairing, to make the proud humble, to lessen envy and hate, as music.
  • Temptations, of course, cannot be avoided, but because we cannot prevent the birds from flying over our heads, there is no need that we should let them nest in our hair.
  • No one may forsake their neighbors when they are in trouble. Everybody is under obligation to help and support their neighbors as they would themselves like to be helped.
  • What is it to serve God and to do His will? Nothing else than to show mercy to our neighbor. For it is our own neighbor who needs our service; God in heaven needs it not.
  • When we hear that Christ was made a curse for us, let us believe it with joy and assurance. By faith Christ changes places with us. He gets our sins, we get His holiness.
  • To comfort a sorrowful conscience is much better than to possess many kngdoms; yet the world regards it not; nay, condemns it, calling us rebels, dissturbers of the peace.
  • I am afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labor in explaining the Holy Scriptures and engraving them in the heart of the youth.
  • It seems to me that the most delightful walk of life is to be found in a household of moderate means, to live there with an obliging spouse and to be satisfied with little.
  • If I had to baptise a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words ‘I baptise thee in the name of Abraham’.
  • You should be certain that angels are protecting you when you go to sleep. Yea, that they are protecting you also in all your business, whether you enter or leave your home.
  • When I am angry I can write, pray, and preach well, for then my whole temperament is quickened, my understanding sharpened, and all mundane vexations and temptations depart.
  • Those who love music are gentle and honest in their tempers. I always loved music, and would not, for a great matter, be without the little skill which I possess in the art.
  • It is impossible for one man both to labor day and night to get a living, and at the same time give himself to the study of sacred learning as the preaching office requires.
  • The Mass is the greatest blasphemy of God, and the highest idolatry upon earth, an abomination the like of which has never been in Christendom since the time of the Apostles.
  • The Pope is a mere tormentor of conscience. The assembly of his greased and religious crew in praying was altogether like the croaking of frogs, which edified nothing at all.
  • Oh, what thoughts man might have had about the fact that God is in all creatures, and so might have reflected on the power and the wisdom of God in even the smallest flowers!
  • Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
  • Even like as St. Paul was converted, just so are all others converted; for we all resist God, but the Holy Ghost draws the will of mankind, when he pleases, through preaching.
  • The state of matrimony is the chief in the world after religion; but people shun it because of its inconveniences, like one who, running out of the rain, falls into the river.
  • The true despisers of the world are the people who accept what God sends them, gratefully use all things when they have them, and gladly do without them if God takes them away
  • Antichrist is the pope and the Turk [Muslim] together. A beast full of life must have a body and soul. The spirit or soul of Antichrist is the pope, his flesh or body the Turk.
  • Christ sayeth not, Abstain from the flesh, from marrying, from housekeeping, etc., as the Papists teach, for that were even to invite the devil and all his fellows to a feast.
  • Christ ought to be preached with this goal in mind–that we might be moved to faith in him so that he is not just a distant historical figure but actually Christ for you and me.
  • The truth of the matter is rather as Christ says, “He who is not with me is against me.” … He does not say “He who is not with me is not against me either, but merely neutral.
  • The most damnable and pernicious heresy that has ever plagued the mind of man was the idea that somehow he could make himself good enough to deserve to live with an all-holy God.
  • Poverty hath slain a thousand, but riches have slain ten thousand. They are very uncertain, they promise that which they cannot perform, neither can they afford a contented mind.
  • I frankly confess that even if it were possible I should not wish to have free choice given to me, or to have anything left in my own hands by which I might strive for salvation.
  • The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift, not a right. Next to faith this is the highest art – to be content with the calling in which God has placed you.
  • The Devil, too, sometimes steals human children; it is not infrequent for him to carry away infants within the first six weeks after birth, and to substitute in their place imps.
  • Lord Jesus, You are my righteousness, I am your sin. You took on you what was mine; yet set on me what was yours. You became what you were not, that I might become what I was not.
  • Even though they (women) grow weary and wear themselves out with child-bearing, it does not matter; let them go on bearing children till they die, that is what they are there for.
  • Christ and his word can hardly be recognized because of the great vermin of human ordinances. However, let this suffice for the time being on their lies against doctrine or faith.
  • No man should be alone when he opposes Satan. The Church and the ministry of the Word were instituted for this purpose, that hands may be joined together and one may help another.
  • How great, therefore, the wickedness of human nature is! How many girls there are who prevent conception and kill and expel tender fetuses, although procreation is the work of God.
  • First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf.
  • Sheep, cattle, men-servants were all possessions to be sold as it pleased their masters. It were a good thing were it still so. For else no man may compel nor tame the servile folk.
  • In Switzerland, on a high mountain, not far from Lucerne, there is a lake they call Pilate’s Pond, which the Devil has fixed upon as one of the chief residences of his evil spirits.
  • If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.
  • Even if all the world were to combine forces, they could not bring about the conception of a single child in any woman’s womb nor cause it to be born; that is wholly the work of God.
  • This is the mystery of the riches of divine grace for sinners; for by a wonderful exchange our sins are now not ours but Christ’s, and Christ’s righteousness is not Christ’s but ours.
  • God wants our conscience to be certain and sure that it is pleasing to Him. This cannot be done if the conscience is led by its own feelings, but only if it relies on the Word of God.
  • Music is one of the fairest and most glorious gifts of God, to which Satan is a bitter enemy; for it removes from the heart the weight of sorrow, and the fascination of evil thoughts.
  • Those who turn proud when their praise is sounded, who seek their own glory, not Christ’s, or those who are moved by slanders and by infamy, had better leave the ministry of the Word.
  • Cujus region, ejus rligio (Whoever’s reign, his religion) … He who owns the country owns the Church, and he that makes your laws for you has the right to make your religion for you.
  • Heaven and earth, all the emperors, kings, and princes of the world, could not raise a fit dwelling-place for God; yet, in a weak human soul, that keeps His Word, He willingly resides.
  • Let whatsoever will or can befall me, I will surely cleave by my sweet Savior Christ Jesus, for in Him am I baptized; I can neither do nor know anything but only what He has taught me.
  • God does not work salvation for fictitious sinners. Be a sinner and sin vigorously… Do not for a moment imagine that this life is the abiding place of justice; sin must be committed.
  • This is the most dangerous trial of all, when there is no trial and every thing goes well; for then a man is tempted to forget God, to become too bold and to misuse times of prosperity.
  • O, when it comes to faith, what a living, creative, active, powerful thing it is. It cannot do other than good at all times. It never waits to ask whether there is some good work to do.
  • The highest and most precious treasure we receive of God is, that we can speak, hear, see, etc.; but how few acknowledge these as God’s special gifts, much less give God thanks for them.
  • For the devil is better pleased with coarse blockheads and with folks who are useful to nobody; because where such characters abound, then things do not go on prosperously here on earth.
  • For God is wholly present in all creation, in every corner, he is behind you and before you. Do you think he is sleeping on a pillow in heaven? He is watching over you and protecting you.
  • I am bound by the texts of the Bible, my conscience is captive to the Word of God, I neither can nor will recant anything, since it is neither right nor safe to act against my conscience.
  • Men are not made religious by performing certain actions which are externally good, but they must first have righteous principles, and then they will not fail to perform virtuous actions.
  • Our faith is an astounding thing-astounding that I should believe him to be the Son of God who is suspended on the cross, whom I have never seen, with whom I have never become acquainted.
  • I know that a Christian should be humble, but against the Pope I am going to be proud and say to him: “You, Pope, I will not have you for my boss, for I am sure that my doctrine is divine.
  • Our office…subjects us to great burdens and labors, dangers and temptations, with little reward or gratitude from the world. But Christ himself will be our reward if we labor faithfully.
  • [Our] plan is to follow the example of the prophets and the ancient fathers of the church, and to compose psalms…so that the Word of God may be among the people also in the form of music.
  • The mad mob does not ask how it could be better, only that it be different. And when it then becomes worse, it must change again. Thus they get bees for flies, and at last hornets for bees.
  • Whatever man loves, that is his god. For he carries it in his heart; he goes about with it night and day; he sleeps and wakes with it, be it what it may – wealth or self, pleasure or renown.
  • Like the early Christians, we must move into a sometime hostile world armed with the revolutionary gospel of Jesus Christ. With this powerful gospel we shall boldly challenge the status quo.
  • What shall we do with…the Jews?…set fire to their synagogues or schools and bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them.
  • My counsel is, that we draw water from the true source and fountain, that is, that we diligently search the Scriptures. He who wholly possesses the text of the Bible, is a consummate divine.
  • I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know One who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is there I shall be also!
  • God is not a God of sadness, death, etc., but the devil is. Christ is a God of joy, and so the Scriptures often say that we should rejoice … A Christian should and must be a cheerful person.
  • All these things He must be in me, abiding, living, speaking in me; that I may be the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. v. 21); not in love, nor in gifts and graces which follow; but in Him.
  • A large number of deaf, crippled and blind people are afflicted solely through the malice of the demon. And one must in no wise doubt that plagues, fevers and every sort of evil come from him.
  • A Christian has no need of any law in order to be saved, since through faith we are free from every law. Thus all the acts of a Christian are done spontaneously, out of a sense of pure liberty.
  • A man who has no part in the grace of God, cannot keep the commandments of God, or prepare himself, either wholly or in part, to receive grace; but he rests of necessity under the power of sin.
  • The fruit does not make the tree good or bad but the tree itself is what determines the nature of the fruit. In the same way, a person first must be good or bad before doing a good or bad work.
  • The reproduction of mankind is a great marvel and mystery. Had God consulted me in the matter, I should have advised him to continue the generation of the species by fashioning them out of clay.
  • The great unthankfulness, contempt of God’s word, and wilfulness of the world, make me fear that the divine light will soon cease to shine on man, for God’s word has ever had its certain course.
  • The offering of [the body] is called a spiritual sacrifice because it is freely sacrificed through the Spirit, the Christian being uninfluenced by the constrainst of the Low or the fear of hell.
  • The Holy Spirit is no skeptic. He has written neither doubt nor mere opinion into our hearts, but rather solid assurances, which are more sure and solid than all experience and even life itself.
  • Lord, grant that anger or other bitterness does not reign over us, but that your grace, genuine kindness, loyalty, and every kind of friendliness, generosity, and gentleness may reign in us. Amen
  • … we must drive them [Jews] out like mad dogs, so that we do not become partakers of their abominable blasphemy and all the their other vices and thus merit God’s wrath and be damned with them.
  • As when my little son John offendeth: if then I should not whip him, but call him to the table unto me, and give him sugar and plums, thereby, I should make him worse, yea should quite spoil him.
  • I have no pleasure in any man who despises music. It is no invention of ours: it is a gift of God. I place it next to theology. Satan hates music: he knows how it drives the evil spirit out of us.
  • I hate myself, that I cannot believe it so constantly and surely as I should; but no human creature can rightly know how mercifully God is inclined toward those that steadfastly believe in Christ.
  • The confidence that God is mindful of the individual is of tremendous value in dealing with the disease of fear, for it gives us a sense of worth, of belonging, and of at homeness in the universe.
  • We should consider the histories of Christ three manner of ways; first, as a history of acts or legends; second, as a gift or a present; thirdly, as an example, which we should believe and follow.
  • In his life Christ is an example showing us how to live in his death he is a sacrifice satisfying our sins in his resurrection a conqueror in his ascension a king in his intercession a high priest.
  • The best way to get rid of the Devil, if you cannot kill it with the words of Holy Scripture, is to rail at and mock him. Music, too, is very good; music is hateful to him, and drives him far away.
  • This doctrine (justification) is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour.
  • The Devil, it is true, is not exactly a doctor who has taken degrees, but he is very learned, very expert for all that. He has not been carrying on his business during thousands of years for nothing.
  • At the last, when we die, we have the dear angels for our escort on the way. They who can grasp the whole world in their hands can surely also guard our souls, that they make that last journey safely.
  • God scorns and mocks the devil, in setting under his very nose a poor, weak, human creature, mere dust and ashes, yet endowed with the firstfruits of the Spirit, against whom the devil can do nothing.
  • One is not righteous who does much, but the one who, without work, believes much in Christ. The law says, ‘Do this,’ and it is never done. Grace says, ‘Believe in this,’ and everything is already done.
  • In the bonds of Death He lay Who for our offence was slain; But the Lord is risen to-day, Christ hath brought us life again, Wherefore let us all rejoice, Singing loud, with cheerful voice, Hallelujah!
  • Christ will remain a priest and king; though He was never consecrated by any papist bishop or greased by any of those shavelings; but he was ordained and consecrated by God Himself, and by Him anointed.
  • Albert Durer, the famous painter, used to say he had no pleasure in pictures that were painted with many colors, but in those which were painted with a choice simplicity. So it is with me as to sermons.
  • Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and … know nothing but the word of God.
  • I myself saw and touched at Dessay, a child of this sort, which had no human parents, but had proceeded from the Devil. He was twelve years old, and, in outward form, exactly resembled ordinary children.
  • If God had not permitted the people of Jerusalem to be torn asunder and driven them from the land, but had let them keep it after before, no one could convince them that they are not God`s chosen people.
  • God created Adam master and lord of living creatures, but Eve spoilt all, when she persuaded him to set himself above God’s will. ‘Tis you women, with your tricks and artifices, that lead men into error.
  • Heretics cannot themselves appear good unless they depict the Church as evil, false, and mendacious. They alone wish to be esteemed as the good, but the Church must be made to appear evil in every respect.
  • Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.
  • The will is a beast of burden. If God mounts it, it wishes and goes as God wills; if Satan mounts it, it wishes and goes as Satan wills; Nor can it choose its rider… the riders contend for its possession.
  • The gospel cannot be preached and heard enough, for it cannot be grasped well enough … Moreover, our greatest task is to keep you faithful to this article and to bequeath this treasure to you when we die.
  • Believest thou? then thou wilt speak boldly. Speakest thou boldy? then thou must suffer. Sufferest thou? then thou shalt be comforted. For faith, the confession thereof, and the cross do follow one another.
  • Also when it is a case of only upholding some spiritual tenet, such as infant baptism, original sin, and unnecessary separation, then . . . we conclude that . . . the stubborn sectaries must be put to death.
  • When one is possessed with doubt, that though he call upon the Lord he cannot be heard, and that God has turned him heart from him, and is angry … he must arm himself with God’s Word, promising to hear him.
  • Look to it that you do not try to do all of it, do not try to do too much, lest your spirit grow weary. Besides, a good prayer mustn’t be too long. Do not draw it out. Prayer ought to be frequent and fervent.
  • Unto him who is able to keep us from falling, and lift us from the dark to the bright mountain of hope, from the midnight of desperation to the daybreak of joy, to him be power and authority for ever and ever.
  • The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of mere gain.
  • Great people and champions are special gifts of God, whom He gives and preserves; they do their work, and achieve great actions, not with vain imaginations, or cold and sleepy cogitations, but by motion of God.
  • At Poltersberg, there is a lake similarly cursed. If you throw a stone into it, a dreadful storm immediately arises, and the whole neighboring district quakes to its centre. ‘Tis the devils kept prisoner there.
  • We may search long to find where God is, but we shall find Him in those who keep the words of Christ. For the Lord Christ saith, ” If any man love me, he will keep my words; and we will make our abode with him.
  • It is false that the will, left to itself, can do good as well as evil, for it is not free, but in bondage…On the side of man there is nothing that goes before grace, unless it be impotency and even rebellion.
  • Women should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children…If a woman grows weary and, at last, dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her die from bearing – she is there to do it.
  • For God does not want to save us by our own but by an extraneous righteousness, one that does not originate in ourselves but comes to us from beyond ourselves, which does not arise on earth but comes from heaven.
  • I believe that the devil has destroyed many good books of the church, as, aforetime, he killed and crushed many holy persons, the memory of whom has now passed away; but the Bible he was fain to leave subsisting.
  • If the gospel was of a nature to be propagated or maintained by the power of the world, God would not have intrusted it to fishermen. To defend the gospel appertains not to the princes and pontiffs of this world.
  • Not only the adoration of images is idolatry, but also trust in one’s own righteousness, works and merits, and putting confidence in riches and power. As the latter is the commonest, so it also is the most noxious.
  • Christ took our sins and the sins of the whole world as well as the Father’s wrath on his shoulders, and he has drowned them both in himself so that we are thereby reconciled to God and become completely righteous.
  • Christians are to be taught that the pope would and should wish to give of his own money, even though he had to sell the basilica of St. Peter, to many of those from whom certain hawkers of indulgences cajole money.
  • The human heart is like a millstone in a mill: when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds and bruises the wheat to flour; if you put no wheat, it still grinds on, but then ’tis itself it grinds and wears away.
  • Thus my learning is not my own; it belongs to the unlearned and is the debt I owe themMy wisdom belongs to the foolish, my power to the oppressed. Thus my wealth belongs to the poor, my righteousness to the sinners.
  • What are the things we should pray for? First, our personal troubles…The greatest trouble we can ever know is thinking that we have no trouble for we can become hard-hearted and insensible to what is inside of us.
  • Idiots, the lame, the blind, the dumb, are men in whom the devils have established themselves: and all the physicians who heal these infirmities, as though they proceeded from natural causes, are ignorant blockheads.
  • No man ought to lay a cross upon himself, or to adopt tribulation, as is done in popedom; but if a cross or tribulation come upon him, then let him suffer it patiently, and know that it is good and profitable for him.
  • All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with “free-will”, and these are countless…For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because “free-will” can do nothing.
  • No one would be happier than Luther to be commended by the testimony of the time that he had been neither slack nor deceitful in maintaining the course of truth, but had shown quite enough and even too much vehemence.
  • Your work is a very sacred matter. God delights in it, and through it, He wants to best His blessings on you. This praise of work should be inscribed on all tools, on the forehead and the faces that sweat from toiling.
  • He who wholly renounces himself, and relies not on mere human reason, will make good progress in the Scriptures; but the world comprehends them not, from ignorance of that mortification which is the gift of God’s word.
  • Truly speech has wonderful strength and power, that through a mere word, proceeding out of the mouth of a poor human creature, the devil, that so proud and powerful spirit, should be driven away, shamed and confounded.
  • A man would have to be an idiot to write a book of laws for an apple tree telling it to bear apples and not thorns, seeing that the apple-tree will do it naturally and far better than any laws or teaching can prescribe.
  • We believe that the very beginning and end of salvation, and the sum of Christianity, consists of faith in Christ, who by His blood alone, and not by any works of ours, has put away sin, and destroyed the power of death.
  • If I had to refute all the other articles of the Jewish faith, I should be obliged to write against them as much and for as long a time as they have used for inventing their lies – that is, longer than two thousand years.
  • How rich a God our God is! He gives enough, but we don’t notice it. He gave the whole world to Adam, but this was nothing in Adam’s eyes; he was concerned about one tree and had to ask why God had forbidden him to eat it.
  • Every man must decide whether he will walk in the creative light of altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s persistent and most urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others?’
  • If Church history teaches us anything, it is that we cannot afford to be a vacillating Church. We minister to a people who are in great need of hearing truth, we dare not make any attempt to soft pedal that glorious truth.
  • If obedience is not rendered in the homes, we shall never have a whole city, country, principality, or kingdom well governed. For this order in the homes is the first rule; it is the source of all other rule and government.
  • No greater mischief can happen to a Christian people, than to have God’s word taken from them, or falsified, so that they no longer have it pure and clear. God grant we and our descendants be not witness to such a calamity.
  • I have lived to see the greatest plague on earth — the condemning of God’s word, a fearful thing, surpassing all other plagues in the world; for thereupon most surely follow all manner of punishments, eternal and corporal.
  • What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church … a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.
  • The God whom we worship is not a weak and incompetent God. He is able to beat back gigantic waves of opposition and to bring low prodigious mountains of evil. The ringing testimony of the Christian faith is that God is able.
  • If we Christians would join the Wise Men, we must close our eyes to all that glitters before the world and look rather on the despised and foolish things, help the poor, comfort the despised, and aid the neighbor in his need.
  • I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. And, what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the economic plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years.
  • You see then, that Diatribe truly possesses a free choice in her handling of Scriptures, so that words of one and the same type are for her obliged to prove endeavor in one place and freedom in another, exactly as she pleases.
  • Many sweat to reconcile St Paul and St James, but in vain. ‘Faith justifies’ and ‘faith does not justify’ contradict each other flatly. If any one can harmonize them I will give him my doctor’s hood and let him call me a fool.
  • All which happens through the whole world happens through hope. No husbandman would sow a grain of corn if he did not hope it would spring up and bring forth the ear; how much more we are helped on by hope in the eternal life.
  • The universities only ought to turn out men who are experts in the Holy Scriptures, men who can become bishops and priests, and stand in the front line against heretics, the devil, and all the world. But where do you find that?
  • Many have been deceived by outward appearances and have proceeded to write and teach about good works and how they justify without even mentioning faith…. Wearying themselves with many works, they never come to righteousness.
  • Cannons and fire-arms are cruel and damnable machines; I believe them to have been the direct suggestion of the Devil. If Adam had seen in a vision the horrible instruments his children were to invent, he would have died of grief.
  • I am not of the opinion that all the arts shall be crushed to earth and perish through the Gospel, as some bigoted persons pretend, but would willingly see them all, and especially music, servants of Him who gave and created them.
  • It is as if a wolf devoured a sheep and the sheep were so powerful that it transformed the wolf and turned him into a sheep. So, when we eat Christ’s flesh physically and spiritually, the food is so powerful that it transforms us.
  • The Holy Scriptures surpass in efficaciousness all the arts and all the sciences of the philosophers and jurists; these, though good and necessary to life here below, are vain and of no effect as to what concerns the life eternal.
  • God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Free-will” is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces.
  • A person whodoes not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs.
  • The spiritual rest, which God particularly intends in this Commandment, is this: that we not only cease from our labor and trade, but much more, that we let God alone work in us and that we do nothing of our own with all our powers.
  • Why do you rant and brag with such a spate of words, as if you wanted to overwhelm me with a sort of tempest and deluge of oratory-which nevertheless falls with the greater force on your own head, while my ark rides aloft in safety?
  • Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, and you will be saved. Now choose what you want.
  • Our suffering is not worthy the name of suffering. When I consider my crosses, tribulations, and temptations, I shame myself almost to death, thinking what are they in comparison of the sufferings of my blessed Savior Christ Jesus.
  • Farewell unhappy, hopeless, blasphemous Rome! The Wrath of God has come upon you, as you deserve. We cared for Babylon, and she is not healed; let us then leave her, that she may become the habitation of dragons, spectres, and witches.
  • World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have a God who will give me a new one.
  • I think these things [firearms] were invented by Satan himself, for they can’t be defended against with (ordinary) weapons and fists. All human strength vanishes when confronted with firearms. A man is dead before he sees what’s coming.
  • The first care of every Christian ought to be to lay aside all reliance on works, and strengthen his faith alone more and more, and by it grow in the knowledge, not of works, but of Christ Jesus, who has suffered and risen again for him.
  • My dear pope, I will kiss your feet and acknowledge you as supreme bishop if you will worship my Christ and grant that through His death and resurrection, not through keeping your traditions, we have forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
  • But the power of God cannot be so determined and measured, for it is uncircumscribed and immeasurable, beyond and above all that is or may be. On the other hand, it must be essentially present at all places, even in the tiniest tree leaf.
  • The priest is not made. He must be born a priest; must inherit his office. I refer to the new birth-the birth of water and the Spirit. Thus all Christians must became priests, children of God and co-heirs with Christ the Most High Priest.
  • Men have broad and large chests, and small narrow hips, and more understanding than women, who have but small and narrow breasts, and broad hips, to the end they should remain at home, sit still, keep house, and bear and bring up children.
  • Through faith we are restored to paradise and created anew. We have no need of works in order to be righteous; however, in order to avoid idleness and so that the body might be cared for an disciplined, works are done freely to please God.
  • That little bird has chosen his shelter. Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds.  Yet he is rocking himself to sleep without caring for tomorrow’s lodging, calmly clinging to his little twig, and leaving God to think for him.
  • Oh! how great and glorious a thing it is to have before one the Word of God! With that we may at all times feel joyous and secure; we need never be in want of consolation, for we see before us, in all its brightness, the pure and right way.
  • For some years now I have read through the Bible twice every year. If you picture the Bible to be a mighty tree and every word a little branch, I have shaken every one of these branches because I wanted to know what it was and what it meant.
  • For who in fact seeks the salvation of souls through indulgences, and not instead money for his coffers? This is evident from the way indulgences are preached . For the commissioners and preachers do nothing but extol indulgences and incite.
  • However, they have not acquired a perfect mastery of the art of lying; they lie so clumsily and ineptly that anyone who is just a little observant can easily detect it. But for us Christians they stand as a terrifying example of God’s wrath.
  • Know that no one can have indulged in the Holy Writers sufficiently, unless he has governed churches for a hundred years with the prophets, such as Elijah and Elisha, John the Baptist, Christ and the apostles… We are beggars: this is true.
  • Let all the ‘free-will’ in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength.
  • Many demons are in woods, in waters, in wildernesses, and in dark poolly places ready to hurt and prejudice people; some are also in the thick black clouds, which cause hail, lightning and thunder, and poison the air, the pastures and grounds.
  • In the midst of the affliction He counsels, strengthens confirms, nourishes, and favors us…. More over, when we have repented, He instantly remits the sins as well as the punishments. In the same manner parents ought to handle their children.
  • There is no wisdom save in truth. Truth is everlasting, but our ideas about truth are changeable. Only a little of the first fruits of wisdom, only a few fragments of the boundless heights, breadths and depths of truth, have I been able to gather.
  • Ultimately, however, conflict lies not in objective reality, but in people’s heads. Truth is simple one argument – perhaps a good one, perhaps not – for dealing with the difference. The difference itself exists because it exists in their thinking.
  • The kingdom of God does not consist in talk, but in power, that is, in works and practice. God loves the ‘doers of the word’ in faith and love, and not the ‘mere hearers,’ who, like parrots, have learned to utter certain expressions with readiness.
  • When the devil wants to cause offense against the true doctrine and faith, he does not do so through insignificant people, who do not rate highly with the world, but through those who are the very best, the wisest, the holiest, and the most learned.
  • I am of a different mind ten times in the course of a day. But I resist the devil, and often it is with a fart that I chase him away. When he tempts me with silly sins I say, ‘Devil, yesterday I broke wind too. Have you written it down on your list?
  • If any earthly institution or custom conflicts with God’s will, it is your Christian duty to oppose it. You must never allow the transitory, evanescent demands of man-made institutions to take precedence over the eternal demands of the Almighty God.
  • No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience. Whenever I have prayed earnestly, I have been heard and have obtained more than I prayed for. God sometimes delays, but He always comes.
  • You must learn that if you are a Christian, you will without a doubt experience all kinds of opposition and evil inclinations in the flesh. For when you have faith, there will be a hundred more evil thoughts and a hundred more temptations than before.
  • If there is anything in us, it is not our own; it is a gift of God. But if it is a gift of God, then it is entirely a debt one owes to love, that is, to the law of Christ. And if it is a debt owed to love, then I must serve others with it, not myself.
  • As concerning faith we ought to be invincible, and more hard, if it might be, than the adamant stone; but as touching charity, we ought to be soft, and more flexible than the reed or leaf that is shaken with the wind, and ready to yield to everything.
  • I only ask in all kindness that the man who wishes at this time to have my books will by no means let them be a hindrance to his own study of the Scriptures, but read them as I read the orders and the ordures of the pope and the books of the sophists.
  • The Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one hand, it seeks to change the souls of men, and thereby unite them with God; on the other hand, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so the soul will have a chance after it is changed.
  • But then eject them forever from this country. For, as we have heard, God’s anger with them is so intense that gentle mercy will only tend to make them worse and worse, while sharp mercy will reform them but little. Therefore, in any case, away with them!

 

  • Every occupation has its own honor before God. Ordinary work is a divine vocation or calling. In our daily work no matter how important or mundane we serve God by serving the neighbor and we also participate in God’s on-going providence for the human race.
  • Those speak foolishly who ascribe their anger or their impatience to such as offend them or to tribulation. Tribulation does not make people impatient, but proves that they are impatient. So everyone may learn from tribulation how his heart is constituted.
  • Each day of the holidays comes bringing its own gifts. Open your heart, Untie the ribbons, and enjoy the contents! Were earth a thousand times as fair Beset with gold and jewels rare She yet were far too poor to be A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.
  • This grace of God is a very great, strong, mighty and active thing. It does not lie asleep in the soul. Grace hears, leads, drives, draws, changes, works all in man, and lets itself be distinctly felt and experienced. It is hidden, but its works are evident.
  • Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their heads in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise.
  • Take this to heart and doubt not that you are the one who killed Christ. Your sins certainly did, and when you see the nails driven through his hands, be sure that you are pondering, and when the thorns pierce his brow, know that they are your evil thoughts.
  • Over against the devil and his missionaries, the authors of false doctrines and sects, we ought to be like the Apostle, impatient, and rigorously condemnatory, as parents are with the dog that bites their little one, but the weeping child itself they soothe.
  • Original sin is in us like our beard. We are shaved today and look clean; tomorrow our beard has grown again, nor does it cease growing while we remain on earth. In like manner original sin cannot be extirpated from us; it springs up in us as long as we live.
  • Once sure that the doctrine we teach is God’s Word, once certain of this, we may build thereupon, and know that this cause shall and must remain; the devil shall not be able to overthrow it, much less the world be able to uproot it, how fiercely soever it rage.
  • A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:   For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;  His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,  On earth is not his equal.
  • When God’s righteousness is mentioned in the gospel, it is God’s action of declaring righteous the unrighteous sinner who has faith in Jesus Christ. The righteousness by which a person is justified (declared righteous) is not his own but that of another, Christ.
  • In truth you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well.
  • The devil and temptations also do give occasion unto us somewhat to learn and understand the Scriptures, by experience and practice. Without trials and temptations we should never understand anything thereof; no, not although we diligently read and heard the same.
  • We are beginning to regain a knowledge of Creation, a knowledge forfeited by the fall of Adam. By God’s mercy we can begin to recognize His Wonderful works and wonders also in flowers when we ponder his might and goodness. Therefore we laud, magnify and thank Him.
  • When I was abandoned by everybody, in my greatest weakness, trembling and afraid of death, when I was persecuted by this wicked world, then I often felt most surely the divine power in this name, Jesus Christ… So, by God’s grace, I will live and die for that name.
  • If anywhere the day is made holy for the mere day’s sake – if anyone set up its observance on a Jewish foundation, then I order you to work on it, to ride on it, to dance on it, to feast on it, to do anything that shall remove this encroachment on Christian liberty.
  • Music is to be praised as second only to the Word of God because by her all the emotions are swayed. That is why there are so many songs and psalms. This precious gift has been bestowed on men alone to remind them that they are created to praise and magnify the Lord.
  • We know that death never skips or spares anybody and that no one ever returns. And yet we go on like the blind, who see as little at midday as in the pitch-dark night. We do not take these examples to heart; we do not realize that today or tomorrow our turn will come.
  • [It is] essentially wholesome and necessary, for a Christian to know, whether or not the will does any thing in those things which pertain unto Salvation. Nay, let me tell you, this is the very hinge upon which our discussion turns. It is the very heart of the subject
  • I cannot choose but adhere to the word of God, which has possession of my conscience; nor can I possibly, nor will I even make any recantation, since it is neither safe nor honest to act contrary to conscience! Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God! Amen.
  • A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of Saint Thomas Aquinas, an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law.
  • It is necessary to understand that Black Power is a cry of disappointment. The Black Power slogan did not spring full grown from the head of some philosophical Zeus. It was born from the wounds of despair and disappointment. It is a cry of daily hurt and persistent pain.
  • I have no use for cranks who despise music, because it is a gift of God. Music drives away the Devil and makes people joyful; they forget thereby all wrath, unchastity, arrogance, and the like. Next after theology, I give to music the highest place and the greatest honor.
  • The prosperity of a country depends, not on the abundance of its revenues, nor on the strength of its fortifications, nor on the beauty of its public buildings; but it consists in the number of its cultivated citizens, in its men of education, enlightenment and character.
  • In ourselves, we are sinners, and yet through faith we are righteous by the imputation of God. For we trust him who promises to deliver us, and in the meantime struggle so that sin may not overwhelm us, but that we may stand up to it until he finally take it away from us.
  • Therefore be on your guard against the Jews, knowing that wherever they have their synagogues, nothing is found but a den of devils in which sheer self-glory, conceit, lies, blasphemy, and defaming of God and men are practiced most maliciously and veheming his eyes on them.
  • The heart overflows with gladness, and leaps and dances for the joy it has found in God. In this experience the Holy Spirit is active, and has taught us in the flash of a moment the deep secret of joy. You will have as much joy and laughter in life as you have faith in God.
  • Let us not lose the Bible, but with diligence, in fear and invocation of God, read and preach it. While that remains and flourishes, all prospers with the state; ’tis head and empress of all arts and faculties. Let but divinity fall, and I would not give a straw for the rest.
  • Being by his faith replaced afresh in paradise and created anew, he (the believer)does not need works for his justification, but that he may not be idle, but that he may exercise his own body and preserve it. His works are to be done freely, with the sole object of pleasing God.
  • I would advise no one to send his child where the Holy Scriptures are not supreme. Every institution that does not unceasingly pursue the study of God’s word becomes corrupt. Because of this we can see what kind of people they become in the universities and what they are like now.
  • Lord God, I thank Thee that Thou hast been pleased to make me a poor and indigent man upon earth. I have neither house nor land nor money, to leave behind me. Thou hast given me wife and children, whom I now restore to Thee. Lord, nourish, teach, and preserve them as Thou hast me.
  • Here is the truly Christian life, here is faith really working by love, when a man applies himself with joy and love to the works of that freest servitude in which he serves others voluntarily and for nought, himself abundantly satisfied in the fulness and riches of his own faith.
  • A man must be able to affirm, I know for certain, that what I teach is the only Word of the high Majesty of God in heaven, his final conclusion and everlasting, unchangeable truth, and whatsoever concurs and agrees not with this doctrine, is altogether false, and spun by the devil.
  • Hereby we may understand that God, of His special grace, maketh the teachers of the gospel subject to the Cross, and to all kinds of afflicitons, for the salvation of themselves and of the people; for otherwise they could by no means beat down this beast which is called vain-glory.
  • For all works and things, which are either commanded or forbidden by God and thus have been instituted by the supreme Majesty, are ‘musts.’ Nevertheless, no one should be dragged to them or away from them by the hair, for I can drive no man to heaven or beat him into it with a club.
  • The faith towards God in Christ must be sure and steadfast, that it may solace and make glad the conscience, and put it to rest. When a man has this certainty, he has overcome the serpent; but if he be doubtful of the doctrine, it is for him very dangerous to dispute with the devil.
  • It is an unsufferable blasphemy to reject the public ministry or to say that people can become holy without sermons and Church. This involves a destruction of the Church and rebellion against ecclesiastical order; such upheavals must be warded off and punished like all other revolts.
  • God’s love gives in such a way that it flows from a Father’s heart, the well-spring of all good. The heart of the giver makes the gift dear and precious; as among ourselves we say of even a trifling gift, “It comes from a hand we love,” and look not so much at the gift as at the heart.
  • Amen meaneth assuredly, namely, that I am sure that petitions of this kind are accepted by my Heavenly Father, and heard by him, because he hath commanded us, that we should pray after this manner, and hath promised that he will hear us. Amen, Amen: that is, truly, certainly, so be it.
  • Daily there have to be many troubles and trials in every house, city, and country. No station in life is free of suffering and pain, both from your own, like your wife or children or household help or subjects, and from the outside, from your neighbors and all sorts of accidental trouble.
  • Sleep is a most useful and most salutary operation of nature. Scarcely any minor annoyance angers me more than the being suddenly awakened out of a pleasant slumber. I understand that in Italy they torture poor people by depriving them of sleep. `Tis a torture that cannot long be endured.
  • What shall we Christians do now with this depraved and damned people of the Jews? … I will give my faithful advice: First, that one should set fire to their synagogues. . . . Then that one should also break down and destroy their houses. . . . That one should drive them out the country.
  • We need to pledge ourselves anew to the cause of Christ. We must capture the spirit of the early church. Wherever the early Christians went, they made a triumphant witness for Christ. Whether on the village streets or in the city jails, they daringly proclaimed the good news of the gospel.
  • I have many times essayed thoroughly to investigate the ten commandments, but at the very outset, “I am the Lord thy God,” I stuck fast; that very one word, I, put me to a non-plus. He that has but one word of God before him, and out of that word cannot make a sermon, can never be a preacher.
  • In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out: there are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the United States. Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects white and Negro alike.
  • The great event on Calvary . . . is an eternal reminder to a power drunk generation that love is the most durable power in the world, and that it is at bottom the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. Only through achieving this love can you expect to matriculate into the university of eternal life.
  • There are some of us who think to ourselves, ‘If I had only been there! How quick I would have been to help the Baby. I would have washed His linen. How happy I would have been to go with the shepherds to see the Lord lying in the manger!’ Why don’t we do it now? We have Christ in our neighbor.
  • Christian living does not mean to be good but to become good; not to be well, but to get well; not being but becoming; nor rest but training. We are not yet, but we shall be. It has not yet happened, but it is the way. Not everything shines and sparkles as yet, but everything is getting better.
  • I was born to fight devils and factions. It is my business to remove obstacles, to cut down thorns, to fill up quagmires and to open and make straight paths.  If I must have some failing let me rather speak the truth with too great sincerity than once to act the hypocrite and conceal the truth.
  • The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. This, of course, is a huge burden full of great cares and toils. But you have been created by God to be a husband or a wife and that you may learn to bear these troubles.
  • We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor.
  • We must make a great difference between God’s Word and the word of man. A man’s word is a little sound, that flies into the air, and soon vanishes; but the Word of God is greater than heaven and earth, yea, greater than death and hell, for it forms part of the power of God, and endures everlastingly.
  • When some say that good works are forbidden when we preach faith alone, it is as if I said to a sick man: “If you had health, you would have the use of all your limbs; but without health, the works of all your limbs are nothing”; and he wanted to infer that I had forbidden the works of all his limbs.
  • If the peasants are in open rebellion, then they are outside the law of God. Therefore let all who are able slash, strike down, and kill (those who rebel) openly and secretly, remembering that there can be nothing more venomous, harmful, or devilish than a rebel. It is exactly like killing a mad dog.
  • From the beginning of my Reformation I have asked God to send me neither dreams, nor visions, nor angels, but to give me the right understanding of His Word, the Holy Scriptures; for as long as I have God’s Word, I know that I am walking in His way and that I shall not fall into any error or delusion.
  • I have always loved music; whoso has skill in this art, is of a good temperament, fitted for all things. We must teach music in schools; a schoolmaster ought to have skill in music, or I would not regard him; neither should we ordain young men as preachers, unless they have been well exercised in music
  • For it is a horrible blasphemy to imagine that there is any work by which you should presume to pacify God, since you see that there is nothing which is able to pacify Him but this inestimable price, even the death and the blood of the Son of God, one drop of which is more precious than the whole world.
  • Man is man because he is free to operate within a framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.
  • Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it one thousand times. This confidence in God’s grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and with all creatures; and this is the work of the Holy Ghost in faith.
  • What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and work flow.
  • In human affairs we accomplish everything through prayer. What has been properly arranged we keep in order, what has gone amiss we change and improve, what cannot be changed and improved we bear, overcoming all the trouble and sustaining all the good by prayer. Against force there is no help but prayer alone.
  • He who believes in God is not careful for the morrow, but labors joyfully and with a great heart. “For He giveth His beloved, as in sleep.” They must work and watch, yet never be careful or anxious, but commit all to Him, and live in serene tranquility; with a quiet heart, as one who sleeps safely and quietly.
  • People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon….This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13]that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.
  • Anyone who can be proved to be a seditious person is an outlaw before God and the emperor; and whoever is the first to put him to death does right and well. Therefore let everyone who can, smite, slay and stab, secretly or openly, remembering that nothing can be more poisonous, hurtful, or devilish than a rebel.
  • It is certainly true that reason is the most important and the highest rank among all things and, in comparison with other things of this life, the best and something divine. It is the inventor and mentor of all the arts, medicines, laws, and of whatever wisdom, power, virtue, and glory men possess in this life.
  • At night always carry in your heart something from Holy Scriptures to bed with you, meditate upon it like a ruminant animal, and go softly to sleep; but this must not be too much, rather a little that may be well pondered and understood, that you may find a remnant of it in your mind when you rise in the morning.
  • What is our death but a night’s sleep? For as through sleep all weariness and faintness pass away and cease, and the powers of the spirit come back again, so that in the morning we arise fresh and strong and joyous; so at the Last Day we shall rise again as if we had only slept a night, and shall be fresh and strong.
  • Indeed, to spur your Baal to action, I will taunt and challenge you … to create as much as a single frog in the name and by the power of free choice, though the heathen and ungodly magicians in Egypt were able to create many…. I will not set you the heavy task of creating lice, which they could not produce either
  • It is the duty of a prudent minister of God to hold his ministry in honor and to see to it that it is respected by those who are in his charge. Moreoever, it is the duty of a faithful minister not to exceed his powers and not to abuse his office in pride, but, rather, to administer it for the benefit of his subjects.
  • The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles, flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God….Music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices.
  • So tenaciously should we cling to the world revealed by the Gospel, that were I to see all the Angels of Heaven coming down to me to tell me something different, not only would I not be tempted to doubt a single syllable, but I would shut my eyes and stop my ears, for they would not deserve to be either seen or heard.
  • And I’ll tell you, I’ve seen the lightning flash. I’ve heard the thunder roll. I felt sin-breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul. But I heard the voice of Jesus saying still to fight on. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone. No, never alone. He promised never to leave me, never to leave me alone.
  • Although the Christian is thus free from all works, he ought in this liberty to empty himself, take upon himself the form of a servant, be made in the likeness of men, be found in human form, and to serve, help and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him.
  • As long as a man is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God. Such a man plans out for himself a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation, but which will not.
  • The believing man hath the Holy Ghost; and where the Holy Ghost dwelleth, He will not suffer a man to be idle, butstirreth him up to all exercises of piety and godliness, and of true religion, to the love of God, to the patient suffering of afflictions, to prayer, to thanksgiving, and the exercise of charity towards all men.
  • The first thing I ask is that people should not make use of my name, and should not call themselves Lutherans but Christians. What is Luther? The teaching is not mine. Nor was I crucified for anyone…How did I, poor stinking bag of maggots that I am, come to the point where people call the children of Christ by my evil name?
  • While we contemplate in all creatures, as in a mirror, those immense riches of His wisdom, justice, goodness and power, we should not meerly run them over cursorily, and, so to speak, with a fleeting glance, but we should ponder them at length, turn them over in our mind seriously and faithfully and recollect them repeatedly.
  • God is ready to give more quickly, and to give more than you ask; yea, he offers his treasures if we only take them. It is truly a great shame and a severe chastisement for us Christians that God should still upbraid us for our slothfulness in prayer, and that we fail to let such a rich and excellent promise incite us to pray.
  • There is on earth among all dangers, no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroid reason, especially if she enters into spiritual matters which concern the soul and God. For it is more possible to teach an ass to read than to blind such a reason and lead it right; for reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
  • It is with all these qualities that we must stand before God and intervene on behalf of those who do not have them, as though clothed with someone else’s garmentBut even before men we must, with the same love, render them service against their detractors and those who are violent toward them; for this is what Christ did for us.
  • For that purpose Christ instituted holy baptism, thereby to clothe you with his righteousness. It is tantamount to his saying, My righteousness shall be your righteousness; my innocence, your innocence. Your sins indeed are great, but by baptism I bestow on you my righteousness; I strip death from you and clothe you with my life.
  • Every country must have its own devil. Welshland its own, and France its own. Our German devil will be a good wind-pipe, and must be called drinking, being so thirsty and hell-like that no guzzling of wine and beer, however large, will cool it off, and I fear that such will ever remain Germany’s plague, until the day of judgment.
  • I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
  • The Bible is the proper book for men. There the truth is distinguished from error far more clearly than anywhere else, and one finds something new in it every day. For twenty-eight years, since I became a doctor, I have now constantly read and preached the Bible; and yet I have not exhausted it but find something new in it every day.
  • Take a look at your own heart, and you will soon find out what has stuck to it and where your treasure is. It is easy to determine whether hearing the Word of God, living according to it, and achieving such a life gives you as much enjoyment and calls forth as much diligence from you as does accumulating and saving money and property.
  • It was with good reason that God commanded through Moses that the vineyard and harvest were not to be gleaned to the last grape or grain; but something to be left for the poor. For covetousness is never to be satisfied; the more it has, the more it wants. Such insatiable ones injure themselves, and transform God’s blessings into evil.
  • All our work in the field, in the garden, in the city, in the home, in struggle, in government-to what does it all amount before God except child’s play, by means of which God is pleased to give his gifts in the field, at home, and everywhere? These are the masks of our Lord God, behind which he wants to be hidden and to do all things.
  • Where faith is not continually kept in motion and exercised, it weakens and decreases, so that it must indeed vanish; and yet we do not see nor feel this weakness ourselves, except in times of need and temptation, when unbelief rages too strongly; and yet for that very reason faith must have temptations in which it may battle and grow.
  • Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason-I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other-my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.
  • But the Jews are so hardened that they listen to nothing; though overcome by testimonies they yield not an inch. It is a pernicious race, oppressing all men by their usury and rapine. If they give a prince or magistrate a thousand florins, they extort twenty thousand from the subjects in payment. We must ever keep on guard against them.
  • If then, Moses so distinctly announces that there is in us not only a faculty, but also a facility for keeping all commandments, why are we sweating so much? … What need is there now of Christ or of Spirit? We have found a passage that asserts freedom of choice, but also distinctly teaches that the keeping of the commandments is easy.
  • This is the good and happy news, that Christ has paid for our sin, and through His suffering has redeemed us from eternal death. It is His kingdom and His ministry, to preach the Gospel to the poor; that is His purpose. For to the great and holy He cannot come. They do not wish to be counted sinners, and therefore do not need His Gospel.
  • May a merciful God preserve me from a Christian Church in which everyone is a saint! I want to be and remain in the church and little flock of the fainthearted, the feeble and the ailing, who feel and recognize the wretchedness of their sins, who sigh and cry to God incessantly for comfort and help, who believe in the forgiveness of sins.
  • When Eve was brought unto Adam, he became filled with the Holy Spirit, and gave her the most sanctified, the most glorious of appellations. He called, her Eva–that is to say, the Mother of All. He did not style her wife, but simply mother–mother of all living creatures. In this consists the glory and the most precious ornament of woman.
  • When we are inclined to boast of our position [as Christians] we should remember that we are but Gentiles, while the Jews are of the lineage of Christ. We are aliens and in-laws; they are blood relatives, cousins, and brothers of our Lord. Therefore, if one is to boast of flesh and blood the Jews are actually nearer to Christ than we are.
  • God has surely promised His grace to the humbled: that is, to those who mourn over and despair of themselves. But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another — God alone.
  • The Son of God did not want to be seen and found in heaven. Therefore he descended from heaven into this humility and came to us in our flesh, laid himself into the womb of his mother and into the manger and went on to the cross. This was the ladder that he placed on earth so that we might ascend to God on it. This is the way you must take.
  • The Jews are the most miserable people on earth. They are plagued everywhere, and scattered about all countries, having no certain resting place. They sit as on a wheelbarrow, without a country, people or government… but they are rightly served, for seeing they refused have Christ and his gospel, instead of freedom they must have servitude.
  • If the devil were wise enough and would stand by in silence and let the gospel be preached, he would suffer less harm. For when there is no battle for the gospel it rusts and it finds no cause and no occasion to show its vigor and power. Therefore, nothing better can befall the gospel than that the world should fight it with force and cunning.
  • I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order….when these are concerned, neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction – to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon.
  • The Kingdom is to be in the midst of your enemies. And he who will not suffer this does not want to be of the Kingdom of Christ; he wants to be among friends, to sit among roses and lilies, not with the bad people but the devout people. O you blasphemers and betrayers of Christ! If Christ had done what you are doing, who would ever have been spared?
  • It is not necessary for a preacher to express all his thoughts in one sermon. A preacher should have three principles: first, to make a good beginning, and not spend time with many words before coming to the point; secondly, to say that which belongs to the subject in chief, and avoid strange and foreign thoughts; thirdly, to stop at the proper time.
  • He who knoweth and understandeth Christ’s life, knoweth and understandeth Christ Himself; and in like manner, he who understandeth not His life, doth not understand Christ Himself. And he who believeth on Christ, believeth that His life is the best and noblest life that can be, and if a man believe not this, neither doth he believe on Christ Himself.
  • Riches are the pettiest and least worthy gifts which God can give a man. What are they to God’s Word, to bodily gifts, such as beauty and health; or to the gifts of the mind, such as understanding, skill, wisdom! Yet men toil for them day and night, and take no rest. Therefore God commonly gives riches to foolish people to whom he gives nothing else.
  • A fiery shield is God’s Word; of more substance and purer than gold, which, tried in the fire, loses nought of its substance, but resists and overcomes all the fury of the fiery heat; even so, he that believes God’s Word overcomes all, and remains secure everlastingly, against all misfortunes; for this shield fears nothing, neither hell nor the devil.
  • The confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.
  • I am much afraid that the schools will prove the very gates of hell, unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, and engraving them in the hearts of youth. I advise no one to place his child where the scriptures do not reign paramount. Every institution in which means are not unceasingly occupied with the Word of God must be corrupt.
  • Night and day I pondered until I saw the connection between the justice of God and the statement that ‘the just shall live by his faith.’ Then I grasped that the justice of God is that righteousness by which through grace and sheer mercy God justifies us through faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise.
  • This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.
  • But know that to serve God is nothing else than to serve your neighbor and do good to him in love, be it a child, wife, servant, enemy, friend….If you do not find yourself among the needy and the poor, where the Gospel shows us Christ, then you may know that your faith is not right, and that you have not yet tasted of Christ’s benevolence and work for you.
  • I did not learn my theology all at once, but had to search constantly deeper and deeper for it. My temptations did that for me, for no one can understand Holy Scripture without practice and temptations…I t is not by reading, writing, or speculation that one becomes a theologian. Nay, rather, it is living, dying, and being damned that makes one a theologian.
  • The world doesn’t want to be punished. It wants to remain in darkness. It doesn’t want to be told that what it believes is false. If you also don’t want to be corrected, then you might as well leave the church and spend your time at the bar and brothel. But if you want to be saved-and remember that there’s another life after this one-you must accept correction.
  • Christ is the Master; the Scriptures are only the servant. The true way to test all the Books is to see whether they work the will of Christ or not. No Book which does not preach Christ can be apostolic, though Peter or Paul were its author. And no Book which does preach Christ can fail to be apostolic, although Judas, Ananias, Pilate, or Herod were its author.
  • But Satan, the god of all dissension, stirreth up daily new sects, and last of all (which of all other I should never have foreseen or once suspected) he hath raised up a sect of such as teach that the Ten Commandments ought to be taken out of the church, and that men should not be terrified with the law, but gently exerted by the preaching of the grace of Christ.
  • We are not to look upon our sins as insignificant trifles. On the other hand, we are not to regard them as so terrible that we must despair. Learn to believe that Christ was given, not for picayune and imaginary transgressions, but for mountainous sins; not for one or two, but for all; not for sins that can be discarded, but for sins that are stubbornly ingrained.
  • [The papists] ought to have sympathy with us weak, poor Christians, and not condemn us or make fun of us because we are learning so childishly to toddle along the benches, nay, to creep in the mire, and cannot skip and dance, on such light feet and legs, over and outside of God’s commandments, as they do, the strong heroes and giants … God forbid that we should!
  • Peter erred in life and in doctrine. Paul might have dismissed Peter’s error as a matter of no consequence. But Paul saw that Peter’s error would lead to the damage of the whole Church unless it were corrected. Therefore he withstood Peter to his face. The Church, Peter, the apostles, angels from heaven, are not to be heard unless they teach the genuine Word of God.
  • This is that mystery which is rich in divine grace unto sinners: wherein by a wonderful exchange, our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s; and the righteousness of Christ is not Christ’s but ours. He has emptied himself of his righteousness that he might clothe us in it, and fill us with it: and he has taken our evils upon himself that he might deliver us from them.
  • The heavenly blessing is to be delivered from the law, sin and death; to be justified and quickened to life: to have peace with God; to have a faithful heart, a joyful conscience, a spiritual consolation; to have the knowledge of Jesus Christ; to have the gift of prophecy, and the revelation of the Scriptures; to have the gift of the Holy Ghost, and to rejoice in God.
  • Now if I believe in God’s Son and remember that He became man, all creatures will appear a hundred times more beautiful to me than before. Then I will properly appreciate the sun, the moon, the stars, trees, apples, as I reflect that he is Lord over all things. …God writes the Gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.
  • It is cheering to note that [Martin] Luther (1524) did not see why schools should not be fun as well: “Now since the young must leap and jump, or have something to do, because they have a natural desire for it which should not be restrained (for it is not well to check them in everything) why should we not provide for them such schools, and lay before them such studies?
  • Merit is a work for the sake of which Christ gives rewards. But no such work is to be found, for Christ gives by promise. Just as if a prince should say to me, “Come to me in my castle, and I will give you a hundred florins.” I do a work, certainly, in going to the castle, but the gift is not given me as the reward of my work in going, but because the prince promised it to me.
  • If I did not see that the Lord kept watch over the ship, I should long since have abandoned the helm. But I see Him! – through the storm, strengthening the tackling, handling the yards, spreading the sails – yes more, commanding the very winds! Should I not be a coward if I abandoned my post? Let Him govern, let Him carry us forward, let Him hasten or delay; we will fear nothing!
  • Feelings come and feelings go, And feelings are deceiving; My warrant is the Word of God– Naught else is worth believing. Though all my heart should feel condemned For want of some sweet token, There is One greater than my heart Whose Word cannot be broken. I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word Till soul and body sever, For, though all things shall pass away, HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!
  • The Deceiver can magnify a little sin for the purpose of causing one to worry, torture, and kill oneself with it. This is why a Christian should learn not to let anyone easily create an evil conscience in him. Rather let him say, “This error and this failing pass away with my other imperfections and sins, which I must include in the article of faith: I believe in the forgiveness of sins.
  • I [i.e., God] have given you baptism as a gift for the forgiveness of sins, and preach to you unceasingly by word of mouth concerning this treasure, sealing it with the Sacrament of my body and blood, so that you need never doubt. True, it seems little and insignificant that by the washing of water, the Word, and the Sacrament this should all be effected. But don’t let your eyes deceive you.
  • They [rulers] must act like a good physician who, when gangrene has set in proceeds without mercy to cut, saw, and burn flesh, veins, bone, and marrow. Such a procedure must also be followed in this instance. Burn down their synagogues, forbid all that I enumerated earlier, force them to work, and deal harshly with them, as Moses did… If this does not help we must drive them out like mad dogs.
  • It is a good thing to let prayer be the first business in the morning and the last in the evening. Guard yourself against such false and deceitful thoughts that keep whispering, “Wait a while. In an hour or so I will pray. I must first finish this or that.” Thinking such thoughts we get away from prayer into other things that will hold us and involve us till the prayer of the day comes to naught.
  • A theologian should be thoroughly in possession of the basis and source of faith–that is to say, the Holy Scriptures. Armed with this knowledge it was that I confounded and silenced all my adversaries; for they seek not to fathom and understand the Scriptures; they run them over negligently and drowsily; they speak, they write, they teach, according to the suggestion of their heedless imaginations.
  • God indeed tempteth no man; but yet we ask, in this petition, that he would keep and preserve us, lest the devil, the world, and our own flesh delude and draw us away from the true faith, and throw us into superstition, distrust, despair, and other grievous sins and wickedness; and that, if we should be tempted therewith even to the highest degree, we still may conquer, and at last triumph over them.
  • It is the part of a Christian to take care of his own body for the very purpose that, by its soundness and wellbeing, he may be enabled to labour, and to acquire and preserve property, for the aid of those who are in want, that thus the stronger member may serve the weaker member, and we may be children of God, and busy for one another, bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfiling the law of Christ.
  • When my heart is cold and I cannot pray as I should I scourge myself with the thought of the impiety and ingratitude of my enemies, the Pope and his accomplices and vermin, and Zwingli, so that my heart swells with the righteous indignation and hatred and I can say with warmth and vehemence: ‘Holy be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done!’ And the hotter I grow the more ardent do my prayers become.
  • God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong (sin boldly), but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We, however, … are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign.
  • We can mention only one point (which experience confirms), namely, that next to the Word of God, music deserves the highest praise. No greater commendation than this can be found, at least not by us. After all, the gift of language combined with the gift of song was only given to man to let him know that he should praise God with both word and music, namely, by proclaiming [the Word of God] through music.
  • The proverb has it that Hunger is the best cook. The Law makes afflicted consciences hungry for Christ. Christ tastes good to them. Hungry hearts appreciate Christ. Thirsty souls are what Christ wants. He invites them: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Christ’s benefits are so precious that He will dispense them only to those who need them and really desire them.
  • The Devil can so completely assume the human form, when he wants to deceive us, that we may well lie with what seems to be a woman, of real flesh and blood, and yet all the while ’tis only the Devil in the shape of a woman. ‘Tis the same with women, who may think that a man is in bed with them, yet ’tis only the Devil; and…the result of this connection is oftentimes an imp of darkness, half mortal, half devil.
  • If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.
  • For God is not gracious and merciful to sinners to the end that they might not keep his Law, nor that they should remain as they were before they received grace and mercy; but he condones and forgives both sin and death for the sake of Christ, who has fulfilled the whole Law in order thereby to make the heart sweet and through the Holy Spirit to kindle and move the heart to begin to love from day to day more and more.
  • This letter [to the Romans] is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes, and the better it tastes.
  • Is it not a thing most abominable, that God who feeds so many mouths, should be held in such low esteem by me, that I will not trust him to feed me? Yea, that a guilder, thirty-eight cents, should be valued more highly than God, who pours out his treasures everywhere in rich profusion. For the world is full of God and his works. He is everywhere present with his gifts, and yet we will not trust in him, nor accept his visitation.
  • In a word, the Holy Scripture is the highest and best of books, abounding in comfort under all afflictions and trials. It teaches us to see, to feel, to grasp, and to comprehend faith, hope, and charity, far otherwise than mere human reason can; and while evil oppresses us, it teaches how these virtues throw light upon the darkness, and how, after this poor, miserable existence of ours on earth, there is another and an eternal life.
  • Therefore, is thy brother a sinner? Then cover his sin and pray for him. Dost thou publish his sins, then truly thou art not a child of your merciful Father; for otherwise thou wouldst be also as he, merciful. It is certainly true that we cannot show as great mercy to our neighbor, as God has to us; but it is the true work of the devil that we do the very opposite of mercy, which is a sure sign that there is not a grain of mercy in us.
  • Accordingly if the devil should say, ‘Do not drink,’ you should reply to him, ‘On this very account, because you forbid it, I shall drink, and what is more, I shall drink a generous amount. Thus one must always do the opposite of that which Satan prohibits. What do you think is my reason for drinking wine undiluted, talking freely, and eating more often, if it is not to torment and vex the devil who made up his mind to torment and vex me.
  • I am persuaded that without knowledge of literature pure theology cannot at all endure. . . . When letters have declined and lain prostrate, theology, too, has wretchedly fallen and lain prostrate. . . . It is my desire that there shall be as many poets and rhetoricians as possible, because I see that by these studies as by no other means, people are wonderfully fitted for the grasping of sacred truth and for handling it skillfully and happily.
  • Whenever the true message of the cross is abolished, the anger of hypocrites and heretics ceases.. and all things are in peace. This is a sure token that the devil is guarding the entry to the house, and that the PURE doctrine of God’s Word has been taken away. The Church then, is in the BEST state when Satan assaileth it on every sideboth with subtle sleights, and outright violence. And likewise, it is in the WORST state when it is most at peace!
  • But what will happen even if we do burn down the Jews synagogues and forbid them publicly to praise God, to pray, to teach, to utter God’s name? They will still keep doing it in secret. If we know that they are doing this in secret, it is the same as if they were doing it publicly. for our knowledge of their secret doings and our toleration of them implies that they are not secret after all and thus our conscience is encumbered with it before God.
  • On coming to the house, they (the Magi), saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. (Matthew 2:11) [This] adoration, too, was not the same as the worship of God. In my opinion they did not yet recognize him as God, but they acted in keeping with the custom mentioned in Scripture, according to which Kings and important people were worshiped; this did not mean more than falling down before them at their feet and honoring them.
  • Let all your preaching be in the most simple and plainest manner; look not to the prince, but to the plain, simple, gross, unlearned people, of which cloth the prince also himself is made. If I, in my preaching, should have regard to Philip Melancthon and other learned doctors, then should I do but little good. I preach in the simplest manner to the unskillful, and that giveth content to all. Hebrew, Greek and Latin I spare until we learned ones come together.
  • Our preaching does not stop with the law. That would lead to wounding without binding up, striking down and not healing, killing and not making alive, driving down to hell and not bringing back up, humbling and not exalting. Therefore, we must also preach grace and the promise of forgiveness – this is the means by which faith is awakened and properly taught. Without this word of grace, the law, contrition, penitence, and everything else are done and taught in vain.
  • Then they began to say: ‘Yes, but how can we know what is God’s Word, and what is right or wrong? We must learn this from the Pope and the councils.’ Very well then, let them conclude and say what they please, yet I will reply, you cannot put your confidence in that nor thus satisfy your conscience, for you must determine this matter yourself, for your very life depends upon it. Therefore God must speak to your heart: This is God’s Word; otherwise you are undecided.
  • Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favour that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love and praise the God who has shown you such grace.
  • We come to the New Testament, where again a host of imperative verbs is mustered in support of that miserable bondage of free-choice, and the aid of carnal Reason with her inferences and similes is called in, just as in a picture or a dream you might see the King of the flies with his lances of straw and shields of hay arrayed against a real and regular army of seasoned human troops. That is how the human dreams of Diatribe go to war with the battalions of divine words.
  • Our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law . . . sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him all the sins of all men, saying, ‘You be Peter that denier, Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor, David that adulterer, that sinner who ate the apple in Paradise, that thief who hung upon the cross, and briefly, you be the person who has committed the sins of all men. See therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.’
  • Whenever the devil harasses you, seek the company of men or drink more, or joke and talk nonsense, or do some other merry thing. Sometimes we must drink more, sport, recreate ourselves, and even sin a little to spite the devil, so that we leave him no place for troubling our consciences with trifles. We are conquered if we try too conscientiously not to sin at all. So when the devil says to you: do not drink, answer him: I will drink, and right freely, just because you tell me not to.
  • At the center of the Christian faith is the affirmation that there is a God in the universe who is the ground and essence of all reality. A Being of infinite love and boundless power, God is the creator, sustainer, and conserver of values….In contrast to the ethical relativism of [totalitarianism], Christianity sets forth a system of absolute moral values and affirms that God has placed within the very structure of this universe certain moral principles that are fixed and immutable.
  • In Romans 7, St. Paul says, “The law is spiritual.” What does that mean? If the law were physical, then it could be satisfied by works, but since it is spiritual, no one can satisfy it unless everything he does springs from the depths of the heart. But no one can give such a heart except the Spirit of God, who makes the person be like the law, so that he actually conceives a heartfelt longing for the law and henceforward does everything, not through fear or coercion, but from a free heart.
  • Yes, would to God that I could persuade the rich and the mighty that they would permit the whole Bible to be painted on houses, on the inside and the outside, so that all can see it. That would be a Christian work… If it is not a sin but good to have the image of Christ in my heart, why should it be a sin to have it in my eyes? This is especially true since the heart is more important than the eyes, and should be less stained by sin because it is the true abode and dwelling place of God.
  • There can be no be no better instruction… than that every man who is to deal with his neighbor to follow these commandments. ‘Whatsoever ye would that others should do unto you, do ye also unto them,’ and ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ If these were always followed, then everything would instruct and arrange itself; then no law books nor courts nor judicial actions would be required. All things would quietly and simply be set to rights, for everyone’s heart and conscience would guide them.
  • The devil is not only a liar, but also a murderer, he constantly seeks our life, and wreaks his anger whenever he can afflict our bodies with misfortune and harm. Hence it comes that he often breaks men’s necks or drives them to insanity, drowns some, and incites many to commit suicide, and to many other terrible calamities. Therefore there is nothing for us to do upon earth but to pray against this arch enemy without ceasing. For unless God preserved us, we would not be safe from him even for an hour.
  • [Christ’s] mission and work it is to help against sin and death, to justify and bring life. He has placed his help in baptism and the Sacrament [i.e., communion/Eucharist/Lord’s supper], and incorporated it in the Word and preaching. To our eyes Baptism [capitalized in original] appears to be nothing more than ordinary water, and the Sacrament of Christ’s body and blood simple bread and wine, like other bread and wine, and the sermon, hot air from a man’s mouth. But we must not trust what our eyes see.
  • Whilst a man is persuaded that he has it in his power to contribute anything, be it ever so little, to his salvation, he remains in carnal self-confidence; he is not a self-despairer, and therefore is not duly humbled before God, he believes he may lend a helping hand in his salvation, but on the contrary, whoever is truly convinced that the whole work depends singly on the will of God, such a person renounces his own will and strength; he waits and prays for the operation of God, nor waits and prays in vain
  • O, this faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing! It is impossible that it should not be ceaselessly doing that which is good. It does not even ask whether good works should be done; but before the question can be asked, it has done them, and it is constantly engaged in doing them. But he who does not do such works, is a man without faith. He gropes and casts about him to find faith and good works, not knowing what either of them is, and yet prattles and idly multiplies words about faith and good works.
  • Dear rulers … I maintain that the civil authorities are under obligation to compel the people to send their children to school. … If the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle, to mount ramparts, and perform other martial duties in time of war, how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school, because in this case we are warring with the devil, whose object it is secretly to exhaust our cities and principalities of their strong men.
  • In short, I will preach it [the Word], teach it, write it, but I will constrain no man by force, for faith must come freely without compulsion. Take myself as an example. I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.
  • I do not deny that medicine is a gift of God, nor do I refuse to acknowledge science in the skill of many physicians; but, take the best of them, how far are they from perfection? A sound regimen produces excellent effects. When I feel indisposed, by observing a strict diet and going to bed early, I generally manage to get round again, that is, if I can keep my mind tolerably at rest. I have no objection to the doctors acting upon certain theories, but, at the same time, they must not expect us to be the slaves of their fancies.
  • We cannot attain to the understanding of Scripture either by study or by the intellect. Your first duty is to begin by prayer. Entreat the Lord to grant you, of His great mercy, the true understanding of His Word. There is no other interpreter of the Word of God than the Author of this Word, as He Himself has said, “They shall be all taught of God” (John 6:45). Hope for nothing from your own labors, from your own understanding: trust solely in God, and in the influence of His Spirit. Believe this on the word of a man who has experience.
  • When I am assailed with heavy tribulations, I rush out among my pigs rather than remain alone by myself. The human heart is like a millstone in a mill: when you put wheat under it, it turns and grinds and bruises the wheat to flour; if you put no wheat, it still grinds on, but then ’tis itself it grinds and wears away. So the human heart, unless it be occupied with some employment, leaves space for the devil, who wriggles himself in and brings with him a whole host of evil thoughts, temptations, and tribulations, which grind out the heart.
  • Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Men can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women? The sun, the moon, and the stars have been worshiped. Shall we then pluck them out of the sky? …see how much he [God] has been able to accomplish through me, though I did no more than pray and preach. The Word did it all. Had I wished I might have started a conflagration at Worms. But while I sat still and drank beer with Philip and Amsdorf, God dealt the papacy a mighty blow.
  • It hath been said, that there is of nothing so much in hell as of self-will. The which is true, for there is nothing else there than self-will, and if there were no self-will, there would be no Devil and no hell. When it is said that Lucifer fell from Heaven, and turned away from God and the like, it meaneth nothing else than that he would have his own will, and would not be at one with the Eternal Will. So was it likewise with Adam in Paradise. And when we say Self-will, we mean, to will otherwise than as the One and Eternal Will of God willeth.
  • Does it follow from: ‘turn ye’ that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from “‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart’ (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the ‘free-will’ does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power….But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: “if thou wilt turn,telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it…” 164
  • The fatuous idea that a person can be holy by himself denies God the pleasure of saving sinners. God must therefore first take the sledge-hammer of the Law in His fists and smash the beast of self-righteousness and its brood of self-confidence, self wisdom, and self-help. When the conscience has been thoroughly frightened by the Law it welcomes the Gospel of grace with its message of a Savior Who came-not to break the bruised reed nor to quench the smoking flax-but to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted, and to grant forgiveness of sins to all the captives.
  • Whoever would like to cherish such adders and puny devils – who are the worst enemies of Christ and us all – to befriend them and to do them honour simply in order to be cheated, plundered, robbed, disgraced, and forced to howl and curse and suffer every kind of evil, to him I would commend the Jews. And if this is not enough, let him tell the Jews to use his mouth as a privy, or else crawl into the Jew’s hind parts, and there worship the holy thing, so as afterwards to be able to boast of having been merciful, and of having helped the Devil and his progeny to blaspheme our dear Lord.

 

 

Charles Bukowski (quotes)

  • I feel strangely normal.
  • Love is a Dog from Hell.
  • Only the boring get bored
  • There is light somewhere.
  • Nobody ever finds the one.
  • this time has finished me.
  • We are all museums of fear.
  • They were beautiful nothings
  • Angels, we have grown apart.
  • Let’ em learn or let’ em die
  • I lie as truthfully as I can.
  • People don’t do me much good.
  • I’m only interested in poetry.
  • Don’t do it. Don’t love me.
  • she’s mad, but she’s magic.
  • Never trust a man in a jumpsuit
  • Life’s as kind as you let it be.
  • sometimes I hate you,” she said.
  • Love breaks my bones and I laugh
  • great books are the ones we need
  • I had no Freedom. I had nothing.
  • Without literature, life is hell.
  • I am a poem. There is no way out.
  • one more creature dizzy with love
  • Never get out of bed before noon.
  • To be young is the only religion.
  • Fiction is an improvement on life
  • We are here to laugh at the odds.
  • What’s wrong with assholes, baby?
  • Great art is horseshit, buy tacos.
  • If you let them kill you, they will
  • too often, the only escape is sleep
  • Our disappointment sits between us.
  • New Year’s Eve always terrifies me.
  • This incompleteness is all we have.
  • There’s nothing unusual about love.
  • It seemed better to delay thinking.
  • purple does something strange to me
  • as the spirit wanes the form appears
  • I wanted the whole world or nothing.
  • Sundays kill more people than bombs.
  • I am this fiery snail crawling home.
  • God is a lonely place without steak.
  • The less I needed, the better I felt.
  • I was in love again. I was in trouble
  • If you want to create, you’ll create.
  • It’s just that the grape has me down.
  • My ambition is handicapped by laziness
  • You have my soul and I have your money
  • dogs and angels are not very far apart
  • People do too much. They say too much.
  • and love was lightning and remembrance
  • We use such big words to move nowhere.
  • Find what you love and let it kill you.
  • The wisdom to quit is all we have left.
  • Joan of Arc had style. Jesus had style.
  • Insanity is relative. Who sets the norm?
  • There’s music in everything, even defeat
  • There is nothing as boring as the truth.
  • it’s better to be happy…if you can..!!
  • hate contains truth. beauty is a facade.
  • I’ve never met another man I’d rather be.
  • Beware Those Who Are ALWAYS READING BOOKS
  • Before my death I hope to obtain my life.
  • Humanity, you never had it to begin with.
  • When you clean up a city, you destroy it.
  • Are you becoming what you’ve always hated?
  • It’s so easy to be easy‚Äîif you let it.
  • You were destroyed by what you befriended.
  • be it peace or happiness let it enfold you
  • I hope that death contains less than this.
  • Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself.
  • Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.
  • Why do you insist upon destroying yourself?
  • the tigers have found me and I do not care.
  • Knowledge is knowing as little as possible.
  • The trouble with a mask is it never changes
  • you are yesterday’s bouquet so sadly raided
  • I have no time for things that have no soul.
  • In New York you’ve got to have all the luck.
  • Poetry is what happens when nothing else can.
  • Do some living and get yourself a typewriter.
  • There is no hurry. Time means nothing to you.
  • sometimes there’s nothing to say about death.
  • there’s no defense except all the errors made
  • To create art means to be crazy alone forever.
  • People empty me. I have to get away to refill.
  • If you want to know where God is, ask a drunk.
  • If I bet on humanity, I’d never cash a ticket.
  • There still might be a place for us somewhere.
  • Sometimes I get too exhausted to even feel bad
  • the history of melancholia includes all of us.
  • eleven months. now she’s gone gone as they go.
  • I broke that town in half like a wooden match.
  • Some nights I knew that if I slept I would die.
  • pain is absurd because it exists, nothing more.
  • Drink from the well of yourself and begin again.
  • Death is nothing, brother, it’s life that’s hard
  • Figuring the average poet starts at 16, I am 23.
  • Don’t wait for the good woman. She doesn’t exist.
  • If you can hit a guy once, you can hit him twice.
  • We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus!
  • Writers are nothing but beggars with a good line.
  • Pretty words, as pretty women, wrinkle up and die.
  • Something that never happens anywhere at any time.
  • in this room the hours of love still make shadows.
  • It’s when you hide things that you choke on them.
  • I am a series of small victories and large defeats.
  • Dying in a a war never stopped wars from happening.
  • and love is a word used too much and much too soon.
  • Death is not the problem; waiting around for it is.
  • That’s the way it ends. The thin edge of the wedge.
  • how can you be true and kind at the same time? how?
  • Any asshole can chase a skirt, art takes discipline.
  • Sex can sometimes become the most horrible of tasks.
  • In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.
  • Well, we lost it, and that’s all there is to that.
  • and the color in my eyes has gone back into the sea.
  • we sat there smoking cigarettes at 5 in the morning.
  • If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.
  • I can almost understand why people leap from bridges.
  • We are hardly ever as strong as that which we create.
  • There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out.
  • Finally there is nothing here for death to take away.
  • We must.. We must bring our own light to the darkness
  • Almost everybody is born a genius and buried an idiot.
  • You can steal my women but don’t play with my whiskey.
  • Goodness can be found sometimes in the middle of hell.
  • I had no feeling for the things so many others needed.
  • The free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it
  • love iz a big fat turkey and every day iz thanksgiving
  • We don’t even ask happiness, just a little less pain.
  • You have to die a few times before you can really live.
  • what matters most is how well you walk through the fire
  • people run from rain but sit in bathtubs full of water.
  • An early taste of death is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • i was born to hustle roses down the avenue of the dead.
  • The human body is mostly blood and mystery and sadness.
  • My part of the game is that I must live the best I can.
  • Maybe when I get in the grave, things will be beautiful.
  • I was only photographing in words the reality of it all.
  • we only asked for leopards to guard our thinning dreams.
  • I tell you such fine music waits in the shadows of hell.
  • there’s no clarity. there was never meant to be clarity.
  • Well, the rain had stopped but the pain was still there.
  • they say that nothing is wasted: either that or it al is
  • The secret is writing down one simple line after another.
  • Bad taste creates many more millionaires than good taste.
  • Many a good man has been put under the bridge by a woman.
  • To do a dull thing with style-now that’s what I call art.
  • But she projected vitality – you knew that she was there.
  • I still have a little whiskey left and therefore a chance.
  • I was beaten down long ago in some alley in another world.
  • “Baby,” I said. “I’m a genius but nobody knows it but me.”
  • one can never be sure whether it’s good poetry or bad acid
  • unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it
  • our bones like stems into the sky will forever cry victory
  • I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love.
  • It’s 4:30 in the morning, it’s always 4:30 in the morning.
  • so it’s always a process of letting go, one way or another
  • You don’t go on “probably” when love and guns are in hand.
  • I hid in bars, because I didn’t want to hide in factories.
  • there are policemen in the street and angels in the clouds
  • Keep your money in your pocket. Or bet it on a good horse.
  • The world is full of boring, identical and mindless people.
  • The crazy ones only laugh when there is no reason to laugh.
  • I heard an airplane passing overhead. I wished I was on it.
  • There’s no way I can stop writing, it’s a form of insanity.
  • You’ve got to rise from the floor alone or fall back alone.
  • I’m too careless. I don’t put out enough effort. I’m tired.
  • Knowledge without follow-through is worse than no knowledge.
  • I want so much that is not here and do not know where to go.
  • Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.
  • Never envy a man his lady. Behind it all lays a living hell.
  • I don’t like jail, they got the wrong kind of bars in there.
  • love be damned now as love was damned when it first arrived.
  • News travels fast in places where nothing much ever happens.
  • I’m not the cruel type, but they are, and that’s the secret.
  • An artist is a man who says a difficult thing in a simple way
  • ‚Äé”she’ mad but she’ magic. there’ no lie in her fire.
  • The shortest distance between two points is often unbearable.
  • Sexual intercourse is kicking death in the ass while singing.
  • The night kept coming on in and there was nothing I could do.
  • Most people’s deaths are a sham. There’s nothing left to die.
  • My heart is a thousand years old. I am not like other people.
  • Most people are not ready for death, theirs or anybody elses.
  • I was an Agnostic. Agnostics didn’t have much to argue about.
  • agony sometimes changes form but it never ceases for anybody.
  • but right now it’s Bob Dylan Bob Dylan Bob Dylan all the way.
  • The human heart, as of course we all know is essentially good
  • Modern women … they don’t sew your pockets … forget that.
  • What a woman wants is a reaction. What a man wants is a woman.
  • A spark can set a whole forest on fire. Just a spark. Save it.
  • Love is a form of prejudice. I have too many other prejudices.
  • Capitalism has survived communism. Now, it eats away at itself.
  • I don’t remember going to bed, but in the morning, there I was.
  • When a hot woman meets a hermit one of them is going to change.
  • I pretend to understand because I don’t want anybody to be hurt
  • A woman is a full time job. You have to choose your profession.
  • A day of minor profit or prophet led to a night of drunkenness.
  • The Difference Between Art and Life is that Art is More Bearable
  • I’m going, she said. I love you but you’re crazy, you’re doomed.
  • writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all
  • The writing’s easy, it’s the living that is sometimes difficult.
  • A woman has to have something on or there’s nothing to take off.
  • There’s no chance at all: we are all trapped by a singular fate.
  • Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone.
  • stay with the beer. beer is continuous blood. a continuous lover.
  • Real loneliness is not necessarily limited to when you are alone.
  • mercy, I think, doesn’t the human race know anything about mercy?
  • I made practice runs down to skid row to get ready for my future.
  • we had such tremendous fun and much agony together for some years
  • Let it die. Let there be a new beginning. It’s awful. Goodnight.
  • That’s what friendship means: sharing the prejudice of experience.
  • It’s nice enough to make a man weep, but I don’t weep, do you?
  • Humanity, you never had it from the beginning.” That was my motto.
  • Success is always dangerous. It can make an asshole out of anybody.
  • There are only two things wrong with money: too much or too little.
  • Things will be far worse than they are now. And far better. I wait.
  • I could read the great books but the great books don’t interest me.
  • If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start.
  • It’s possible to love a human being if you don’t know them too well.
  • There are times when those eyes inside your brain stare back at you.
  • Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.
  • not writing is not good but trying to write when you can’t is worse.
  • Don’t ever write a novel unless it hurts like a hot turd coming out.
  • Morals were restrictive, but they were grounded on human experience.
  • Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live.
  • Long ago, among other lies they were taught that silence was bravery.
  • nothing can save you except writing. it keeps the walls from failing.
  • If I stop writing I am dead. And that’s the only way I’ll stop: dead.
  • magic persists without us no matter what we may do to try to spoil it
  • Careful poetry and careful people live only long enough to die safely.
  • It is possible to be truly mad and to still exist upon scraps of life.
  • If I have any advice to anybody it’s this: take up watercolor painting.
  • If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.
  • If there are junk yards in hell, love is the dog that guards the gates.
  • bad writing’s like bad women: there’s just not much you can do about it
  • I never pump up my vulgarity. I wait for it to arrive in its own terms.
  • Where some god pissed a rain of reason to make things grow only to die.
  • some men never die and some men never live but we’re all alive tonight.
  • i am going to start selling air in dark orange bags marked: moon-blooms
  • Death meant little to me. It was the last joke in a series of bad jokes.
  • I have gotten so used to melancholia that I greet it like an old friend.
  • I think I need a drink.’ ‘Almost everybody does only they don’t know it.
  • …having nothing to struggle against they have nothing to struggle for.
  • Wherever the crowd goes run in the other direction. They’re always wrong.
  • We’ve died so many times now that we can only wonder why we still care.
  • some moments are nice, some are nicer, some are even worth writing about.
  • the people are the biggest horror show on earth, have been for centuries.
  • It seems I make a lot of mistakes and it seems that I am not allowed any.
  • we know God is dead, they’ve told us, but listening to you I wasn’t sure.
  • A man who can beat the horses can do anything he makes up his mind to do.
  • One more drink and you’re dead. This is no way to talk to a suicide head.
  • Was I the only person who was distracted by this future without a chance?
  • It’s the order of things: each one gets a taste of honey then the knife.
  • I grow tired of 18th century moralities in a 20th century space-atomic age
  • The empty, the angry, the lonely, the tricked, we are all museums of fear.
  • Erections, Ejaculations,Exhibitions and General Tales of Ordinary Madness.
  • Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?
  • I often carry things to read so that I will not have to look at the people.
  • My body gnaws at me from one side and my spirit gnaws at me from the other.
  • I’ll use the knives for spreading jam, and the gas to warm my greying love.
  • there is moss on the walls and the stain of thought and failure and waiting
  • Slavery was never abolished, it was only extended to include all the colors.
  • It’s better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.
  • I no longer want it all, just some comfort and some sex and some minor love.
  • That was all a man needed: hope. It was lack of hope that discouraged a man.
  • Love is a horse with a broken leg trying to stand while 45,000 people watch.
  • If it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it.
  • I’ll get back to the whores and the horses and the booze, while there’s time.
  • Belane, are you nuts?” Who knows? Insanity is comparative. Who sets the norm?
  • If you can’t write the next line, well, you’re dead. The past doesn’t matter.
  • you fall into the mirror, come through the other side staring at a lightbulb.
  • I have loved you woman as surely as I have named you rust and sand and nylon.
  • It’s hard to drink when you dance. And it’s hard to dance when you drink.
  • I stopped looking for a Dream Girl, I just wanted one that wasn’t a nightmare.
  • And don’t forget: time is meant to be wasted, love fails and death is useless.
  • being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.
  • If I hadn’t been a drunkard, I probably would have committed suicide long ago.
  • when I am feeling low all i have to do is watch my cats and my courage returns
  • I would be married, but I’d have no wife, I would be married to a single life.
  • There’s a light somewhere. It may not be much light but it beats the darkness.
  • That’s your response to everything: drink?” “No, that’s my response to nothing.
  • Her eyes always had a frantic, lost look. He could never cure her eyes of that.
  • I am aware that a computer can’t create a poem, but neither can a typewriter.
  • There was nothing glorious about the life of a drinker or the life of a writer.
  • No matter how little a man has he will find that he will always settle for less.
  • I thought you were sane,” I said, “but you’re just as crazy as the rest of them.
  • the whole world is caught in her glance and at last the universe is magnificent.
  • My flesh looked like it wasn’t trying. It looked like it hated being part of me.
  • The crowd is the gathering place of the weakest; true creation is a solitary act.
  • I am not like other people.  I am  burning in hell. The hell of myself.
  • I wish to weep but sorrow is stupid. I wish to believe but belief is a graveyard.
  • Now something so sad has hold of us that the breath leaves and we can’t even cry.
  • Love came hard and very seldom. When it did it was usually for the wrong reasons.
  • Before you kill something make sure you have something better to replace it with.
  • I kept telling myself that all the women in the world weren¬¥t whores, just mine.
  • when the phone rings I too would like to hear words that might ease some of this.
  • The wisest thing to do if you’re living in hell is to make yourself comfortable.
  • It was like the beginning of life and laughter. It was the real meaning of the sun
  • He had long nostril hairs, powerfully intimidating, like an unscheduled nightmare.
  • I was so thin I could slice bread with my shoulderblades, only I seldom had bread.
  • I often stood in front of the mirror alone, wondering how ugly a person could get.
  • Love dries up, I thought as I walked back to the bathroom, even faster than sperm.
  • People in love often become edgy, dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective.
  • I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.
  • Do you hate people? I don’t hate them…I just feel better when they’re not around.
  • I walked around the block twice, passed 200 people and failed to see a human being.
  • There is nothing that teaches you more than regrouping after failure and moving on.
  • Each man’s hell is in a different place: mine is just up and behind my ruined face.
  • And I said to myself that he was the first thing that I had ever missed in my life.
  • There is something about writing poetry that brings a man close to the cliff’s edge.
  • It didn’t pay to trust another human being. Humans didn’t have it, whatever it took.
  • Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing
  • The world had somehow gone too far, and spontaneous kindness could never be so easy.
  • I just want a hot cup of coffee,black,and I don’t want to hear about your troubles.
  • For each Joan of Arc there is a Hitler perched at the other end of the teeter-totter.
  • I will put on my shoes and shirt and get out of here – it’ll be better for all of us.
  • Dying should come easy: like a freight train you don’t hear when your back is turned.
  • life itself is not the miracle. that pain should be so constant, that’s the miracle –
  • Animals never worry about Heaven or Hell. Neither do I. Maybe that’s why we get along.
  • If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.
  • Lighting new cigarettes, pouring more drinks. It has been a beautiful fight. Still is.
  • Bad poetry is caused by people who sit down and think, Now I am going to write a Poem.
  • they thought I had guts they were wrong I was only frightened of more important things
  • the tired sunsets and the tired people – it takes a lifetime to die and no time at all.
  • I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.
  • people are not good to each other. perhaps if they were our deaths would not be so sad.
  • young or old, good or bad, I don’t think anything dies as slow and as hard as a writer.
  • I went home each night dizzy and sick. He was murdering me with the sound of his voice.
  • writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.
  • and even the trees we walked under seemed less than trees and more like everything else.
  • When Ginsburg is at the top of his game you might as well put down your toys and listen.
  • I don’t understand people, never will. It looks like I got to travel pretty much alone.
  • Play the Piano Drunk Like a Percussion Instrument Until the Fingers Begin to Bleed a Bit.
  • A love like that was a serious illness, an illness from which you never entirely recover.
  • I was a bore and didn’t know when to smile or fake it. Or rather worse, I did but didn’t.
  • Those who escape hell however never talk about it and nothing much bothers them after that
  • Alcohol is probably one of the greatest things to arrive upon the earth – alongside of me.
  • If you can only remain pure in your stupidity, someday you may get a phone call from hell.
  • from the beginning, through the middle years and up to the end: too bad, too bad, too bad.
  • I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed but all I could do was to get drunk again.
  • The years have gone by quickly. Death sits in the seat next to me. We make a lovely couple.
  • Sometimes there’s luck, When there is you stock up on it  and wait for the other times
  • The writer has no responsibility other than to jack off in bed alone and write a good page.
  • How are his poems?” “He’s not as good as he thinks he is, but then most of us feel that way.
  • The Artist,” an ancient sage had once said, “is always sitting on the doorsteps of the rich.
  • my hands dead my heart dead silence adagio of rocks the world ablaze that’s the best for me.
  • WHEN YOU LEAVE YOUR TYPEWRITER YOU LEAVE YOUR MACHINE GUN AND THE RATS COME POURING THROUGH.
  • I knew exactly what I was doing: I was doing nothing. because I knew there was nothing to do.
  • a good book can make an almost impossible existence, liveable ( from ‘the luck of the word’ )
  • she was consumed by 3 simple things: drink, despair, loneliness; and 2 more: youth and beauty
  • I guess for me Hemingway is a lot like it is for others: he goes down well when we are young.
  • All a guy needed was a chance. Somebody was alway controlling who got a chance and who didn’t.
  • It was better for me when I could imagine greatness in others, even if it wasn’t always there.
  • I take much pleasure in being alone but there is also a strange warm grace in not being alone.
  • We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
  • Intellectuals say simple things in difficult ways. Artists say difficult things in simple ways.
  • Look, let me put it this way: with me, you’re number one and there isn’t even a number two.
  • An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.
  • Long before I became ‘rich and famous’ I just sat round drinking wine and staring at the walls.
  • Courts are places where the ending is written first and all that precedes is simply vaudeville.
  • I remember awakening one morning and finding everything smeared with the color of forgotten love.
  • Sweet Christ, you must know that a man will go further for any poem than for any woman ever born.
  • she knew what she wanted and it wasn’t / me. / I know more women like that than any / other kind.
  • The park grass looked greener, the park benches looked better and the flowers were trying harder.
  • You just rebel against everything. How are you going to survive? I don’t know. I’m already tired.
  • It was like a church in there as only the truly lost sit in bars on Tuesday mornings at 8:00 a.m.
  • Drinking is another way of thinking, another way of living. It gives you two lives instead of one.
  • What a weary time those years were — to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.
  • I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.
  • The hangover was brutal but he didn’t mind. It told him he had been somewhere else, someplace good.
  • They, all of them, seemed to put literary form in front of the actuality and living of life itself.
  • there are so many days when living stops and pulls up and sits and waits like a train on the rails.
  • True revolution comes from true revulsion; when things get bad enough the kitten will kill the lion.
  • To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself.
  • When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.
  • Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do, but most people simply don’t give a damn.
  • you boys can keep your virgins give me hot old women in high heels with asses that forgot to get old.
  • Food is good for the nerves and the spirit. Courage comes from the belly ‚Äì all else is desperation.
  • I drive around the streets an inch away from weeping, ashamed of my sentimentality and possible love.
  • since some people had told me that I was ugly, I always preferred shade to the sun, darkness to light
  • Four days alone with nothing. Emerge empowered. The first human face you see will knock you back 50%.
  • If I’m an ass, I should say so. If I don’t, somebody else will. If I say it first, that disarms them.
  • When I’m drinking around people, I tend to get silly or pugnacious or wild, which can cause problems.
  • You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else is grandiose romanticism or politics.
  • Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others.
  • i dunno,” i said, “but i have an idea that people who don’t think too much tend to look younger longer
  • The courage it took to get out of bed each morning to face the same things over and over was enormous.
  • my greatest problem was stamps, envelopes, paper and wine, with the world on the edge of World War II.
  • First paycheck I get, I thought, I’m going to get myself a room near the downtown L.A. Public Library.
  • We have wasted History like a bunch of drunks shooting dice back in the men’s crapper of the local bar.
  • When a writer is swayed with his fame and his fortune, you can float him down the river with the turds.
  • I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have. Let’s drink more wine!
  • Disneyland remains the central attraction of Southern California, but the graveyard remains our reality.
  • but as God said, crossing his legs, I see where I have made plenty of poets but not so very much poetry.
  • human relationships simply aren’t durable. I think back to the women in my life. they seem non-existent.
  • People were usually much better in their letters than in reality. They were much like poets in this way.
  • Gradually I came to realize that my understanding of women goes only as far as the pleasure is concerned.
  • there is always one woman to save you from another and as that woman saves you she makes ready to destroy
  • all that I know is that I believe in the sound of music and the running of a horse. all else is squabble.
  • …in that drunken place you would like to hand your heart to her and say touch it but then give it back.
  • Trouble and pain were what kept a man alive. Or trying to avoid trouble and pain. It was a full time job.
  • I was fairly poor but most of my money went for wine and classical music. I loved to mix the two together.
  • In a capitalistic society the losers slaved for the winners and you have to have more losers than winners.
  • if you get married they think you’re finished and if you are without a woman they think you’re incomplete.
  • but isn’t there always one good thing to look back on? think of how many cups of coffee we drank together.
  • People don’t need love. What they need is success in one form or another. It can be love but it needn’t be.
  • I am for the small man who has not forgotten, for the man who loves his beer and his women and his sunlight
  • Art is its own excuse, and it’s either Art or it’s something else. It’s either a poem or a piece of cheese.
  • they simply never understand, do they, that sometimes solitude is one of the most beautiful things on earth?
  • Bullfighting can be an art Boxing can be an art Loving can be an art Opening a can of sardines can be an art
  • Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateurs drunks, the bores.
  • I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.
  • In my next life I want to be a cat. To sleep 20 hours a day and wait to be fed. To sit around licking my ass.
  • there is a loneliness in this world so great that you can see it in the slow movement of the hands of a clock
  • People who believe in politics are like people who believe in God: they are sucking wind through bent straws.
  • and our few good times will be rare because we have the critical sense and are not easy to fool with laughter
  • Those who preach god, need god Those who preach peace do not have peace Those who preach love do not have love
  • In a more universal sense, we only get one thing. You know…a head stone if we’re lucky; if not, green grass.
  • Basically, that’s why I wrote: to save my ass, to save my ass from the madhouse, from the streets, from myself.
  • I wasn’t lonely. I experienced no self-pity. I was just caught up in a life in which I could Ô¨Ånd no meaning.
  • People with no morals often considered themselves more free, but mostly they lacked the ability to feel or love.
  • I have two rules. One is, never trust a man who smokes a pipe. The other is, never trust a man with shiny shoes.
  • They never pay the slaves enough so they can get free, just enough so they can stay alive and come back to work.
  • Banion wondered which was worse – being sodomized by aliens, or having to sit through two hours of Charles Ives.
  • I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals.
  • terror finally becomes almost bearable but never quite terror creeps like a cat crawls like a cat across my mind
  • places to hunt places to hide are getting harder to find, and pet canaries and goldfish too, did you notice that?
  • Your writing”, she said to me, “it’s so raw. It’s like a sledgehammer, and yet it has humor and tenderness. . . .
  • With me, my main vision for life was to avoid as many people as possible. The less people I saw the better I felt.
  • Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer.
  • like the fox I run with the hunted and if I’m not the happiest man on earth I’m surely the luckiest man alive.
  • the masses are everywhere they know how to do things: they have sane and deadly angers for sane and deadly things.
  • Lawyers, doctors, plumbers, they all made the money. Writers? Writers starved. Writers suicided. Writers went mad.
  • Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.
  • I was their bar freak, they needed me to make themselves feel better. just like, at times, I needed that graveyard.
  • The worst men have the best jobs the best men have the worst jobs or are unemployed or locked in madhouses.
  • I would give anything for a female’s hand on me tonight. they soften a man and then leave him listening to the rain.
  • I’ve found out why men sign their names to their works- not that they created them but more than the others did not.
  • as a child i suppose i was not quite normal. my happiest times were when i was left alone in the house on a saturday.
  • Why did I come here? I thought. Why is it always only a matter of choosing between something bad and something worse?
  • I do not like to work and have no trade but i do like to eat, so this is basic, the basic training of slaves to fear.
  • They laughed. Things were funny. They weren’t afraid to care. There was no sense to life, to the structure of things.
  • It will rain all this night and we will sleep transfixed by the dark water as our blood runs through our fragile life.
  • What? You’d dare drink right after getting out of jail for intoxication?‚Äù That’s when you need a drink the most.
  • take a writer away from his typewriter and all you have left is the sickness which started him typing in the beginning
  • Experience can dull. With most men experience is a series of mistakes; the more experience you have the less you know.
  • I am a dolt of a man, easily made happy or even stupidly happy almost without cause and left alone I am mostly content.
  • I had noticed that both in the very poor and very rich extremes of society the mad were often allowed to mingle freely.
  • If you’re going to try, go all the way. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs and maybe your mind.
  • the grace is being able to like rock music, symphony music, jazz ‚Ķ anything that contains the original energy of joy.
  • I’ve had so many knives stuck into me, when they hand me a flower I can’t quite make out what it is. It takes time.
  • I don’t know about other people, but when I wake up in the morning and put my shoes on, I think, Jesus Christ, now what?
  • I don’t think I’ll travel anymore. Travel is nothing but an inconvenience. There is always enough trouble where you are.
  • I have been treated better than I should have been—not by life in general nor by the machinery of things but by women.
  • it is good to be sitting some place in public at 2:30 in the afternoon without getting the flesh ripped from your bones.
  • What were you going to do tonight?” “I was going to listen to the songs of Rachmaninoff.” “Who’s that?” “A dead Russian.
  • I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here.
  • Some people have written that my writing has helped them go on. It has helped me too. The writing, the roses, the 9 cats.
  • Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same.
  • that your power of command with simple language was one of the magnificent things of our century. (from the poem: result)
  • Complaint is often the result of an insufficient ability to live within the obvious restrictions of this god damned cage.
  • I knew I was strong, and maybe like they said, “crazy.” But I had this feeling inside of me that something real was there.
  • there is enough treachery , hatred violence absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day
  • I give you soul. I give you wisdom and light and music and a bit of laughter. Also, I am the world’s greatest horseplayer.
  • The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
  • He asked, “What makes a man a writer?” “Well,” I said, “it’s simple. You either get it down on paper, or jump off a bridge.
  • the writing of some men is like a vast bridge that carries you over the many things that claw and tear. The Wine of Forever
  • Bad luck for the young poet would be a rich father, an early marriage, an early success or the ability to do anything well.
  • Potential,” I said, “doesn’t mean a thing. You’ve got to do it. Almost every baby in a crib has more potential than I have.
  • A woman must be nursed into subsistence by love, where a man can become stronger by being hated.” – from ‘Cows in Art Class
  • The trouble with these people is that their cities have never been bombed and their mothers have never been told to shut up.
  • It’s never quite right, all the things we are taught, all the loves we chase, all the deaths we die, all the lives we live.
  • There’s nothing else as pleasant as being unpleasant when there’s nothing else to do, and there’s usually nothing else to do.
  • my youth, one time, that time I knew even through the nothingness, it was a celebration of something not to do but only know.
  • And yet women-good women–frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep.
  • As we go on with our lives we tend to forget that the jails and the hospitals and the madhouses and the graveyards are packed.
  • Some lose all mind and become soul,insane. some lose all soul and become mind, intellectual. some lose both and become accepted
  • I feel no grief for being called something which I am not; in fact, it’s enthralling, somehow, like a good  back rub
  • I went to the bathroom and threw some water on my face, combed my hair. If I could only comb that face, I thought, but I can’t.
  • I can see where creation often stops while the body still lives and often does not care to. the death of life before life dies.
  • Anybody can be a non-drunk. It takes a special talent to be a drunk. It takes endurance. Endurance is more important than truth.
  • When I get down to my last dime I’ll just walk over to skid row.” “There are some real weirdos down there.” “They’re everywhere.
  • it’s good to have things done with when they don’t work it’s also good not to hate or even forget the person you’ve failed with.
  • Boring damned people. All over the earth. Propagating more boring damned people. What a horror show. The earth swarmed with them.
  • and getting dressed we talk about what else there might be to do, but being together solves most of it, in fact, solves all of it
  • Simplicity is always the secret, to a profound truth, to doing things, to writing, to painting. Life is profound in its simplicity
  • Writing is like going to bed with a beautiful woman and afterwards she gets up, goes to her purse and gives me a handful of money.
  • So, that’s what they wanted: lies. Beautiful lies. That’s what they needed. People were fools. It was going to be easy for me.
  • I am ashamed to be a member of the human race but I don’t want to add any more to that shame, I want to scrape a little of it off.
  • You can forgive a fool because he only runs in one direction and doesn’t deceive anybody. It’s the deceivers who make you feel bad.
  • I walk into the kitchen, look at the typer down there on the floor. It’s a dirty floor. It’s a dirty typer that types dirty stories
  • the free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it – basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.
  • to fight for each minute is to fight for what is possible within yourself, so that your life and your death will not be like theirs.
  • People just weren’t interesting. Maybe they weren’t supposed to be. But animals, birds, even insects were. I couldn’t understand it.
  • yes, Wagner and the storm intermix with the wine as nights like this run up my wrists and up into my head and back down into the gut
  • That’s when I first learned that it wasn’t enough to just do your job, you had to have an interest in it, even a passion for it.
  • I would certainly end up forever crying the blues into a coffee cup in a park for old men playing chess or silly games of some sort.
  • Those faces you see every day on the streets were not created entirely without hope: be kind to them: like you they have not escaped.
  • I think that the world should be full of cats and full of rain, that’s all, just cats and rain, rain and cats, very nice, good night.
  • Each person is only given so many evenings and each wasted evening is a gross violation against the natural course of your only life.
  • I will remember the kisses, our lips raw with love, and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you what was left of me.
  • The centuries are sprinkled with rare magic with divine creatures who help us get past the common and extraordinary ills that beset us
  • … to die on a kitchen floor at 7 o’clock in the morning while other people are frying eggs is not so rough unless it happens to you.
  • We waste days like mad blackbirds and pray for alcoholic nightsour silk-sick human smiles wrap around us like somebody else’s confetti
  • I can never drive my car over a bridge without thinking of suicide. I can never look at a lake or an ocean without thinking of suicide.
  • my 6 foot goddess makes me laugh the laughter of the mutilated who still need love… she has saved me from everything that is not here
  • To me Art (poetry) is a continuous and continuing process and that when a man fails to write good poetry he fails to live fully or well.
  • They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them.
  • The poet, as a rule, is a half-man – a sissy, not a real person, and he is in no shape to lead real men in matters of blood, or courage.
  • nobody can save you but yourself and you’re worth saving. it’s a war not easily won but if anything is worth winning then this is it.
  • We are like roses that have never bothered to bloom when we should have bloomed and it is as if the sun has become disgusted with waiting
  • if you think they didn’t go crazy in tiny rooms just like you’re doing now without women without food without hope then you’re not ready.
  • I am not a snob; it is simply that I am not interested with what most people have to say, or what they want to do ‚Äî mostly with my time.
  • It was only the matter of a new voice. Nobody listened to an old voice anymore. Old voices became a part of one’s self, like a fingernail.
  • Meanwhile the 3 a.m. drunks of the world would lay in their beds, trying in vain to sleep, and deserving that rest, if they could find it.
  • The streets were full of insane & dull people. Most of them lived in nice houses and didn’t seem to work, and you wondered how they did it.
  • There will always be something to ruin our lives, it all depends on what or which finds us first. We are always ripe and ready to be taken.
  • There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too tough for him, I say, stay in there, I’m not going to let anybody see you.
  • I am too sick to lay down the sidewalks frighten me the whole damned city frightens me, what I will become what I have become frightens me.
  • Too often the people complain that they have done nothing with their lives and then they wait for somebody to tell them that this isn’t so.
  • I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: “Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.
  • I could never accept life as it was, I could never gobble down all its poisons bu there were parts, tenuous magic parts open for the asking.
  • That the young rich smell the stink of the poor and learn to find it a bit amusing. They had to laugh, otherwise it would be too terrifying.
  • The worst thing for a writer is to know another writer, and worse than that, to know a number of other writers. Like flies on the same turd.
  • Sometimes a man doesn’t know what to do about things and sometimes it’s best to lie very still and try not to think at all about anything.
  • I write as a function. Without it I would fall ill and die. It’s as much a part of one as the liver or intestine, and just about as glamorous.
  • I have one problem, I don’t hate people. They disgust me and I want to get away from them. I do not have hatred. I have an escape mechanism.
  • Hemingway and Saroyan had the line, the magic of it. The problem was that Hemingway didn’t know how to laugh and Saroyan was filled with sugar.
  • I can’t blame her. but wonder why she’s here with me? where are the other guys? how can you be lucky? having someone the others have abandoned?
  • Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually clean kitchen, and 8 times out of 9 I’ll show you a man with detestable spiritual qualities.
  • Find what you love and let it kill you. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.
  • I’ve learned to feel good when I feel good. it’s better to be driven around in a red porsche than to own one. the luck of the fool is inviolate.
  • The pest, in a sense, is a very superior being to us: he knows where to find us and how–usually in the bath or in sexual intercourse or asleep.
  • I like the way Mahler wandered about in his music and still retained his passion. He must have looked like an earthquake walking down the street.
  • whiskey makes the heart beat faster but it sure doesn’t help the mind and isn’t it funny how you can ache just from the deadly drone of existence?
  • If you are going to try, go all the way or don’t even start. If you follow it you will be alive with the gods. It is the only good fight there is.
  • I didn’t feel that way about it. I had been playing with death for some time. I can’t say we were the best of friends but we were well acquainted.
  • of one hundred movies there’s one that is fair, one that’s good and ninety eight that are very bad. most movies start badly and steadily get worse
  • t was almost disappointing because it seemed when stress and madness were eliminated from my daily life there wasn’t much left you could depend on.
  • I used to lay drunk in alleys and I probably will again.Bukowski, who is he? I read about Bukowski and it doesn’t seem like anything to do with me.
  • Understand me. I’m not like an ordinary world. I have my madness, I live in another dimension and I do not have time for things that have no soul.
  • I read my books at night, like that, under the quilt with the overheated reading lamp. Reading all those good lines while suffocating. It was magic.
  • That’s how it is with books, isn’t it: They’re not in a hurry. They’ll wait for you till you’re ready. People empty me. I have to go away to refill.
  • American women drove hard bargains and the ended up looking the worst for it. The few natural American women left were mostly in Texas and Louisiana.
  • there was something about that city, though it didn’t let me feel guilty that I had no feeling for the things so many others needed. it let me alone.
  • People are strange: They are constantly angered by trivial things, but on a major matter like totally wasting their lives, they hardly seem to notice.
  • Beauty is nothing, beauty won’t stay. You don’t know how lucky you are to be ugly, because if people like you, you know it’s for something else.
  • God knows I am not too hippy. Perhaps because I am too much around the hip and I fear fads for, like anybody else, I like something that tends to last.
  • If I never see you again I will always carry you inside outside on my fingertips and at brain edges and in centers centers of what I am of what remains.
  • Style means no shield at all. Style means no front at all. Style means ultimate naturalness. Style means one man alone with billions of men about.
  • Love is all right for those who can handle the psychic overload. It’s like trying to carry a full garbage can on your back over a rushing river of piss.
  • the best often die by their own hand just to get away, and those left behind can never quite understand why anybody would ever want to get away from them
  • I didn’t have any friends at school, didn’t want any. I felt better being alone. I sat on a bench and watched the others play and they looked foolish to me.
  • well, death says, as he walks by, I’m going to get you anyhow no matter what you’ve been: writer, cab-driver, pimp, butcher, sky-diver, I’m going to get you
  • People just don’t know how to write down a simple easy line. It’s difficult for them; it’s like trying to keep a hard-on while drowning – not many can do it.
  • ‚ĶHe was always high on drugs. I was not a drug man, but in case I wanted to hide from myself for a few days, I knew I could get anything I wanted from him.
  • Your parents don’t give you much love, do they?’ ‘I don’t need that stuff,’ I told her. ‘Henry, everybody needs love.’ ‘I don’t need anything.’ ‘You poor boy.
  • Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside ‚Äî remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.
  • The male, for all his bravado and exploration, is the loyal one, the one who generally feels love. The female is skilled at betrayal and torture and damnation.
  • it seemed to me that I had never met another person on earth as discouraging to my happiness as my father. and it appeared that I had the same effect upon him.
  • the way to create art is to burn and destroy ordinary concepts and to substitute them with new truths that run down from the top of the head and out of the heart
  • I guess we often get the deep blues, both of us, and wonder what it all means- the people, the buildings, the day by day things, the waste of time, of ourselves.
  • I always started a job with the feeling that I’d soon quit or be fired, and this gave ma a relaxex manner that was mistaken for intelligence or some secret power.
  • and then there are some who believe that old relationships can be revived and made new again. but please if you feel that way don’t phone don’t write don’t arrive
  • But my whole life has been a matter of fighting for one simple hour to do what I want to do. There was always something getting in the way of my getting to myself.
  • there are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it’s too late and there’s nothing worse than too late
  • More often than not Democratic Law works to the advantage of the few even though the many have voted; this, of course, is because the few have told them how to vote.
  • I’m going to open another vottle. not a vottle, but a bottle. you open it and I’ll drink it. and you try to write as much as I did without falling off of your chair.
  • Daddy,’ my mother asked, ‘aren’t we going to run out of gas?’ No there’s plenty of god-damned gas.’ Where are we going?’ I’m going to get some god-damed oranges!
  • The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little bit more off you, until there was nothing left.
  • She was desperate and she was choosey at the same time and, in a way, beautiful, but she didn’t have quite enough going for her to become what she imagined herself to be.
  • well, i don’t know about you but I’m going to try everything! War, women, travel, marriage, children, the works. […]. I want to know about things, what makes them work!
  • Existence was not only absurd, it was plain hard work. Think of how many times you put on your underwear in a lifetime. It was appalling, it was disgusting, it was stupid.
  • I am not a man who looks for solutions in God or politics. If somebody else wants to do the dirty work and create a better world for us and he can do it, I will accept it.
  • if it doesn’t come bursting out of you in spite of everything, don’t do it. unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.
  • Some men hope for revolution but when you revolt and set up your new government you find your new government is still the same old Papa, he has only put on a cardboard mask.
  • Once a woman turns against you, forget it. They can love you, then something turns in them. They can watch you dying in a gutter, run over by a car, and they’ll spit on you.
  • The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.
  • Hey, Hank, I notice all the women around your place lately … good looking stuff; you’re doing all right.” “Sam,” I say, “that’s not true; I am one of God’s most lonely men.
  • I never write in the daytime. It’s like running through the shopping mall with your clothes off. Everybody can see you. At night … that’s when you pull the tricks … magic.
  • People need me. I fill them. If they can’t see me for a while they get desperate, they get sick. But if I see them too often I get sick. It’s hard to feed without getting fed.
  • I remember when each 4th lot was vacant and overgrown, and the landlord only go this rent when you had it, and each day was clear and good and each moment was full of promise.
  • The masses are always wrong…Wisdom is doing everything the crowd does not do. All you do is reverse the totality of their learning and you have the heaven they’re looking for.
  • I enjoy the bad things that are said about me. It enhances sales and makes me feel evil. I don’t like to feel good ’cause I am good. But evil? Yes. It gives me another dimension.
  • Fay had a spot of blood on the left side of her mouth and I took a wet cloth and wiped it off. Women were meant to suffer; no wonder they asked for constant declarations of love.
  • It’s hot tonight and half the neighborhood is drunk. the other half is dead. if I have any advice about writing poetry it’s – don’t. I’m going to send out for some fried chicken.
  • The difference between a brave man and a coward is a coward thinks twice before jumping in the cage with a lion. The brave man doesn’t know what a lion is. He just thinks he does.
  • people see so many movies that when they finally see one not so bad as the others, they think it’s great. an Academy Award means that you don’t stink quite as much as your cousin.
  • I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.
  • Even the stove and the refrigerator looked human, I mean good human – they seemed to have arms and voices and they said, hang around, kid, it’s good here, it can be very good here.
  • as the shadows assume shapes I fight the slow retreat now my once-promise dwindling dwindling now lighting new cigarettes pouring more drinks it has been a beautiful fight still is.
  • If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.
  • Sometimes I feel as if we are all trapped in a movie. We know our lines, where to walk, how to act, only there is no camera. Yet, we can’t break out of the movie. And it’s a bad one.
  • The public takes from a writer, or a writing, what it needs and lets the remainder go. but what they take is usually what they need least and what they let go is what they need most.
  • There would never be a way for me to live comfortably with people. Maybe I’d become a monk. I’d pretend to believe in God and live in a cubicle, play an organ and stay drunk on wine.
  • As a recluse I couldn’t bear traffic. It had nothing to do with jealousy, I simply disliked people, crowds, anywhere, except at my readings. People diminished me, they sucked me dry.
  • You’ve got to know when to let a woman go if you want to keep her,and if you don’t want to keep her you let her go anyhow so it’s always a process of letting go, one way or the other.
  • We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.
  • You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it.
  • it doesn’t matter if Prince Charles falls off his horse or that the hummingbird is so seldom seen or that we are too senseless to go insane. coffee. give us more of that NOTHING coffee.
  • It’s not the large things that send a man to the madhouse… no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies… not the death of his love but the shoelace that snaps with no time left.
  • I met a genius on the train today about 6 years old, he sat beside me and as the train ran down along the coast we came to the ocean and then he looked at me and said, it’s not pretty.
  • Of course, there would always be arguments. That is the nature of Woman. They like the mutual exchange of dirty laundry, a bit of screaming, a bit of dramatics. Then an exchange of vows.
  • there must be a way. surely there must be a way that we have not yet thought of. who put this brain inside of me? it cries it demands it says that there is a chance. it will not say “no.
  • Human relationships are strange. I mean, you are with one person a while, eating and sleeping and living with them, loving them, talking to them, going places together, and then it stops.
  • for a man of 55 who didn’t get laid until he was 23 and not very often until he was 50 I think that I should stay listed via Pacific Telephone until I get as much as the average man has had
  • And there I was, 225 pounds, perpetually lost and confused, short legs, ape-like upper body, all chest, no neck, head too large, blurred eyes, hair uncombed, 6 feet of geek, waiting for her.
  • I suppose like others I have come through fire and sword, love gone wrong, head-on crashes, drunk at sea, and I have listened to the simple sound of water running in tubs and wished to drown
  • Well, people got attatched. Once you cut the umbilical cord they attatched to the other things. Sight, sound, sex, money, mirages, mothers, masturbation, murder, and Monday morning hangovers.
  • I want to let her know though that all the nights sleeping beside her even the useless arguments were things ever splendid and the hard words I ever feared to say can now be said: I love you.
  • The role of the poet is almost nothing…drearily nothing. And when he steps outside of his boots and tries to get tough as our dear Ezra [Pound] did, he will get his pink little ass slapped.
  • There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death.
  • Some of my poems indicate that I am writing while living alone after a split with a woman, and I’ve had many splits with women. I need solitude more often when I’m not writing than when I am.
  • To experience real agony is something hard to write about, impossible to understand while it grips you; you’re frightened out of your wits, can’t sit still, move, or even go decently insane.
  • People were interesting at first. Then later, slowly but surely, all the flaws and madness would manifest themselves. I would become less and less to them; they would mean less and less to me.
  • The blankets had fallen off and I stared down at her white back, the shoulder blades sticking out as if they wanted to grow into wings, poke through that skin. Little blades. She was helpless.
  • I felt I had to win. It seemed very important. I didn’t know why it was important and I kept thinking, why do I think this is so important? And another part of me answered, just because it is.
  • What good are you? What can you do? It has cost me a thousands of dollars to raise you, feed you, clothe you! Suppose I left you here on the street? Then what would you do?” “Catch butterflies
  • I seldom know what I’m going to write when I sit down. There isn’t much agony and sweat of the human spirit involved in doing it. The writing’s easy, it’s the living that is sometimes difficult.
  • A dry period for me means perhaps going two or three nights without writing. I probably have dry periods but I’m not aware of them and I go on writing, only the writing probably isn’t much good.
  • I write right off the typer. I call it my “machinegun.” I hit it hard, usually late at night while drinking wine and listening to classical music on the radio and smoking mangalore ganesh beedies.
  • Her one drink had Cecelia giggling and talking and she was explaining that animals had souls too. Nobody challenged her opinion. It was possible, we knew. What we weren’t sure of was if we had any.
  • Why do we embroider everything we say with special emphasis when all we really need to do is simply say what needs to he said? Of course the fact is that there is very little that needs to be said.
  • she is no longer the beautiful woman she was. she sends photos of herself sitting upon a rock by the ocean alone and damned. I could have had her once. I wonder if she thinks I could have saved her?
  • I was young I was so young it hurt like a knife inside because there was no alternative except to hide as long as possible— not in self-pity but with dismay at my limited chance: trying to connect.
  • Most people are much better at saying things in letters than in conversation, and some people can write artistic, inventive letters, but when they try a poem or story or novel they become pretentious.
  • Dear child, I only did to you what the sparrow did to you; I am old when it is fashionable to be young; I cry when it is fashionable to laugh. I hated you when it would have taken less courage to love.
  • When you play the field selfishly everything works against you: one can’t insist on love or demand affection. you’re finally left with whatever you have been willing to give which often is: nothing.
  • Getting drunk was good. I decided that I would always like getting drunk. It took away the obvious and maybe if you could get away from the obvious often enough, you wouldn’t become so obvious yourself.
  • the impossibility of being human all too human this breathing in and out out and in these punks these cowards these champions these mad dogs of glory moving this little bit of light toward us impossibly.
  • the psyche has been burned and left us senseless, the world has been darker than lights-out in a closet full of hungry bats, and the whiskey and wine entered our veins when blood was too weak to carry on
  • It was a joy! Words weren’t dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you.
  • I don’t carry notebooks and I don’t consciously store ideas. I try not to think that I am a writer and I am pretty good at doing that. I don’t like writers, but then I don’t like insurance salesmen either.
  • Oh, I don’t mean you’re handsome, not the way people think of handsome. Your face seems kind. But your eyes – they’re beautiful. They’re wild, crazy, like some animal peering out of a forest on fire.
  • The best thing about the bedroom was the bed. I liked to stay in bed for hours, even during the day with covers pulled up to my chin. It was good in there, nothing ever occurred in there, no people, nothing.
  • Cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times. I found moments of peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some dresser or listening to the rain in the dark. The less I needed the better I felt.
  • I can’t think of any poet-recluses outside of one dead Jeffers. [Robinson Jeffers] The rest of them want to slobber over each other and hug each other. It appears to me that I am the last of the poet-recluses.
  • I got up and walked back to my roominghouse. The moonlight was bright. My footsteps echoed in the empty street and it sounded as if somebody was following me, I looked around. I was mistaken. I was quite alone.
  • Love is kind of like when you see a fog in the morning, when you wake up before the sun comes out. It’s just a little while, and then it burns away… Love is a fog that burns with the first daylight of reality.
  • The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live ten times longer than if you have ten. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever.
  • Learn, he says, that there will be hours, days and months ahead of feeling absolutely terrible and nothing can change that; neither new girlfriends, health professionals, changes of diet, dope, humility, or God.
  • I mean, say that you figure that everything is senseless, then it can’t be quite senseless because you are aware that it’s senseless and your awareness of senselessness almost gives it sense. You know what I mean?
  • Sex is interesting, but it’s not totally important. I mean it’s not even as important (physically) as excretion. A man can go seventy years without a piece of ass, but he can die in a week without a bowel movement.
  • As we live we all get caught and torn by various traps. Nobody escapes them. Some even live with them. The idea is to realize that a trap is a trap. If you are in one and you don’t realize it, then you’re finished.
  • All our days are marked with/ unexpected/ affronts–some/ disastrous, others/ less so/ but the process is/ wearing and/ continuous./ Attrition rules./ Most give/ way/ leaving/ empty spaces/ where people should/ be.
  • When I begin to doubt my ability to work the word, I simply read another writer and know I have nothing to worry about. My contest is only with myself, to do it right, with power, and force, and delight, and gamble.
  • There’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I pour whiskey on him and inhale cigarette smoke and the whores and the bartenders  and the grocery clerks  never know that  he’s  in there.
  • Don’t wait for the good woman. She doesn’t exist. There are women who can make you feel more with their bodies and their souls but these are the exact women who will turn the knife into you right in front of the crowd.
  • I was fighting a small fight of my own which wasn’t leading anywhere-but like a man with a bent spoon trying to dig through a cement wall I knew that a small fight was better than quitting: it kept the heart alive.
  • LSD, yeah, the big parade ‚Äì everybody’s doin’ it now. Take LSD, then you are a poet, an intellectual. What a sick mob. I am building a machine gun in my closet now to take out as many of them as I can before they get me.
  • Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.
  • I wasn’t sleeping on the streets at night. Of course, there were a lot of good people sleeping in the streets. They weren’t fools, they just didn’t fit into the needed machinery of the moment. And those needs kept altering.
  • Homosexuals are delicate and bad poetry is delicate and [Allen] Ginsberg turned the tables by making homosexual poetry strong poetry, almost manly poetry; but in the long run, the homo will remain the homo and not the poet.
  • my mother, poor fish, wanting to be happy, beaten two or three times a week, telling me to be happy: “Henry, smile! why don’t you ever smile?” and then she would smile, to show me how, and it was the saddest smile I ever saw
  • Turgenev was a very serious fellow but he could make me laugh because a truth first encountered can be very funny. When someone else’s truth is the same as your truth, and he seems to be saying it just for you, that’s great.
  • I don’t know if this is true to you but for me sometimes it gets so bad that anything else say like looking at a bird on an overhead power line seems as great as a Beethoven symphony. then you forget it and you’re back again.
  • and I laugh, I can still laugh, who can’t laugh when the whole thing is so ridiculous that only the insane, the clowns, the half-wits, the cheaters, the whores, the horseplayers, the bankrobbers, the poets … are interesting?
  • escape from the black widow spider is a miracle as great as art. what a web she can weave slowly drawing you to her she’ll embrace you then when she’s satisfied she’ll kill you still in her embrace and suck the blood from you.
  • You are thirty minutes late.” “Yes.” “Would you be thirty minutes late to a wedding or a funeral?” “No.” “Why not, pray tell?” “Well, if the funeral was mine I’d have to be on time. If the wedding was mine it would be my funeral.
  • If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.
  • I only want sweet peace and kindliness when I awaken — but there’s always some finger pointing, telling me some terrible deed I committed during the night. It seems I make a lot of mistakes and it seems that I am not allowed any.
  • I don’t think I have written a poem when I was completely sober. But I have written a few good ones or a few bad ones under the hammer of a black hangover when I didn’t know whether another drink or a blade would be the best thing.
  • I felt like crying but nothing came out. it was just a sort of sad sickness, sick sad, when you can’t feel any worse. I think you know it. I think everybody knows it now and then. but I think I have known it pretty often, too often.
  • I wasn’t going anywhere and neither was the rest of the world. We were all just hanging around waiting to die and meanwhile doing little things to fill the space. Some of use weren’t even doing little things. We were vegetables.
  • I got lost somehow, began staring up her legs. I was always a leg man. It was the first thing I saw when I was born. But then I was trying to get out. Ever since I have been working in the other direction and with pretty lousy luck.
  • What’s genius? I don’t know but I do know that the difference between a madman and a professional is that a pro does as well as he can within what he has set out to do and a madman does exceptionally well at what he can’t help doing.
  • great writers are indecent people they live unfairly saving the best part for paper. good human beings save the world so that bastards like me can keep creating art, become immortal. if you read this after I am dead it means I made it.
  • I held her wrists and then I got it through the eyes: hatred, centuries deep and true. I was wrong and graceless and sick. all the things I had learned had been wasted. there was no creature living as foul as I and all my poems were false.
  • the beautiful are found in the edge of a room crumpled into spiders and needles and silence and we can never understand why they left,they were so beautiful. they dont make it, the beautiful die young and leave the ugly to their ugly lives.
  • I was only kidding about the hundred,” she says. oh,” I say, “what will it cost me?” she lights her cigarette with my lighter and looks at me through the flame: her eyes tell me. look,” I say, “I don’t think I can ever pay that price again.
  • I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me.
  • It’s not so much that nothing means anything but more that it keeps meaning nothing. there’s no release, just gurus and self- appointed gods and hucksters. the more people say, the less there is to say. even the best books are dry sawdust.
  • Everything is beautiful. We have all this beauty in the world and all we have to do is reach out and touch it, it is all there and all ours for the taking.” — Cecilia to Henry Chinaski, liberty taken changing past tense to present tense (173)
  • Don’t fight your demons. Your demons are here to teach you lessons. Sit down with your demons and have a drink and a chat and learn their names and talk about the burns on their fingers and scratches on their ankles. Some of them are very nice.
  • The nine-to-five is one of the greatest atrocities sprung upon mankind. You give your life to a function that doesn’t interest you. This situation so repelled me that I was driven to drink, starvation, and mad females, simply as an alternative.
  • Most of the world was mad. And the part that wasn’t mad was angry. And the part that wasn’t mad or angry was just stupid. I had no chance. I had no choice. Just hang on and wait for the end. It was hard work. It was the hardest work imaginable.
  • I have seen too many men wilt and go silly under a little light, and then they continue to write and get published, turning out pure crap under a name that has become a bad habit. The next poem is all that counts. You can’t stand on past poems.
  • I had decided against religion a couple of years back. If it were true, it made fools out of people, or it drew fools. And if it weren’t true, the fools were all the more foolish. What I need is a good doctor, I thought. You either lived or died.
  • There is only one place to write and that is alone at a typewriter. The writer who has to go into the streets is a writer who does not know the streets. . . when you leave your typewriter you leave your machine gun and the rats come pouring through.
  • That’s the problem with drinking, I thought, as I poured myself a drink. If something bad happens you drink in an attempt to forget; if something good happens you drink in order to celebrate; and if nothing happens you drink to make something happen.
  • The ladies usually go for the biggest damn fool they can find; that is why the human race stands where it does today: we have bred the clever and lasting Casanovas, all hollow inside, like the chocolate Easter bunnies we foster upon our poor children.
  • Once in a dream I saw a snake swallowing its own tail, it swallowed and swallowed until it got halfway round, and there it stopped and there it stayed, it was stuffed with its own self. Some fix, that. We only have ourselves to go on, and it’s enough.
  • A man needed somebody. There wasn’t anybody around, so you had to make up somebody, make him up to be like a man should be. It wasn’t make-believe or cheating. The other way was make-believe and cheating: living your life without a man like him around.
  • They looked as if nothing had ever touched them–all well-mothered, protected, with a soft sheen of contentment. None of them had ever been in jail, or worked hard with their hands, or even gotten a traffic ticket. Skimmed-milk jollies, the whole bunch.
  • we drove on and on, past little villages and both good things and bad things were happening to the people in those villages too, but I still was nothing but arms and ears and eyes and maybe there’d be either some good luck for me or more death tomorrow.
  • My objection to war was not that I had to kill somebody or be killed senselessly, that hardly mattered. What I objected to was to be denied the right to sit in a small room and starve and drink cheap wine and go crazy in my own way and at my own leisure.
  • nobody can save you but yourself. you will be put again and again into nearly impossible situations. they will attempt again and again through subterfuge, guise and force to make you submit, quit and/or die quietly inside. nobody can save you but yourself

 

  • when I was a boy I used to dream of becoming the village idiot. I used to lie in bed and imagine myself the happy idiot able to get food easily …and easy sympathy, a planned confusion of not too much love or effort. some would claim that I have succeeded.
  • He asked, “what makes a man a writer?” “well,” I said, “it’s simple, it’s either you get it down on paper or you jump off a bridge. writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers.” “are you desperate?” “I don’t know.
  • The apartment was built at the edge of a high cliff so that when you looked out the back window it seemed as if you were twelve floors up instead of four. It was very much like living on the edge of the world – a last resting place before the final big drop.
  • There’s nothing like privacy. You know, I like people. It’s nice that they might like my books and all that…but I’m not the book, see? I’m the guy who wrote it, but I don’t want them to come up and throw roses on me or anything. I want them to let me breathe.
  • Dog is much admired by Man because he believes in the hand which feeds him. A perfect set-up. For 13 cents a day you’ve got a hired killer who thinks you are god. A dog can’t tell a Nazi from a Republican from a Commie from a Democrat and, many times, neither can I.
  • soon I’ll finish this 5th of Puerto Rican rum. in the morning I’ll vomit and shower, drive back in, have a sandwich by 1 p.m., be back in my room by 2, stretched on the bed, waiting for the phone to ring, not answering, my holiday is an evasion, mt reasoning is not.
  • I think that everything should be made available to everybody, and I mean LSD, cocaine, codeine, grass, opium, the works. Nothing on earth available to any man should be confiscated and made unlawful by other men in more seemingly powerful and advantageous positions.
  • Her violence frightened me. She always claimed that I was the jealous one, and I was often jealous, but when I saw things working against me I simply became disgusted and withdrew. Lydia was different. She reacted. She was the Head Cheerleader at the Game of Violence.
  • there is a place in the heart that will never be filled a space and even during the best moments and the greatest times times we will know it we will know it more than ever there is a place in the heart that will never be filled and we will wait and wait in that space.
  • I didn’t like parties.I didn’t know how to dance and people frightened me, especially people at parties. They attempted to be sexy and gay and witty and although they hoped they were good at it, they weren ‘t. They were bad at it. Their trying so hard only made it worse.
  • the last cigarettes are smoked, the loaves are sliced, and lest this be taken for wry sorrow, drown the spider in wine. you are much more than simply dead: I am a dish for your ashes, I am a fist for your vanished air. the most terrible thing about life is finding it gone.
  • Love is a form of prejudice. You love what you need, you love what makes you feel good, you love what is convenient. How can you say you love one person when there are ten thousand people in the world that you would love more if you ever met them? But you’ll never meet them.
  • Never bring a lot of money to where a poor man lives. He can only lose what little he has. On the other hand it is mathematically possible that he might win whatever you bring with you. What you must do, with money and the poor, is never let them get too close to one another.
  • I see men assassinated around me every day. I walk through rooms of the dead, streets of the dead, cities of the dead; men without eyes, men without voices; men with manufactured feelings and standard reactions; men with newspaper brains, television souls and high school ideas.
  • there is enough treachery, hatred violence absurdity in the average human being to supply any given army on any given day and the best at murder are those who preach against it and the best at hate are those who preach love and the best at war finally are those who preach peace
  • I have a face like a washrag. I sing love songs and carry steel. I would rather die than cry. I can’t stand hounds can’t live without them. I hang my head against the white refrigerator and want to scream like the last weeping of life forever but I am bigger than the mountains.
  • I was glad I wasn’t in love, that I wasn’t happy with the world. I like being at odds with everything. People in love often become edgy, dangerous. They lose their sense of perspective. They lose their sense of humor. They become nervous, psychotic bores. They even become killers.
  • nothing’s news. it’s the same old thing in disguise. only one thing comes without a disguise and you only see it once, or maybe never. like getting hit by a freight train. makes us realize that all our moaning about long lost girls in gingham dresses is not so important after all.
  • I was laying in bed one night and I thought ‘I’ll just quit – to hell with it.’ And another little voice inside me said ‘Don’t quit – save that tiny little ember of spark.’ And never give them that spark because as long as you have that spark, you can start the greatest fire again.
  • The whole LSD, STP, marijuana, heroin, hashish, prescription cough medicine crowd suffers from the “Watchtower” itch: you gotta be with us, man, or you’re out, you’re dead. This pitch is a continual and seeming MUST with those who use the stuff. It’s no wonder they keep getting busted.
  • It was sad, it was sad, it was sad. When Betty came back we didn’t sing or laugh, or even argue. We sat drinking in the dark, smoking cigarettes, and when we went to sleep, I didn’t put my feet on her body or she on mine like we used to. We slept without touching. We had both been robbed.
  • i am with the roots of flowers entwined, entombed sending up my passionate blossoms as a flight of rockets and argument; wine churls my throat, above me feet walk upon my brain, monkies fall from the sky clutching photographs of the planets, but i seek only music and the leisure of my pain
  • We do not abandon ship. I say, as corny as it may sound, through the strength and spirit and fire and dare and gamble of a few men in a few ways we can save the carcass of humanity from drowning. No light goes out until it goes out. Let’s fight as men, not rats. Period. No further addition.
  • your letters got sadder. your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all lovers betray. it didn’t help. you said you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and the bridge was over the river and you sat on the crying bench every night and wept for the lovers who had hurt and forgotten you.
  • It was hard for me to believe. When recess was over I sat in class and thought about it. My mother had a hole and my father had a dong that shot juice. How could they have things like that and walk around as if everything was normal, and talk about things, and then do it and not tell anybody?
  • That was the trouble with being a writer, that was the main trouble‚Äîleisure time, excessive leisure time. You had to wait around for the buildup until you could write and while you were waiting you went crazy, and while you were going crazy you drank and the more you drank the crazier you got.
  • beware those quick to praise for they need praise in return beware those who are quick to censor they are afraid of what they do not know beware those who seek constant crowds for they are nothing alone beware the average man the average woman beware their love, their love is average seeks average
  • morning night and noon the traffic moves through and the murder and treachery of friends and lovers and all the people move through you. pain is the joy of knowing the unkindest truth that arrives without warning. life is being alone death is being alone. even the fools weep morning night and noon.
  • dont undress my love you might find a mannequin dont undress the mannequin you might find love. shes long ago forgotten me. hes trying on a new hat and looks more the coquette then ever. she is a child and a mannequin and death. i can’t hate that. she didnt do anything unusual. I only wanted her to.
  • I never understood society. i undersand that it works somehow and that it functions as a reality and that its realities are necessary to keep us from worse realities. but all i sense are that are plenty of police and jails and judges and laws and that what is meant to protect me is breaking me down.
  • I call ’em complaining machines. Things are never right with a guy to them. And man, when you throw that hysteria in there … forget it. I gotta get out, get in the car, and go. Anywhere. Get a cup of coffee somewhere. Anywhere. Anything but another woman. I guess they’re just built different, right?
  • I think a man can keep on drinking for centuries, he’ll never die; especially wine or beer…I like drunkards, man, because drunkards, they come out of it, and they’re sick and they spring back, they spring back and forth…If I hadn’t been a drunkard, I probably would have committed suicide long ago.
  • And if there is anybody out there who is crazy enough to want to become a writer, I’d say go ahead, spit in the eye of the sun, hit those keys, it’s the best madness going, the centuries need help, the species cry for light and gamble and laughter. Give it to them. There are enough words for all of us.
  • Where did all the women come from? The supply was endless. Each one of them was individual, different. Their pussies were different, their kisses were different, their breasts were different, but no man could drink them all, there were too many of them, crossing their legs, driving men mad. What a feast!
  • There is nothing that teaches you more than regrouping after failure and moving on. Yet most people are stricken with fear. They fear failure so much that they fail. They are too conditioned, too used to being told what to do. It begins with the family, runs through school and goes into the business world.
  • When I was young I was depressed all the time. But suicide no longer seemed a possibility in my life. At my age there was very little left to kill. It was good to be old, no matter what they said. It was reasonable that a man had to be at least 50 years old before he could write with anything like clarity.
  • why don’t we go back out there and tell them what happened? because nothing happened except that everybody has been driven insane and stupid by life. in this society there are only two things that count: don’t be caught without money and don’t get caught high on any kind of high. (Night Streets of Madness)
  • I would say that Mickey Mouse has a greater influence on the American public than Shakespeare, Milton, Dante, Rabelais, Shostakovitch, Lenin, and/or Van Gogh. Which says ‘What?’ about the American Public. Disneyland remains the central attraction of Southern California, but the graveyard remains our reality.
  • It was like any other relationship, there was jealousy on both sides, there were split-ups and reconciliations. There were also fragmented moments of great peace and beauty. I often tried to get away from her and she tried to get away from me but it was difficult: Cupid, in his strange way, was really there.
  • Pain is strange. A cat killing a bird, a car accident, a fire…. Pain arrives, BANG, and there it is, it sits on you. It’s real. And to anybody watching, you look foolish. Like you’ve suddenly become an idiot. There’s no cure for it unless you know somebody who understands how you feel, and knows how to help.
  • There’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there isn’t even a tunnel. The best thing I can do is get drunk and listen to classical music. Or sleep and wait for death to get closer. Leaving this will not be a horrible thing. Yet I’m glad, somehow, that I threw my words in the air: confetti, celebrating nothing.
  • I didn’t like anybody in that school. I think they knew that. I think that’s why they disliked me. I didn’t like the way they walked or looked or talked, but I didn’t like my mother or father either. I still had the feeling of being surrounded by white empty space. There was always a slight nausea in my stomach.
  • My dear, Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover. ~ Falsely yours
  • They have no idea that it can be done by a bus driver, a field hand, or a fry cook. They have no idea where it comes from. It comes from pain, damnation and impossibility. The blow to the soul of the gut. It comes from getting burned and seared and slugged. It comes from…new and awful places and the same old places.
  • It was too much. The comfortable people made comfortable jokes about weather and things but I sat mostly silent saying a word or so when necessary a word or so trying to hide from them the fact that I was a fool and feeling terrible And I was numb, numb again, numb again again and again, numbness and pain swelling in me.
  • in the cupboard sits my bottle like a dwarf waiting to scratch out my prayers. I drink and cough like some idiot at a symphony, sunlight and maddened birds are everywhere, the phone rings gamboling its sound against the odds of the crooked sea; I drink deeply and evenly now, I drink to paradise and death and the lie of love.
  • There are no good wars or bad wars. The only thing bad about a war is to lose it. All wars have been fought for a so-called good Cause on both sides. But only the victor’s Cause becomes history’s Noble Cause. It’s not a matter of who is right or who is wrong, it’s a matter of who has the best generals and the better army!
  • I like to change liquor stores frequently because the clerks got to know your habits if you went in night and day and bought huge quantities. I could feel them wondering why I wasn’t dead yet and it made me uncomfortable. They probably weren’t thinking any such thing, but then a man gets paranoid when he has 300 hangovers a year.
  • There’s a small balcony here, the door is open and I can see the lights of the cars on the Harbor Freeway south, they never stop, that roll of lights, on and on. All those people. What are they doing? What are they thinking? We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t.
  • But then if you lied to a man about his talent just because he was sitting across from you, that was the most unforgivable lie of them all, because that was telling him to go on, to continue which was the worst way for a man without real talent to waste his life, finally. But many people did just that, friends and relatives mostly.
  • This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything…just to do nothing at all, very, very important. And how many people do this in modern society? Very few. That’s why they’re all totally mad, frustrated, angry and hateful.
  • I sit here drunk now. I am a series of small victories and large defeats and I am as amazed as any other that I have gotten from there to here without committing murder or being murdered; without having ended up in the madhouse. as I drink alone again tonight my soul despite all the past agony thanks all the gods who were not there for me then.
  • …maybe a damned good night’s sleep will bring me back to a gentle sanity. But at the moment, I look about this room and, like myself, it’s all in disarray: things fallen out of place, cluttered, jumbled, lost, knocked over and I can’t put it straight, don’t want to. Perhaps living through these petty days will get us ready for the dangerous ones.
  • I went over to see Marina two or three or four times a week. I knew as long as I could see the girl I would be all right‚Ķ. Soon after, I got a letter from Fay. She and the child were living in a hippie commune in New Mexico. It was a nice place, she said. Marina would be able to breathe there. She enclosed a little drawing the girl had made for me.
  • Human relationships didn’t work anyhow. Only the first two weeks had any zing, then the participants lost their interest. Masks dropped away and real people began to appear: cranks, imbeciles, the demented, the vengeful, sadists, killers. Modern society had created its own kind and they feasted on each other. It was a duel to the death–in a cesspool.
  • A yet women -good women- frightened me because they eventually wanted your soul, and what was left of mine, I wanted to keep. Basically I craved prostitutes, base women, because they were deadly and hard and made no personal demands. Nothing was lost when they left. Yet at the same time I yearned for a gentle, good woman, despite the overwhelming price.
  • and now sometimes I’m interviewed, they want to hear about life and literature and I get drunk and hold up my cross-eyed, shot, runover de-tailed cat and I say,”look, look at this!” but they don’t understand, they say something like,”you say you’ve been influenced by Celine?” no,” I hold the cat up,”by what happens, by things like this, by this, by this!
  • The human race had always disgusted me. essentially, what made them disgusting was the family-relationship illness, which included marriage, exchange of power and aid, which neighborhood, your district, your city, your county, your state, your nation-everybody grabbing each other’s assholes in the Honeycomb of survival out of a fear-animalistic stupidity.
  • I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn’t have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. I didn’t make for an interesting person. I didn’t want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone.
  • Unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don’t do it. unless the sun inside you is burning your gut, don’t do it. when it is truly time, and if you have been chosen, it will do it by itself and it will keep on doing it until you die or it dies in you. there is no other way. and there never was.
  • Few beautiful women were willing to indicate in public that they belonged to someone. I had known enough women to realize this. I accepted them for what they were and love came hard and very seldom. When it did it was usually for the wrong reasons. One simply became tired of holding back love and let it go because it needed some place to go. Then, usually, there was trouble.
  • 2 p.m. beer nothing matters but flopping on a mattress with cheap dreams and a beer as the leaves die and the horses die and the landladies stare in the halls; brisk the music of pulled shades, a last man’s cave in an eternity of swarm and explosion; nothing but the dripping sink, the empty bottle, euphoria, youth fenced in, stabbed and shaven, taught words propped up to die.
  • Early evening traffic was beginning to clog the avenue with cars. The sun slanted down behind him. Harry glanced at the drivers of the cars. They seemed unhappy. The world was unhappy. People were in the dark. People were terrified and disappointed. People were caught in traps. People were defensive and frantic. They felt as if their lives were being wasted. And they were right.
  • I sit on the couch watching her arrange her long red hair before my bedroom mirror. she pulls her hair up and piles it on top of her head- she lets her eyes look at my eyes- then she drops her hair and lets it fall down in front of her face. we go to bed and I hold her speechlessly from the back my arm around her neck I touch her wrists and hands feel up to her elbows no further.
  • you’ve got to burn straight up and down and then maybe sidewise for a while and have your guts scrambled by a bully and the demonic ladies, you’ve got to run along the edge of madness teetering, you’ve got to starve like a winter alleycat, you’ve go to live with the imbecility of at least a dozen cities, then maybe maybe maybe you might know where you are for a tiny blinking moment.
  • you are on the freeway threading through traffic now, moving both towards something and towards nothing at all as you punch the radio on and get Mozart, which is something, and you will somehow get through the slow days and the busy days and the dull days and the hateful days and the rare days, all both so delightful and so disappointing because we are all so alike and so different.
  • I could scream down 90 mountains to less than dust if only one living human had eyes in the head and heart in the body, but there is no chance, my god, no chance. rat with rat dog with dog hog with hog, play the piano drunk listen to the drunk piano, realize the myth of mercy stand still as even a child’s voice snarls and we have not been fooled, it was only that we wanted to believe.
  • Christmas poem to a man in jail hello Bill Abbott: I appreciate your passing around my books in jail there, my poems and stories. if I can lighten the load for some of those guys with my books, fine. but literature, you know, is difficult for the average man to assimilate (and for the unaverage man too); I don’t like most poetry, for example, so I write mine the way I like to read it.
  • To me, nudity is a joke. I don’t think nude people are very attractive at all. I like my women fully clothed. I like to imagine what might be under there. It might not be the standard thing. Imagine, stripping a woman down, and she has a body like a little submarine. With periscope, propellers, torpedoes. That would be the one for me. I’d marry her right off and be faithful to the end.
  • Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.
  • there’s a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out but I’m too clever, I only let him out at night sometimes when everybody’s asleep. I say, I know that you’re there, so don’t be sad. then I put him back, but he’s singing a little in there, I haven’t quite let him die and we sleep together like that with our secret pact and it’s nice enough to make a man weep, but I don’t weep, do you?
  • Everything was a trap: women, drugs, whiskey, wine, scotch, beer – even beer – cigars, and cigarettes. Traps: Work or no work. Traps: Artistry or no artistry; everything sucked you into some spiderweb. I disdained the use of the needle for the same reason that I disdained some so-called beautiful women – the price was far beyond the measure of the worth. I didn’t want to hustle that hard.
  • And it seems people should not build houses anymore it seems people should stop working and sit in small rooms on second floors under electric lights without shades; it seems there is a lot to forget and a lot not to do and in drugstores, markets, bars, the people are tired, they do not want to move, and I stand there at night and look through this house and the house does not want to be built
  • The dog approached again, cautiously. I found the bologna sandwich, ripped off a chunk, wiped the cheap watery mustard off, then placed it on the sidewalk. The dog walked up to the bit of sandwich, put his nose to it, sniffed, then turned and walked off. This time he didn’t look back. He accelerated down the street. No wonder I had been depressed all my life. I wasn’t getting proper nourishment.
  • I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room… I’ve felt suicidal, I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful … awful beyond all , but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude.
  • It proved you had survived another year with its wars, inflation, unemployment, smog, presidents. It was a grand neurotic gathering of clans: loud drunks, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, screaming children, would-be suicides. And don’t forget indigestion. I wasn’t different from anyone else: There sat the 18-pound bird on my sink, dead, plucked, totally disemboweled. Iris would roast it for me.
  • You have to lay down in the center of the action lay down and wait until it charges then you must get up face it get it before it gets you the whole process is more shy than vulnerable so lay down and wait sometimes it’s ten minutes sometimes it’s years sometimes it never arrives but you can’t rush it push it there’s no way to cheat or get a jump on it you have to lay down lay down and wait like an animal .
  • The problem was you had to keep choosing between one evil or another, and no matter what you chose, they sliced a little more off you, until there was nothing left. At the age of 25 most people were finished. A whole goddamned nation of assholes driving automobiles, eating, having babies, doing everything in the worst way possible, like voting for the presidential candidate who reminded them most of themselves.
  • That moment – to this … may be years in the way they measure, but it’s only one sentence back in my mind – there are so many days when living stops and pulls up and sits and waits like a train on the rails. I pass the hotel at 8 and at 5; there are cats in the alleys and bottles and bums, and I look up at the window and think, I no longer know where you are, and I walk on and wonder where the living goes when it stops.
  • I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go. Suicide? Jesus Christ, just more work. I felt like sleeping for five years but they wouldn’t let me.
  • I once lay in a white hospital for the dying and the dying self, where some god pissed a rain of reason to make things grow only to die, where on my knees I prayed for LIGHT, I prayed for l*i*g*h*t, and praying crawled like a blind slug into the web where threads of wind stuck against my mind and I died of pity for Man, for myself, on a cross without nails, watching in fear as the pig belches in his sty, farts, blinks and eats.
  • I couldn’t get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.
  • Drinking is an emotional thing. It joggles you out of the standardism of everyday life, out of everything being the same. It yanks you out of your body and your mind and throws you against the wall. I have the feeling that drinking is a form of suicide where you’re allowed to return to life and begin all over the next day. It’s like killing yourself, and then you’re reborn. I guess I’ve lived about ten or fifteen thousand lives now.
  • You know the typical crowd, Wow, it’s Friday night, what are you going to do? Just sit there? Well, yeah. Because there’s nothing out there. It’s stupidity. Stupid people mingling with stupid people. Let them stupidify themselves. I’ve never been bothered with the need to rush out into the night. That’s all. Sorry for all the millions, but I’ve never been lonely. I like myself. I’m the best form of entertainment I have.
  • I remembered my New Orleans days, living on two five-cent candy bars a day for weeks at a time in order to have leisure to write. But starvation, unfortunately, didn’t improve art. It only hindered it. A man’s soul was rooted in his stomach. A man could write much better after eating a porterhouse steak and drinking a pint of whiskey than he could ever write after eating a nickel candy bar. The myth of the starving artist was a hoax.
  • Somebody at one of these places asked me: “What do you do? How do you write, create?” You don’t, I told them. You “don’t try”. That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like it’s looks, you make a pet out of it.
  • I will remember the kisses our lips raw with love and how you gave me everything you had and how I offered you what was left of me, and I will remember your small room the feel of you the light in the window your records your books our morning coffee our noons our nights our bodies spilled together sleeping the tiny flowing currents immediate and forever your leg my leg your arm my arm your smile and the warmth of you who made me laugh again.
  • beware the average man the average woman beware their love, their love is average seeks average but there is genius in their hatred there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you to kill anybody not wanting solitude not understanding solitude they will attempt to destroy anything that differs from their own not being able to create art they will not understand art they will consider their failure as creators only as a failure of the world
  • I was naturally a loner, content just to live with a woman, eat with her, sleep with her, walk down the street with her. I didn’t want conversation, or to go anywhere except the racetrack or the boxing matches. I didn’t understand t.v. I felt foolish paying money to go into a movie theatre and sit with other people to share their emotions. Parties sickened me. I hated the game-playing, the dirty play, the flirting, the amateur drunks, the bores.
  • There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower. What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death. They don’t honor their own lives … their minds are full of cotton. They swallow God without thinking, they swallow country without thinking. Soon they forget how to think, they let others think for them…. Most people’s deaths are a sham. There’s nothing left to die.
  • I lapsed into my pathetic cut-off period. Often with humans, both good and bad, my senses simply shut off, they get tired, I give up. I am polite. I nod. I pretend to understand because I don’t want anybody to be hurt. That is the one weakness that has lead me into the most trouble. Trying to be kind to others I often get my soul shredded into a kind of spiritual pasta. No matter. My brain shuts off. I listen. I respond. And they are too dumb to know that I am not there.
  • We are Born like this Into this Into these carefully mad wars Into the sight of broken factory windows of emptiness Into bars where people no longer speak to each other Into fist fights that end as shootings and knifings Born into this Into hospitals which are so expensive that it’s cheaper to die Into lawyers who charge so much it’s cheaper to plead guilty Into a country where the jails are full and the madhouses closed Into a place where the masses elevate fools into rich heroes
  • This is a world where everybody’s gotta do something. Ya know, somebody laid down this rule that everybody’s gotta do something, they gotta be something. You know, a dentist, a glider pilot, a narc, a janitor, a preacher, all that . . . Sometimes I just get tired of thinking of all the things that I don’t wanna do. All the things that I don’t wanna be. Places I don’t wanna go, like India, like getting my teeth cleaned. Save the whale, all that, I don’t understand that . . .
  • ..few writers like other writers’ works. The only time they like them is when they are dead or if they have been for a long time. Writers only like to sniff their own turds. I am one of those. I don’t even like to talk to writers, look at them or worse, listen to them. And the worst is to drink with them, they slobber all over themselves, really look piteous, look like they are searching for the wing of the mother. I’d rather think about death than about other writers. Far more pleasant.
  • there was something about that city, though it didn’t let me feel guilty that I had no feeling for the things so many others needed. it let me alone. sitting up in my bed the lights out, hearing the outside sounds, lifting my cheap bottle of wine, letting the warmth of the grape enter me as I heard the rats moving about the room, I preferred them to humans. being lost, being crazy maybe is not so bad if you can be that way undisturbed. New Orleans gave me that. nobody ever called my name.
  • Hell, I’d even failed with women. Three wives. Nothing really wrong each time. It all got destroyed by petty bickering. Railing about nothing. Getting pissed-off over anything and everything. Day by day, year by year, grinding. Instead of helping each other you just sliced away, picked at this or that. Goading. Endless goading. It became a cheap contest. And once you got into it, it became habitual. You couldn’t seem to get out. You almost didn’t want to get out. And then you did get out. All the way.
  • I should think that many of our poets, the honest ones, will confess to having no manifesto. It is a painful confession but the art of poetry carries its own powers without having to break them down into critical listings. I do not mean that poetry should be raffish and irresponsible clown tossing off words into the void. But the very feeling of a good poem carries its own reason for being… Art is its own excuse, and it’s either Art or it’s something else. It’s either a poem or a piece of cheese.
  • The Laughing Heart your life is your life don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. be on the watch. there are ways out. there is a light somewhere. it may not be much light but it beats the darkness. be on the watch. the gods will offer you chances. know them. take them. you can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. and the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. your life is your life. know it while you have it. you are marvelous the gods wait to delight in you.
  • and when love came to us twice and lied to us twice we decided to never love again that was fair fair to us and fair to love itself. we ask for no mercy or no miracles; we are strong enough to live and to die and to kill flies, attend the boxing matches, go to the racetrack, live on luck and skill, get alone, get alone often, and if you can’t sleep alone be careful of the words you speak in your sleep; and ask for no mercy no miracles; and don’t forget: time is meant to be wasted, love fails and death is useless.
  • The street to my left was backed up with traffic and I watched the people waiting patiently in the cars. There was almost always a man and a women, staring straight ahead, not talking. It was, finally, for everyone, a matter of waiting. You waited and you waited- for the hospital, the doctor, the plumber, the madhouse, the jail, papa death himself. First the signal red, then the signal was green. The citizens of the world ate food and watched t.v. and worried about their jobs or lack of the same, while they waited.
  • alone with everybody the flesh covers the bone and they put a mind in there and sometimes a soul, and the women break vases against the walls and them men drink too much and nobody finds the one but they keep looking crawling in and out of beds. flesh covers the bone and the flesh searches for more than flesh. there’s no chance at all: we are all trapped by a singular fate. nobody ever finds the one. the city dumps fill the junkyards fill the madhouses fill the hospitals fill the graveyards fill nothing else fills.
  • I needed a vacation. I needed 5 women. I needed to get the wax out of my ears. My car needed an oil change. I’d failed to file my damned income tax. One of the stems had broken off of my reading glasses. There were ants in my apartment. I needed to get my teeth cleaned. My shoes were run down at the heels. I had insomnia. My auto insurance had expired. I cut myself every time i shaved. I hadn’t laughed in 6 years. I tended to worry when there was nothing to worry about. And when there was something to worry about, i got drunk.
  • For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stonewritten. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
  • Are people crazy? People waited all their lives. They waited to live, they waited to die. They waited in line to buy toilet paper. They waited in line for money. And if they didn’t have any money they waited in longer lines. You waited to go to sleep and then you waited to awaken. You waited to get married and you waited to get divorced. You waited for it to rain, you waited for it to stop. You waited to eat and then you waited to eat again. You waited in a shrink’s office with a bunch of psychos and you wondered if you were one.
  • There’s nothing to stop a man from writing unless that man stops himself. If a man truly desires to write, then he will. Rejection and ridicule will only strengthen him. And the longer he is held back the stronger he will become, like a mass of rising water against a dam. There is no losing in writing, it will make your toes laugh as you sleep, it will make you stride like a tiger, it will fire the eye and put you face to face with death. You will die a fighter, you will be honored in hell. The luck of the word. Go with it, send it.
  • Writing is something that you don’t know how to do. You sit down and it’s something that happens, or it may not happen. So, how can you teach anybody how to write? It’s beyond me, because you yourself don’t even know if you’re going to be able to. I’m always worried, well, you know, every time I go upstairs with my wine bottle. Sometimes I’ll sit at that typewriter for fifteen minutes, you know. I don’t go up there to write. The typewriter’s up there. If it doesn’t start moving, I say, well this could be the night that I hit the dust.
  • I could see the road ahead of me. I was poor and I was going to stay poor. But I didn’t particularly want money. I didn’t know what I wanted. Yes, I did. I wanted someplace to hide out, someplace where one didn’t have to do anything. The thought of being something didn’t only appall me, it sickened me . . . To do things, to be part of family picnics, Christmas, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Mother’s Day . . . was a man born just to endure those things and then die? I would rather be a dishwasher, return alone to a tiny room and drink myself to sleep.
  •  
  • There were always men looking for jobs in America. There were always all these usable bodies. And I wanted to be a writer. Almost everybody was a writer. Not everybody thought they could be a dentist or an automobile mechanic but everybody knew they could be a writer. Of those fifty guys in the room, probably fifteen of them thought they were writers. Almost everybody used words and could write them down, i.e., almost everybody could be a writer. But most men, fortunately, aren’t writers, or even cab drivers, and some men – many men – unfortunately aren’t anything.
  • Women: I liked the colors of their clothing; the way they walked; the cruelty in some faces; now and then the almost pure beauty in another face, totally and enchantingly female. They had it over us: they planned much better and were better organized. While men were watching professional football or drinking beer or bowling, they, the women, were thinking about us, concentrating, studying, deciding – whether to accept us, discard us, exchange us, kill us or whether simply to leave us. In the end it hardly mattered; no matter what they did, we ended up lonely and insane.
  • Pull a string, a puppet moves … each man must realize that it can all disappear very quickly: the cat, the woman, the job, the front tire, the bed, the walls, the room; all our necessities including love, rest on foundations of sand – and any given cause, no matter how unrelated: the death of a boy in Hong Kong or a blizzard in Omaha … can serve as your undoing. all your chinaware crashing to the kitchen floor, your girl will enter and you’ll be standing, drunk, in the center of it and she’ll ask: my god, what’s the matter? and you’ll answer: I don’t know, I don’t know.
  • little sun little moon little dog and a little to eat and a little to love and a little to live for in a little room filled with little mice who gnaw and dance and run while I sleep waiting for a little death in the middle of a little morning in a little city in a little state my little mother dead my little father dead in a little cemetery somewhere. I have only a little time to tell you this: watch out for little death when he comes running but like all the billions of little deaths it will finally mean nothing and everything: all your little tears burning like the dove, wasted.
  • There may not be a hell, but those who judge may create one. I think people are over-taught. They are over-taught everything. You have to find out by what happens to you, how you will react. I’ll have to use a strange term here… “good.” I don’t know where it comes from, but I feel that there’s an ultimate strain of goodness born in each of us. I don’t believe in God, but I believe in this “goodness” like a tube running through our bodies. It can be nurtured. It’s always magic, when on a freeway packed with traffic, a stranger makes room for you to change lanes… it gives you hope.
  • After dinner or lunch or whatever it was — with my crazy 12-hour night I was no longer sure what was what — I said, “Look, baby, I’m sorry, but don’t you realize that this job is driving me crazy? Look, let’s give it up. Let’s just lay around and make love and take walks and talk a little. Let’s go to the zoo. Let’s look at animals. Let’s drive down and look at the ocean. It’s only 45 minutes. Let’s play games in the arcades. Let’s go to the races, the Art Museum, the boxing matches. Let’s have friends. Let’s laugh. This kind of life like everybody else’s kind of life: it’s killing us.
  • I like women who haven’t lived with too many men. I don’t expect virginity but I simply prefer women who haven’t been rubbed raw by experience. There is a quality about women who choose men sparingly; it appears in their walk in their eyes in their laughter and in their gentle hearts. Women who have had too many men seem to choose the next one out of revenge rather than with feeling. When you play the field selfishly everything works against you: one can’t insist on love or demand affection. You’re finally left with whatever you have been willing to give which often is: nothing.

 

 

Bernard Haisch (quotes)

  • Consciousness creates reality.
  • We only understand what we are prepared to understand.
  • Playing the game is far more satisfying than reading the rules.
  • Advances are made by answering questions. Discoveries are made by questioning answers.
  • It is not matter that creates an illusion of consciousness, but consciousness that creates an illusion of matter.
  • We understand the rules because we made them up—not in the state we currently find ourselves as human beings, of course, but back when we were literally one with God, before God decided to temporarily become us.
  • The laws of relativity are clear on this point. If you could move at the speed of light, you would see all of space shrink to a single point, and all of time collapse to an instant. In the reference frame of light, there is no space and time.
  • It will, ultimately, become all that it can be; it will fulfill its potential and thereby enrich God. Every experience of every consciousness will return to the infinite intelligence from which it sprang, but transformed by having lived in and experienced the universe.
  • Cut through the ridicule and search for factual information in most of the skeptical commentary and one is usually left with nothing. This is not surprising. After all, how can one rationally object to a call for scientific examination of evidence? Be skeptical of the skeptics.
  • I offer a genuine insight into how you can, and should, be a rational, science-believing human being and at the same time know that you are also an immortal spiritual being, a spark of God. I propose a worldview that offers a way out of the hate and fear-driven violence engulfing the planet.
  • As science integrates the in-depth knowledge of the physical world accumulated over the past three centuries, it will be channeled into a new and exciting line of inquiry that acknowledges the expanded reality of consciousness as a creative force in the universe and the spiritual creative power embodied in our own minds.
  • Christianity, as it had played out over the past two millennia, meant power disguised as principle, guilt imposed on the susceptible, irrationality run amok, and the suppression of free inquiry. It meant hypocrisy and self-righteousness, dogmatism, and superstition. It meant monks flogging themselves and soldiers wearing crosses and the auto-da-fe of the Inquisition.
  • Irrationality is the opposite of rationality: it means unreasonable, unfounded, ill-conceived. Irrationality is reason, practiced badly. A trance brought about by ecstatic dancing or drumming is certainly not rational, but it isn’t irrational either. It’s non-rational—it belongs to another category of experience entirely. Indeed, much of its value lies quite precisely in the fact that it takes us on a holiday away from reason.
  • Ultimately, however, there is no absolute good or bad, no timeless right or wrong, only that which does or does not advance our (i.e. God’s) existential purpose. Rules of proper behavior depend upon time and place, because the consequences of the things we do largely depend on the context in which they are done. Consider how the sex act can be a crime or a consummation of love, depending solely on the context in which it is performed.
  • The single difference between the theory I propose and the ideas current in modern astrophysics is that I assume that an infinite conscious intelligence preexists. You cannot get away from the preexistence of something, and whether that is an ensemble of physical laws generating infinite random universes or an infinite conscious intelligence is something present-day science cannot resolve, and indeed one view is not more rational than the other.
  • Ultimately it is consciousness that is the origin of matter, energy, and the laws of nature in this universe and all others that may exist. And the purpose is for God to experience his potential. God’s ideas and abilities become God’s experience in the life of every sentient being. What greater purpose could there be for each of us humans than that of creating God’s experience? God experiences the richness of his potential through us because we are the incarnations of him in the physical realm.
  • It is ridiculous to think of the creation of the world as occurring on a certain date—say, in the autumn of 4004 B.C.E.! It is equally ridiculous to describe a creator as a vengeful, adoration-hungry patriarch who lives in the clouds and whose scowling, bearded face is guaranteed to frighten children and intimidate the pious. And indeed, it is just as ridiculous to go to the other extreme and postulate a quantum creator-god who is discernible only as a sort of fuzzy cosmic hologram of all there is.
  • Was Christ God incarnate? Yes, of course, but so are we all. This in no way detracts from the divinity of Christ, who must have been a very advanced incarnation of God. And for those Christians who feel uncomfortable with the notion that we are all incarnations of God, and therefore brothers and sisters of Christ, let me quote John 14:12: “In all truth I tell you, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself, and will perform even greater works, because I am going to the Father.
  • What does have absolute meaning, however, is the way in which we treat others, including animals. We shape our universe by the love or malice, the compassion or indifference, we bring to our relationships with our fellow beings. Under the God Theory, the requirement that you treat others with respect and compassion is, for all practical purposes, a moral absolute, since all beings participate in the infinite consciousness that created them. Other rules of morality may be judged by how well they do or do not serve the common good, which is not the same at all times and all places.

 

 

Nicholas of Cusa (quotes)

  • God says to man: ‘Be thou thyself, and I shall be thine.’
  • Thus, while I am borne to loftiest heights, I behold Thee as Infinity
  • Divinity is in all things in such a way that all things are in divinity.
  • In creating the world, God used arithmetic, geometry, and likewise astronomy.
  • Therefore, in the Beginning, which is Truth, all things are Eternal Truth itself
  • Love is subsequent to knowledge and to the thing known, for nothing unknown is loved.
  • All we know of the truth is that the absolute truth, such as it is, is beyond our reach.
  • God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
  • All we know of the truth is that the absolute truth, such as it is, is beyond our reach.
  • All things are in the intended endpoint, and this mode of being is called will or desire.
  • The fact is that man has no longing for any other nature but desires only to be perfect in his own.
  • You will not find another faith, but rather one and the same single religion presupposed everywhere.
  • Since beings desire to exist, because to exist is a good thing: they desire the One without which they cannot exist.
  • Even though you acknowledge diverse religions, you all presuppose in all of this diversity the one, which you call wisdom
  • Of the inhabitants then of worlds other than our own we can know still less having no standards by which to appraise them.
  • For a persistent and continued ascent to [the Principle and Source of] life is the constituent element of increased happiness.
  • In humility alone lies true greatness, and knowledge and wisdom are profitable only in so far as our lives are governed by them.
  • An external thing that is knowable [is knowable] by means of something internal that is consubstantial [with the rational soul].
  • I f full knowledge about the very base of our existence could be described as a circle, the best we can do is to arrive at a polygon.
  • In God, absolute unity is absolute multiplicity, absolute identity is absolute diversity; absolute actuality is absolute potentiality.
  • Time is to eternity as an image is to its exemplar, and those things which are temporal bear a resemblance to those things which are eternal.
  • That that which is neither true nor truthlike does not exist. Now, whatever exists, exists otherwise in something else than it exists in itself.
  • For all the [body’s] members seek nothing except inseparable union with the intellect, as with their beginning, ultimate good, and everlasting life.
  • Through itself the soul arrives at all harmony that is perceptible in otherness-just as through what is internal the soul arrives at what is external.
  • In every science certain things must be accepted as first principles if the subject matter is to be understood; and these first postulates rest upon faith.
  • Nicholas of Cusa On learned ignorance: a translation and an appraisal of De docta ignorantia. Book by Nicholas of Cusa, translated by Jasper Hopkins, 1981.
  • I am a -living shadow and Thou the Truth… Therefore, my God, Thou art alike shadow and Truth; Thou art alike the image and the Exemplar of myself and all men.
  • With the senses man measures perceptible things, with the intellect he measures intelligible things, and he attains unto supra-intelligible things transcendently.
  • There can only be one wisdom. For if it were possible that there be several wisdoms, then these would have to be from one. Namely, unity is prior to all plurality.
  • I see, Lord, through Thine infinite mercy, that Thou art Infinity encompassing all things. Nothing exists outside Thee, and all things -in Thee are not other than Thee
  • [In that vision] nothing is seen other than Thyself, [for Thou] art Thyself the object of Thyself (for Thou seest, and art That which is seen, and art the sight as well)
  • Nor is the darkness of colour a proof of the earth’s baseness; for the brightness of the sun, which is visible to us, would not be perceived by anyone who might be in the sun.
  • The rational is apprehended through the intellect, however, the intellect is not found in the region of the rational; the intellect is as the eye and the rational as the colors.
  • There will be a machina mundi whose centre, so to speak, is everywhere, whose circumference is nowhere, for God is its circumference and centre and He is everywhere and nowhere.
  • But if you search further, you find in yourself nothing similar to God, but rather you affirm that God stands above all this as cause, origin, and the light of life of your intellective soul.
  • R eason strives for knowledge and yet this natural striving is not adequate to the knowledge of the Essence of God, but only to the knowledge that God … is beyond all conception and knowledge.
  • When Eternity is considered to be the Beginning, then our speaking of the Beginning of the Begun is nothing but our speaking of the Eternity of the Eternal or our speaking of the Eternity of the Begun.
  • Thus the Essence is triune, and yet there are not three essences therein, since It is most simple. The plurality of these three is both plurality and unity, and their unity is both unity and plurality.
  • And when I behold Thee as absolute Infinity, to whom is befitting neither the name of creating Creator nor of creatable Creator-then indeed I begin to behold Thee unveiled, and to enter into the garden of delights!
  • Otherness cannot be a form. For to alter is to deform rather than to form. Therefore, that which is seen in different things can also be seen in and of itself without otherness, since otherness did not give being to it.
  • Within itself the soul sees all things more truly than as they exist in different things outside itself. And the more it goes out unto other things in order to know them, the more it enters into itself in order to know itself.
  • All visible things would not claim as their king some color of their region, which is actually among the visible things of this region, but rather would say, he is the highest possible beauty of the most lucid and perfect color.
  • For reason’s measurements, which attain unto temporal things, do not attain unto things that are free from time-just as hearing does not attain unto whatever is not-audible, even though these things exist and are unattainable by hearing.
  • For when we say that what is different is different, we affirm that what is different is the same as itself. For what is different can be different only through the Absolute Same, through which all that is is both the same as itself and other than another.
  • Nothing could be more beneficial for even the most zealous searcher for knowledge than his being in fact most learned in that very ignorance which is peculiarly his own; and the better a man will have known his own ignorance, the greater his learning will be.
  • A given circle cannot be so true that a truer one cannot be found; and the movement of a sphere at one moment is never precisely equal to its movement at another, nor does it ever describe two circles similar and equal, even if from appearances the opposite may seem true.
  • Number, in consequence, includes all things that are capable of comparison. It is not then in quantity only that number produces proportion; it produces it in all things that are capable of agreement and differences in any way at all, whether substantially or accidentally.
  • Just as all motion is from an unmovable cause, so everything divisible is from an indivisible cause. However, this visible, corporeal world is, assuredly, of a divisible nature, since what is corporeal is divisible. Therefore, this world is from an earlier, indivisible Cause.
  • The intellect alone has an eye for viewing an essence, which it cannot see except in the true Cause, which is the Fount of all desire. Moreover, since all things seek to exist, then in all things there is desire from the Fount-of-desire, wherein being and desire coincide in the Same.
  • Every angle acknowledges that it is a likeness of true angularity, for [each angle] is angle not insofar as angle exists in itself but insofar as angle exists in something else, viz., in a surface. And so, true angularity is present in creatable and depictable angles as in a likeness of itself.
  • Lord, my God, … I see Thee to be ‘infinity Itself, wherefore nothing is alien to Thee, nothing differing from Thee, nothing opposed to Thee. For the Infinite allows no otherness from Itself, since, being Infinity, -nothing exists outside It: absolute Infinity includes and contains all things.
  • Lord, my God, … I see Thee to be ‘infinity Itself, wherefore nothing is alien to Thee, nothing differing from Thee, nothing opposed to Thee. For the Infinite allows no otherness from Itself, since, being Infinity, -nothing exists outside It: absolute Infinity includes and contains all things.
  • It has been asserted that there is a separate species on the earth to correspond with each one of the stars. Now if the earth provides in each species a focus for the action of each star, why may not a similar provision be made among other heavenly bodies that are subject to the action of their fellows?
  • Paul indeed wanted to reveal the unknown God to the philosophers and then affirms of Him, that no human intellect can conceive Him. Therefore, God is revealed therein, that one knows that every intellect is too small to make itself a figuration or concept of Him. However, he names him God, or in Greek, theos.
  • For our intellectual spirit has the power of fire in itself. For no other purpose is it sent by God to the earth than that it glow and grow into a flame. When it is excited by admiration, then it grows, just as if the wind entering into a fire excited its potential to actuality. If we apprehend the works of God, we marvel at eternal wisdom.
  • It is you, O God, who is being sought in various religions in various ways, and named with various names. For you remain as you are, to all incomprehensible and inexpressible. When you will graciously grant it then sword, jealous hatred and evil will cease and all will come to know that there is but one religion in the variety of religious rites.
  • You are therefore able to run on this path, on which God is found above all vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell, speech, sense, rationality, and intellect. It is found as none of these, but rather above everything as God of gods and King of all kings. Indeed, the King of the world of the intellect is the King of kings and Lord of lords in the universe.
  • Life and perfection, joy and repose and whatever all the senses desire, lie in the distinguishing spirit, and from it they have everything that they have. Even if the organs lose in power and the life in them decreases in activity, it does not decrease in the distinguishing spirit, from which they receive the same life, when the fault or infirmity is removed.
  • Hence, in Thee, who art Love, the lover -is not one thing and the loved another, and the bond between them a third, but they are one and the same-Thou, Thyself, my God. Since, then, in Thee the loved is one with the lover, and being loved [is one] with loving, this bond of coincidence is an essential bond. For there is nothing in Thee that is not Thy very Essence.
  • There are not many beginnings but there is a single Beginning, prior to multitude. But if you were to say that the beginnings are plural apart from their partaking of the One, that statement would self-destruct. For, surely, these plural beginnings would be both alike, by virtue of their not partaking of the One, and not alike, by virtue of their not partaking of the One.
  • A line partakes of the simplicity of a point more than does a surface; and a surface [partakes thereof more] than does a material object-as was evident. From this consideration of a point and a material object elevate yourself unto a likeness of True Being and of the universe; and by means of [this] quite clear symbolism [of a point] make a conjecture about what has been said.
  • Those who think that wisdom is nothing other than that which is comprehensible by the understanding, that happiness is nothing else than what they can attain, are quite far from the true eternal and infinite wisdom. The highest wisdom consists in this, to know …how That which is unattainable [by the intellect] may be reached or attained in a manner beyond [intellectual] attainment.
  • If that one is already a great artist, who knows how to educe from a small piece of wood the face of a king or of a queen, an ant or a camel, how great then is the mastery which can form as actuality everything which is in all potentiality? Therefore, God, who is able to produce from the most minute piece of matter the similitude of all forms which can be in this world and in infinitely many worlds, is of admirable subtlety.
  • If, therefore, man has come into the world to search for God and, if he has found Him, to adhere to Him and to find repose in adhering to Him-man cannot search for Him and attain Him in this sensible and corporeal world, since God is spirit rather than body, and cannot be attained in intellectual abstraction, since one is able to conceive nothing similar to God, as he asserts-how can one, therefore, search for Him in order to find Him?
  • Thou art merciful; when all my endeavour is turned toward Thee because all Thy endeavour is turned toward me; when I look unto Thee alone with all my attention, nor ever turn aside the eyes of my mind, because Thou dost enfold me with Thy constant regard; when I direct my love toward Thee alone because Thou, who art Love’s self, hast turned Thee toward me alone. And what, Lord, is my life, save that embrace wherein Thy delightsome sweetness doth so lovingly enfold me?
  • The world has no circumference. It would certainly have a circumference if it had a centre, in which case it would contain within itself its own beginning and end; and that would mean that there was some other thing which imposed a limit to the world – another being existing in space outside the world. All of these conclusions are false. Since, then, the world cannot be enclosed within a material circumference and centre, it is unintelligible without God as its centre and circumference.
  • Those, however, who saw that one cannot attain wisdom and perennial intellectual life, unless it be given through the gift of grace, and that the goodness of the Almighty God is so great that He hears those who invoke His name, and they gain salvation, became humble, acknowledging that they are ignorant, and directed their life as the life of one desiring eternal wisdom. And that is the life of the virtuous, who proceed in the desire for the other life, which is commended by the saints.
  • Life, as it exists on Earth in the form of men, animals and plants, is to be found, let us suppose in a high form in the solar and stellar regions. Rather than think that so many stars and parts of the heavens are uninhabited and that this earth of ours alone is peopled – and that with beings perhaps of an inferior type – we will suppose that in every region there are inhabitants, differing in nature by rank and all owing their origin to God, who is the center and circumference of all stellar regions
  • From one individual was multiplied the many people who inhabit the earth’s surface. And even if that intellectual spirit, sown in earth and swallowed up in shadow, does not see the light and the source of his beginning, nevertheless, you created along with him everything through which he, kindled by wonder at those things which he contacts by the senses, can sometimes lift the eyes of his mind to you, the Creator of all, and can be reunited to you in highest love and so can finally return to his source with joy
  • We see that God has implanted in all things a natural desire to exist with the fullest measure of existence that is compatible with their particular nature. To this end they are endowed with suitable faculties and activities; and by means of these there is in them a discernment that is natural and in keeping with the purpose of their knowledge, which ensures their natural inclination serving its purpose and being able to reach its fulfilment in that object towards which it is attracted by the weight of its own nature.
  • I behold Thee, 0 Lord my God, in a kind of mental trance, … Thus, while I am borne to loftiest heights, I behold Thee as Infinity…  And when I behold Thee as absolute Infinity, to whom is befitting neither the name of creating Creator nor of creatable Creator-then indeed I begin to behold Thee unveiled, and to enter into the garden of delights! … [In that vision] nothing is seen other than Thyself, [for Thou] art Thyself the object of Thyself (for Thou seest, and art That which is seen, and art the sight as well) .
  • The universe has no circumference, for if it had a center and a circumference there would be some and some thing beyond the world, suppositions which are wholly lacking in truth. Since, therefore, it is impossible that the universe should be enclosed within a corporeal center and corporeal boundary, it is not within our power to understand the universe, whose center and circumference are God. And though the universe cannot be infinite, nevertheless it cannot be conceived as finite since there are no limits within which it could be confined.
  • You know how the divine Simplicity enfolds all things. Mind is the image of this enfolding Simplicity. If, then, you called this divine Simplicity infinite Mind, it will be the exemplar of our mind. If you called the divine mind the totality of the truth of things, you will call our mind the totality of the assimilation of things, so that it may be a totality of ideas. In the divine Mind conception is the production of things; in our mind conception is the knowledge of things. If the divine Mind is absolute Being, then its conception is the creation of beings; and conception in the human mind is the assimilation of beings. Nicholas of Cusa
  • J ust as any knowledge of the taste of something we have never actually tasted is quite empty until we do taste it, so the taste of this wisdom cannot be acquired by hearsay but by one’s actually touching it with his internal sense, and then he will bear witness not of what he has heard but what he has experientially tasted in himself. To know of the many descriptions of love which the saints have left us without knowing the taste of love is nothing other than a certain emptiness. Thus it is that it is not enough for him who seeks after eternal wisdom to merely read about these things, but it is absolutely necessary that once he discovers where it is by his understanding he make it his very own.
  • Now I behold as in a mirror, in an icon, in a riddle, life eternal, for that is naught other than that blessed regard wherewith Thou never ceasest most lovingly to behold me, yea, even the secret places of my soul. With Thee, to behold is to give life; ’tis unceasingly to impart sweetest love of Thee; ’tis to inflame me to love of Thee by love’s imparting, and to feed me by inflaming, and by feeding to kindle my yearning, and by kindling to make me drink of gladness, and by drinking to infuse in me a fountain of life, and by infusing to make it increase and endure. ‘Tis to cause me to share Thine immortality. . . . For it is the absolute maximum of every rational desire, than which a greater cannot be.
  • Wisdom is not to be found in the art of oratory, or in great books, but in a withdrawal from these sensible things and in a turning to the most simple and infinite forms. You will learn how to receive it into a temple purged from all vice, and by fervent love to cling to it until you may taste it and see how sweet That is which is all sweetness. Once this has been tasted, all things which you now consider as important will appear as vile, and you will be so humbled that no arrogance or other vice will remain in you. Once having tasted this wisdom, you will inseparably adhere to it with a chaste and pure heart. You will choose rather to forsake this world and all else that is not of this wisdom, and living with unspeakable happiness you will die.
  • T hat wisdom (which all men by their very nature desire to know and consequently seek after with such great affection of mind) is known in no other way than that it is higher than all knowledge and utterly unknowable and unspeakable in all language. It is unintelligible to all understanding, immeasurable by all measure, improportionable by every proportion, incomparable by all comparison, infigurable by all figuration, unformable by all. formation, … imimaginable by all imagination, … inapprehensible in all apprehension and unaffirmable in all affirmation, undeniable in all negation, indoubtable in ail doubt, inopinionable in all opinion; and because in all speech it is inexpressible, there can be no limit to the means of expressing it, being incognitable in all cognition…
  • Therefore, it is you, the giver of life and being, who seem to be sought in the different rites by different ways and are named with different names, because as you are you remain unknown and ineffable to all. For you who are infinite power are none of those things which you have created, nor can a creature grasp the concept of your infinity since there is no proportion between the finite and the infinite. But you, almighty God, who are invisible to every mind, are able to show yourself as visible to whom you will and in the way in which you can be grasped. Therefore, do not hide yourself any longer, O Lord; be merciful and show your face, and all peoples will be saved who are no longer able to forsake the source of life and its sweetness when they have had even a little foretaste of them. For no one withdraws from you unless he does not know you.

 

 

Hermann Hesse (quotes)

  • Solitude is independence.
  • Your soul is the whole world.
  • In the beginning was the myth.
  • Love is stronger than violence.
  • The truth is lived, not taught.
  • Happiness is love, nothing else.
  • The tree does not die, it waits.
  • Om is the bow, the arrow is soul.
  • Is not every life, every work fine?
  • I can think. I can wait. I can fast.
  • Faith is stronger than so-called reality.
  • There is a miracle in every new beginning
  • Every experience has its element of magic.
  • Knowledge can communicated but not wisdom.
  • Never is a man wholly a saint or a sinner.
  • Words can not express the joy of new life.
  • Friendship is identification and difference
  • In my brain were stored a thousand pictures.
  • The opposite of every truth is just as true.
  • If I know what love is, it is because of you.
  • The art of love-giving and taking become one.
  • As a body everyone is single, as a soul never.
  • Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom.
  • Abraxas was the god who was both god and devil.
  • What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
  • Each man’s life represents a road toward himself.
  • Only the ideas that we really live have any value.
  • a person is never entirely holy or entirely sinful.
  • Love of God is not always the same as love of good.
  • A mere nothing suffices — and the lightning strikes.
  • The cup was emptied and would never be filled again.
  • You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live.
  • You must find your dream, then the way becomes easy.
  • You have to try the impossible to achieve the possible
  • Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.
  • That life is difficult, I have often bitterly realized.
  • There is no reality except the one contained within us.
  • Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.
  • I cannot tell my story without reaching a long way back.
  • I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
  • We create gods and struggle with them, and they bless us.
  • Art is the contemplation of the world in a state of grace.
  • Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.
  • madness, in a higher sense, is the beginning of all wisdom
  • When the suffering becomes acute enough, one goes forward.
  • The true profession of a man is to find his way to himself.
  • The truth has a million faces, but there is only one truth.
  • The voices of all creatures are in the voices of the river.
  • Good that you ask. You should always ask, always have doubts.
  • For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers.
  • All higher humor begins with ceasing to take oneself seriously.
  • I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me.
  • Nothing was, nothing will be, everything has reality and presence
  • Each man had only one genuine vocation to find the way to himself.
  • Only within yourself exists that other reality for which you long.
  • People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
  • Were not the gods forms created like me and you, mortal, transient?
  • Without a mother, one cannot love. Without a mother, one cannot die.
  • The world, as it is now, wants to die, wants to perish — and it will.
  • When two cultures collide is the only time when true suffering exists.
  • Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.
  • Happiness is love, nothing else. A man who is capable of love is happy.
  • Making music together is the best way for two people to become friends.
  • When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane.
  • A magic dwells in each beginning, protecting us, telling us how to live.
  • Loneliness is the way by which destiny endeavors to lead man to himself.
  • To achieve the possible, we must attempt the impossible again and again.
  • Yes, I am going into the woods; I am going into the unity of all things.
  • Youth ends when egotism does; maturity begins when one lives for others.
  • All men of goodwill have this in common – that our works put us to shame.
  • He had loved and he had found himself. Most people love to lose themselves.
  • I have always thirsted for knowledge, I have always been full of questions.
  • All life was a breath exhaled by God. All dying was a breath inhaled by God.
  • Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.
  • The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.
  • Writing is good, thinking is better. Cleverness is good, patience is better.
  • If a man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do.
  • Every healthy person must have a goal in life and that life must have content.
  • I felt knowledge and the unity of the world circulate in me like my own blood.
  • No permanence is ours, we are a wave that flows to fit whatever form it finds.
  • Siddhartha stopped fighting his fate this very hour, and he stopped suffering.
  • Perhaps people like us cannot love. Ordinary people can – that is their secret.
  • The river taught us how to listen with a silent heart, with a waiting open soul.
  • Who travels far will often see things Far removed from what was believed as Truth.
  • I am much inclined to live from my rucksack, and let my trousers fray as they like.
  • Often it is the most deserving people who cannot help loving those who destroy them.
  • How foolish to wear oneself out in vain longing for warmth! Solitude is independence.
  • That seems to be the way of things. Everyone takes, everyone gives. Life is like that.
  • A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening…
  • lucid and quiet his voice hovered above the listeners, like a light, like a starry sky.
  • I will no longer mutilate and destroy myself in order to find a secret behind the ruins.
  • Love is like death. It is fulfillment and an evening after which nothing more may follow.
  • destiny alongside one’s external fate, then my life has been neither empty nor worthless.
  • Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
  • What he had not learned, however, was this: to find contentment in himself and his own life
  • But it’s a poor fellow who can’t take his pleasure without asking other people’s permission.
  • I hope death will be a great happiness, a happiness as great as that of love, fulfilled love
  • Those who cannot think or take responsibility for themselves need, and clamor for, a leader.
  • Beautiful was this world, looking at it thus, without searching, thus simply, thus childlike.
  • Oh, love isn’t there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure.
  • One can beg, buy, be presented with and find love in the streets, but it can never be stolen.
  • Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.
  • Meaning and reality were not hidden somewhere behind things, they were in them, in all of them.
  • Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal.
  • God does not send us despair in order to kill us; he sends it in order to awaken us to new life.
  • It is a pity that you students aren’t fully aware of the luxury and abundance in which you live.
  • The world was beautiful when looked at in this way-without any seeking, so simple, so childlike.
  • Theory is knowledge that doesn’t work. Practice is when everything works and you don’t know why.
  • He has robbed me, yet he has given me something of greater value . . . he has given to me myself.
  • To study history means submitting to chaos and nevertheless retaining faith in order and meaning.
  • Gratitude is not a virtue I believe in, and to me it seems hypocritical to expect it from a child.
  • What you call passion is not spiritual force, but friction between the soul and the outside world.
  • Within you there is a stillness and sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself
  • A thousand times I was ready to regret and take back my rash statement – yet it had been the truth.
  • Chaos demands to be recognized and experienced before letting itself be converted into a new order.
  • Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish.
  • . . . gentleness is stronger than severity, water is stronger than rock, love is stronger than force.
  • Beauty does not bring happiness to the one who possesses it, but to the one who loves and admires it.
  • our friendship has no other purpose, no other reason, than to show you how utterly unlike me you are.
  • Our god’s name is Abraxas and he is God and Satan and he contains both the luminous and the dark world.
  • The bourgeois today burns as heretics and hangs as criminals those to whom he erects monuments tomorrow.
  • You show the world as a complete, unbroken chain, an eternal chain, linked together by cause and effect.
  • Faith and doubt go hand in hand, they are complementaries. One who never doubts will never truly believe.
  • Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap.
  • I want to learn from myself, want to be my student, want to get to know myself, the secret of Siddhartha.
  • My real self wanders elsewhere, far away, wanders on and on invisibly and has nothing to do with my life.
  • One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.
  • To nobody can you communicate in words and teachings, what happened to you in your hour of enlightenment.
  • But your questions, which are unanswerable without exception, all spring from the same erroneous thinking.
  • I shall begin my story with an experience I had when I was ten and attended our small town’s Latin school.
  • Love can be begged, bought, or received as a gift, one can find it in the street, but one cannot steal it.
  • How beautiful the world was when one looked at it, without searching… just looked, simply and innocently.
  • Opinions mean nothing; they may be beautiful or ugly, clever or foolish, anyone can embrace or reject them.
  • The highest art… sets down its creations and trusts in their magic, without fear of not being understood.
  • I have no desire to walk on water, said Siddhartha. Let the old shamans satisfy themselves with such skills.
  • We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.
  • Within us there is someone who knows everything, wills everything, does everything better than we ourselves.
  • Remember this: one can be a strict logician or grammarian and at the same time full of imagination and music.
  • You’ve never lived what you are thinking, and that isn’t good. Only the ideas we actually live are of any value.
  • Art is contemplation of the world in a state of grace and imaginatively reflecting that subjective understanding.
  • I wanted only to live in accord with the promptings which came from my true self. Why was that so very difficult?
  • The day had gone by just as days go by. I had killed it in accordance with my primitive and retiring way of life.
  • To die is to go into the Collective Unconscious, to lose oneself in order to be transformed into form, pure form.
  • Every important cultural gesture comes down to a morality, a model for human behavior concentrated into a gesture.
  • I had grown a thin mustache, I was a full-grown man, and yet I was completely helpless and without a goal in life.
  • Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
  • I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.
  • One cannot apologize for something fundamental, and a child feels and knows this as well and as deeply as any sage.
  • …and the vessel was not full, his intellect was not satisfied, his soul was not at peace, his heart was not still.
  • A tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me!… Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
  • Love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is only your aversion to it that hurts, nothing else.
  • Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else.
  • I live in my dreams — that’s what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That’s the difference.
  • Life is always frightful. We cannot help it and we are responsible all the same. One’s born and at once one is guilty.
  • When you like someone, you like them in spite of their faults. When you love someone, you love them with their faults.
  • One must find the source within one’s own Self, one must possess it. Everything else was seeking — a detour, an error.
  • Every politician in the world is all for revolution, reason, and disarmament-but only in enemy countries, not in his own.
  • In fear I hurried this way and that. I had the taste of blood and chocolate in my mouth, the one as hateful as the other.
  • When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.
  • If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.
  • In each individual the spirit is made flesh, in each one the whole of creation suffers, in each one a Savior is crucified.
  • The mind is international and supra-national … it ought to serve not war and annihilation, but peace and reconciliation.
  • I do want more. I am not content with being happy. I was not made for it. It is not my destiny. My destiny is the opposite.
  • One day I would be a better hand at the game. One day I would learn how to laugh. Pablo was waiting for me, and Mozart too.
  • And here is a doctrine at which you will laugh. It seems to me, Govinda, that love is the most important thing in the world.
  • All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?
  • But peace, too, is a living thing and like all life it must wax and wane, accommodate, withstand trials, and undergo changes.
  • It is not for me to judge another man’s life. I must judge, I must choose, I must spurn, purely for myself. For myself, alone.
  • It was lovely, and tempting, to exert power over men and to shine before others, but power also had its perditions and perils.
  • You are only afraid if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up to themselves.
  • Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast.
  • There are always a few such people who demand the utmost of life and yet cannot come to terms with its stupidity and crudeness.
  • Romantic souvenirs had a way of attaching themselves to one when one wanted to move on, but they were not to be taken seriously.
  • How could I fail to be a lone wolf, and an uncouth hermit, as I did not share one of its aims nor understand one of its pleasures?
  • In every truth, the opposite is equally true. For example, a truth can only be expressed and enveloped in words if it is onesided.
  • The bourgeois prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to the deathly inner consuming fire.
  • So you can’t dance? Not at all? Not even one step? How can you say that you’ve taken any trouble to live when you won’t even dance?
  • The man of power is ruined by power, the man of money by money, the submissive man by subservience, the pleasure seeker by pleasure.
  • To be able to throw one’s self away for the sake of a moment, to be able to sacrifice years for a woman’s smile – that is happiness.
  • Whether you and I and a few others will renew the world some day remains to be seen. But within ourselves we must renew it each day.
  • A father can pass on his nose and eyes and even his intelligence to his child, but not his soul. In every human being the soul is new
  • The marvel of the Bhagavad-Gita is its truly beautiful revelation of life’s wisdom which enables philosophy to blossom into religion.
  • All interpretation, all psychology, all attempts to make things comprehensible, require the medium of theories, mythologies, and lies.
  • For the first time in my life I tasted death, and death tasted bitter, for death is birth, is fear and dread of some terrible renewal.
  • I have always been a great dreamer; in dreams I am more active than in my real life, and these shadows sapped me of health and energy.
  • Life is waiting everywhere, the future is flowering everywhere, but we only see a small part of it and step on much of it with our feet
  • Once you are able to make your request in such a way that you will be quite certain of its fulfillment, then the fulfillment will come.
  • He saw that the water continually flowed and flowed and yet it was always there; it was always the same and yet every moment it was new.
  • What could I say to you that would be of value, except that perhaps you seek too much, that as a result of your seeking you cannot find.
  • What for me is bliss and life and ecstasy and exaltation, the world in general seeks at most in imagination; in life it finds it absurd.
  • A house without books is a poor house, even if beautiful rugs are covering its floors and precious wallpapers and pictures cover its walls
  • Everyone gives what he has. The soldier gives strength, the merchant goods, the teacher instruction, the farmer rice, the fisherman fish.
  • For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves.
  • To recognize causes is to think, and through thought alone feelings become knowledge and are not lost, but become real and begin to mature.
  • Whither will my path yet lead me? This path is stupid, it goes in spirals, perhaps in circles, but whichever way it goes, I will follow it.
  • You must find your dream…but no dream lasts forever, each dream is followed by another, and one should not cling to any particular dream.
  • Look: We hate nothing that exists, not even death, suffering and dying, does not horrify our souls, as long as we learn more deeply to love.
  • We have to stumble through so much dirt and humbug before we reach home. And we have no one to guide us. Our only guide is our homesickness.
  • Alas, Siddhartha, I see you suffering, but you’re suffering a pain at which one would like to laugh, at which you’ll soon laugh for yourself.
  • An enlightened man had but one duty – to seek the way to himself, to reach inner certainty, to grope his way forward, no matter where it led.
  • Painting is marvelous; it makes you happier and more patient. Afterwards you do not have black fingers as with writing, but blue and red ones.
  • Those who are too lazy and comfortable to think for themselves and be their own judges obey the laws. Others sense their own laws within them.
  • Because the world is so full of death and horror, I try again and again to console my heart and pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell.
  • Love must neither beg nor demand. Love must be strong enough to find certainty within itself.  It then cease to be moved and becomes the mover.
  • I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.
  • Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me.
  • Any attempt to replace a personal conscience by a collective conscience does violence to the individual and is the first step toward totalitarianism.
  • If time is not real, then the dividing line between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion.
  • I believe that I am not responsible for the meaningfulness or meaninglessness of life, but that I am responsible for what I do with the life I’ve got.
  • The river is everywhere at the same time . . . everywhere and the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past, nor the shadow of the future.
  • They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming.
  • Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.
  • You will become tired, Siddhartha. I will become tired. You will fall asleep, Siddhartha. I will not fall asleep. You will die, Siddhartha. I will die.
  • In any case, the most lively young people become the best old people, not those who pretend to be as wise as grandfathers while they are still at school.
  • Sentimentality is a basking in feelings that in reality you don’t take seriously enough to make the slightest sacrifice to or ever translate into action.
  • There is, so I believe, in the essence of everything, something that we cannot call learning. There is, my friend, only a knowledge – that is everywhere.
  • Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.
  • So you find yourself surrounded by death and horror in the world, and you escape it into lust. But lust has no duration; it leaves you again in the desert.
  • Each man’s life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path. No man has ever been entirely and completely himself.
  • Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, be fortified by it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.
  • The best weapons against the infamies of life are courage, wilfulness and patience. Courage strenthens, wilfulness is fun and patience provides tranquility.
  • I am fond of music I think because it is so amoral. Everything else is moral and I am after something that isn’t. I have always found moralizing intolerable.
  • The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. The God’s name is Abraxas.
  • I have known it for a long time but I have only just experienced it. Now I know it not only with my intellect, but with my eyes, with my heart, with my stomach.
  • It taught him how to listen — how to listen with a quiet heart and a waiting soul, open soul, without passion, without desire, without judgment, without opinion.
  • At one time I had given much thought to why men were so very rarely capable of living for an ideal. Now I saw that many, no, all men were capable of dying for one.
  • Our mind is capable of passing beyond the dividing line we have drawn for it. Beyond the pairs of opposites of which the world consists, other, new insights begin.
  • The way to innocence, to the uncreated and to God leads on, not back, not back to the wolf or to the child, but ever further into sin, ever deeper into human life.
  • One of the aphorisms occurred to me now and I wrote it under the picture: Fate and temperament are two words for one and the same concept. That was clear to me now.
  • Seriousness is an accident of time. It consists of putting too high a value on time. In eternity there is no time. Eternity is a moment, just long enough for a joke
  • His life oscillates, as everyone’s does, not merely between two poles, such as the body and the spirit, the saint and the sinner, but between thousands and thousands.
  • I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.
  • What should I possibly have to tell you, oh venerable one? Perhaps that you’re searching far too much? That in all that searching, you don’t find the time for finding?
  • Love must not entreat,’ she added, ‘or demand. Love must have the strength to become certain within itself. Then it ceases merely to be attracted and begins to attract.
  • She stood a moment before my eyes, clearly and painfully, loved and deeply woven into my destiny; then fell away again in a deep oblivion, at a half regretted distance.
  • Among mathematicians, even in those days, the reputation of being a good Glass Bead Game player meant a great deal; it was equivalent to being a very good mathematician.
  • For me, however, that beloved, glowing little word happiness has become associated with everything I have felt since childhood upon hearing the sound of the word itself.
  • The call of death is a call of love. Death can be sweet if we answer it in the affirmative, if we accept it as one of the great eternal forms of life and transformation.
  • A man who is ill-adjusted to the world is always on the verge of finding himself. One who is adjusted to the world never finds himself, but gets to be a cabinet minister.
  • You can ride, you can travel with a friend of your own; The final step you must take alone. No wisdom is better than this when known: That every hard thing is done alone.
  • I was out of my bed in one second, trembling with excitement, and I dashed to the door and into the adjoining room, where I could watch the streets below from the windows.
  • I began to understand that suffering and disappointments and melancholy are there not to vex us or cheapen us or deprive us of our dignity but to mature and transfigure us.
  • It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him for what he is: each the other’s opposite and complement.
  • That is where my dearest and brightest dreams have ranged — to hear for the duration of a heartbeat the universe and the totality of life in its mysterious, innate harmony.
  • Every man’s story is important, eternal and sacred. That is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous and worthy of every consideration.
  • I believe that the struggle against death, the unconditional and self-willed determination to live, is the mode of power behind the lives and activities of all outstanding men.
  • What is the holding of breath? It is a flight from the Self, it is a temporary escape from the torment of Self. It is a temporary palliative against the pain and folly of life.
  • I am in truth the Steppenwolf that I often call myself; that beast astray that finds neither home nor joy nor nourishment in a world that is strange and incomprehensible to him.
  • When all the Self was conquered and dead, when all passions and desires were silent, then the last must awaken, the innermost of Being that is no longer Self – the great secret!
  • You learned people and artists have, no doubt, all sorts of superior things in your heads; but you’re human beings like the rest of us, and we, too, have our dreams and fancies.
  • Dreams and restless thoughts came flowing to him from the river, from the twinkling stars at night, from the sun’s melting rays. Dreams and a restlessness of the soul came to him.
  • When trying to remember my share in the glow of the eternal present, in the smile of God, I return to my childhood, too, for that is where the most significant discoveries turn up.
  • Fortunately, like most children, I had learned what is most valuable, most indispensable for life before school years began, taught by apple trees, by rain and sun, river and woods.
  • In Germany I have been acknowledged again since the fall of Hitler, but my works, partly suppressed by the Nazis and partly destroyed by the war; have not yet been republished there.
  • At that time two opposing concepts of the Game called forth commentary and discussion. The foremost players distinguished two principal types of Game, the formal and the psychological.
  • During deep meditation it is possible to dispel time, to see simultaneously all the past, present, and future, and then everything is good, everything is perfect, everything is Brahman.
  • If what matters in a person’s existence is to accept the inevitable consciously, to taste the good and bad to the full and to make for oneself a more individual, unaccidental and inward
  • You should never be afraid of people… such fear can destroy us completely. You’ve simply got to get rid of it, if you want to turn into someone decent. You understand that, don’t you?
  • Should we be mindful of dreams? Joseph asked. Can we interpret them? The Master looked into his eyes and said tersely: We should be mindful of everything, for we can interpret everything.
  • Each of us is merely one human being, merely an experiment, a way station. But each of us should be on the way toward perfection, should be striving to reach the center, not the periphery.
  • It was the first rent in the holy image of my father, it was the first fissure in the columns that had upheld my childhood, which every individual must destroy before he can become himself.
  • What constitutes a real, live human being is more of a mystery than ever these days, and men each one of whom is a valuable, unique experiment on the part of nature are shot down wholesale.
  • Age is a state of mind. Youth and age exist only among the ordinary people. All the more talented and exceptional of us; are sometimes old, just as we are sometimes happy, and sometimes sad.
  • I sped through heaven and saw god at work. I suffered holy pains. I dropped all my defenses and was afraid of nothing in the world. I accepted all things and to all things I gave up my heart.
  • Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.
  • Nevertheless, whether in occurrences lasting days, hours or mere minutes at a time, I have experienced happiness often, and have had brief encounters with it in my later years, even in old age.
  • You are only afriad if you are not in harmony with yourself. People are afraid because they have never owned up to themselves. A whole society composed of men afraid of the unknown within them!
  • This happiness consisted of nothing else but the harmony of the few things around me with my own existence, a feeling of contentment and well-being that needed no changes and no intensification.
  • Every natural form is latent within us, originates in the soul whose essence is eternity, whose essence we cannot know but which most often intimates itself to us as the power to love and create.
  • Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.
  • My resolve to die was not the whim of an hour. It was the ripe, sound fruit that had slowly grown to full size, lightly rocked by the winds of fate whose next breath would bring it to the ground.
  • My goal is this: always to put myself in the place in which I am best able to serve, wherever my gifts and qualities find the best soil to grow, the widest field of action. There is no other goal.
  • Only within yourself exists the other reality for which you long. I can give you nothing that has not already its being within yourself. I can throw open to you no picture gallery but your own soul.
  • The sacred sense of beyond, of timelessness, of a world which had an eternal value and the substance of which was divine had been given back to me today by this friend of mine who taught me dancing.
  • … let us recall the well-known statement of a university professor in the Republic of the Massagetes: ‘Not the faculty but His Excellency the General can properly determine the sum of two and two.’
  • Every phenomenon on earth is symbolic, and each symbol is an open gate through which the soul, if it is ready, can enter into the inner part of the world, where you and I and day and night are all one.
  • They slept profoundly, desperately, greedily, as though for the last time, as though they had been condemned to stay awake forever and had to drink in all the sleep in the world during these last hours.
  • All this had always been and he had never seen it; he was never present. Now he was present and belonged to it. Through his eyes he saw light and shadows; through his mind he was aware of moon and stars.
  • I called the world of phenomena an illusion, I called my eyes and my tongue an accident, valueless phenomena. No, that is all over; I have awakened, I have really awakened and I have just been born today.
  • In the beginning was the myth. God, in his search for self-expression, invested the souls of Hindus, Greeks, and Germans with poetic shapes and continues to invest each child’s soul with poetry every day.
  • Those who direct the maximum force of their desires toward the center, toward true being, toward perfection, seem quieter than the passionate souls because the flame of their fervor cannot always be seen.
  • If my life were not a dangerous, painful experiment, if I did not constantly skirt the abyss and feel the void under my feet, my life would have no meaning and I would not have been able to write anything.
  • There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.
  • It is good to taste for yourself everything you need to know. That worldly pleasures and wealth are not good things, I learned even as a child. I knew it for a long time, but only now have I experienced it.
  • You’re quite right there, he said. I have practiced abstinence myself for years, and had my time of fasting, too, but now I find myself once more beneath the sign of Aquarius, a dark and humid constellation.
  • To such men the desperate and horrible thought has come that perhaps the whole of human life is but a bad joke, a violent and ill-fated abortion of the primal mother, a savage and dismal catastophe of nature.
  • Until 1914 I loved to travel; I often went to Italy and once spent a few months in India. Since then I have almost entirely abandoned travelling, and I have not been outside of Switzerland for over ten years.
  • Despair is the result of each earnest attempt to go through life with virtue, justice and understanding, and to fulfill their requirements. Children live on one side of despair, the awakened on the other side.
  • Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again.
  • The only reality is the one we have inside us. What makes most people’s lives so artificial and unworthy is that they falsely regard outside images as reality and they never allow their own inner world to speak.
  • His way had therefore come full circle, or rather had taken the form of an ellipse or a spiral, following as ever no straight unbroken line, for the rectilinear belongs only to Geometry and not to Nature and Life.
  • I call that man awake who, with conscious knowledge and understanding, can perceive the deep unreasoning powers in his soul, his whole innermost strength, desire and weakness, and knows how to reckon with himself.
  • And all the voices, all the goals, all the yearnings, all the sorrows, all the pleasures, all the good and evil, all of them together was the world. All of them together was the stream of events, the music of life.
  • Among the letters my readers write me, there is a certain category which is continuously growing, and which I see as a symptom of the increasing intellectualization of the relationship between readers and literature.
  • For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.
  • Each man carries the vestiges of his birth; the slime and eggshells of his primeval past with him to the end of his days. Some never become human, remaining frog, lizard, ant. Some are human above the waist, fish below.
  • Passion is always a mystery and unaccountable, and unfortunately there is no doubt that life does not spare its purest children; often it is just the most deserving people who cannot help loving those that destroy them.
  • I was given the freedom to discover my own inclination and talents, to fashion my inmost pleasures and sorrows myself and to regard the future not as an alien higher power but as the hope and product of my own strength.
  • It was still quiet in the house, and not a sound was heard from outside, either. Were it not for this silence, my reverie would probably have been disrupted by reminders of daily duties, of getting up and going to school.
  • And whether this happiness lasted a hundred seconds or ten minutes, it was so far removed from time that it resembled every other genuine happiness as completely as one fluttering blue lycaenid butterfly resembles another.
  • Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
  • Solitude is independence. It had been my wish and with the years I had attained it. It was cold. Oh, cold enough! But it was also still, wonderfully still and vast like the cold stillness of space in which the stars revolve.
  • You knew all along that your sanctioned world was only half the world, and you tried to suppress the other half the same way the priests and teachers do. You won’t succeed. No one succeeds in this once he has begun to think.
  • It was all a lie, it all stank, stank of lies, it all gave the illusion of meaning and happiness and beauty, and all of it was just putrefaction that no one would admit to. Bitter was the taste of the world. Life was a torment.
  • You treat world history as a mathematician does mathematics, in which nothing but laws and formulas exist, no reality, no good and evil, no time, no yesterday, no tomorrow, nothing but an eternal, shallow, mathematical present.
  • Like one who has eaten and drunk too much and vomits painfully and then feels better, so did the restless man wish he could rid himself with one terrific heave of these pleasures, of these habits of this entirely senseless life.
  • Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.
  • The river has taught me to listen; you will learn from it, too. The river knows everything; one can learn everything from it. You have already learned from the river that it is good to strive downwards, to sink, to seek the depths.
  • A wild longing for strong emotions and sensations seethes in me, a rage against this toneless, flat, normal and sterile life. I have a mad impulse to smash something, a warehouse perhaps, or a cathedral, or myself, to committ outrages.
  • I, also, would like to look and smile, sit and walk like that, so free, so worthy, so restrained, so candid, so childlike and mysterious. A man only looks and walks like that when he has conquered his Self. I also will conquer my Self.
  • Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak… surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.
  • …and gradually his face assumed the expressions which are so often found among rich people – the expressions of discontent, of sickliness, of displeasure, of idleness, of lovelessness. Slowly the soul sickness of the rich crept over him.
  • Every sin already carries grace within in, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people – eternal life. The Buddha exists in the robber and dice player; the robber exists in the Brahmin.
  • The greatest threat to our world and its peace comes from those who want war, who prepare for it, and who, by holding out vague promises of future peace or by instilling fear of foreign aggression, try to make us accomplices to their plans.
  • Most people…are like a falling leaf that drifts and turns in the air, flutters, and falls to the ground. But a few others are like stars which travel one defined path: no wind reaches them, they have within themselves their guide and path.
  • Was it not his Self, his small, fearful and proud Self, with which he had wrestled for so many years, but which had always conquered him again, which appeared each time again and again, which robbed him of happiness and filled him with fear?
  • Siddhartha has one single goal-to become empty, to become empty of thirst, desire, dreams, pleasure and sorrow-to let the Self die. No longer to be Self, to experience the peace of an emptied heart, to experience pure thought-that was his goal.
  • He was taught by the river. Incessantly, he learned from it. Most of all, he learned from it to listen, to pay close attention with a quiet heart, with a waiting, opened soul, without passion, without a wish, without judgement, without an opinion.
  • I learned through my body and soul that it was necessary for me to sin, that I needed lust, that I had to strive for property and experience nausea and the depths of despair in order to learn not to resist them, in order to learn to love the world.
  • Lovers should not separate from each other after making love without admiring each other, without being conquered as well as conquering, so that no feeling of satiation or desolation arises nor the horrid feeling of misusing or having been misused.
  • We kill at every step, not only in wars, riots and executions. We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, suffering and shame.In the same way all disrespect for life, all hard-heartedness,all indifference, all contempt is nothing else than killing.
  • We kill when we close our eyes to poverty, affliction, or infamy. We kill when, because it is easier, we countenance, or pretend to approve of atrophied social, political, educational, and religious institutions, instead of resolutely combating them.
  • Truly, nothing in the world has so occupied my thoughts as this I, this riddle, the fact I am alive, that I am separated and isolated from all others, that I am Siddhartha! And about nothing in the world do I know less about than me, about Siddhartha!
  • Things are going downhill with you!’ he said to himself, and laughed about it, and as he was saying it, he happened to glance at the river, and he also saw the river going downhill, always moving on downhill, and singing and being happy through it all.
  • At the first kiss I felt something melt inside me that hurt in an exquisite way. All my longings, all my dreams and sweet anguish, all the secrets that slept deep within me came awake, everything was transformed and enchanted, and everything made sense.
  • It is remarkable, all that men can swallow. For a good ten minutes I read a newspaper. I allowed the spirit of an irresponsible man who chews and munches another’s words in his mouth, and gives them out again undigested, to enter into me through my eyes.
  • You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation…and that is called loving. Well, then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it. It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else.
  • You say yes to the sunlight and pure fantasies, so you have to say yes to the filth and the nausea. Everything is within you, gold and mud, happiness and pain, the laughter of childhood and the apprehension of death. Say yes to everything, shirk nothing.
  • This day will never come again and anyone who fails to eat and drink and taste and smell it will never have it offered to him again in all eternity. The sun will never shine as it does today…But you must play your part and sing a song, one of your best.

 

  • Was that really love? I saw all these passionate people reel about and drift haphazardly as if driven by a storm, the man filled with desire today, satiated on the morrow, loving fiercely and discarding brutally, sure of no affection and happy in no love.

 

  • For mountain and stream, tree and leaf, root and blossom, every form in nature is echoed in us and originates in the soul whose being is eternity and is hidden from us but none the less gives itself to us for the most part in the power of love and creation.
  • It was morning; through the high window I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion.
  • A tree says: My strength is trust.   I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me.   I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else.   I trust that God is in me.
  • That’s the way it is when you love. It makes you suffer, and I have suffered much in the years since. But it matters little that you suffer, so long as you feel alive with a sense of the close bond that connects all living things, so long as love does not die!
  • Thus Gotama [Buddha] walked toward the town to gather alms, and the two samanas recognized him solely by the perfection of his repose, by the calmness of his figure, in which there was no trace of seeking, desiring, imitating, or striving, only light and peace
  • You have no doubt guessed long since that the conquest of time and the escape from reality, or however else it may be that you choose to describe your longing, means simply the wish to be relieved of your so-called personality. That is the prison where you lie.
  • All the books of the world full of thoughts and poems are nothing in comparison to a minute of sobbing, when feeling surges in waves, the soul feels itself profoundly and finds itself. Tears are the melting ice of snow. All angels are close to the crying person.
  • You do not really love me — you love nobody. Is that not true? Maybe, said Siddhartha wearily. I am like you. You cannot love either, otherwise how could you practice love as an art? Perhaps people like us cannot love. Ordinary people can — that is their secret.
  • You wouldn’t consider all the bipeds you pass on the street human beings simply because they walk upright and carry their young in their bellies nine months! It is obvious how many of them are fish or sheep, worms or angels, how many are ants, how many are bees!
  • For the air of lonely men surrounded him now, a still atmosphere in which the world around him slipped away, leaving him incapable of relationship, an atmosphere against which neither will nor longing availed. This was one of the significant earmarks of his life.
  • What we can and should change is ourselves: our impatience, our egoism (including intellectual egoism), our sense of injury, our lack of love and forbearance. I regard every other attempt to change the world, even if it springs from the best intentions, as futile.
  • Man’s life seems to me like a long, weary night that would be intolerable if there were not occasionally flashes of light, the sudden brightness of which is so comforting and wonderful, that the moments of their appearance cancel out and justify the years of darkness.
  • A girl had bidden me eat and drink and sleep, and had shown me friendship and had laughed at me and had called me a silly little boy. And this wonderful friend had talked to me of the saints and shown me that even when I had outdone myself in absurdity I was not alone.
  • So wie die Verruecktheit in einem hoeheren Sinn, der Anfang aller Weisheit ist, so ist die Schizophrenie der Anfang aller Kunst, aller Phantasie. (As insanity in a higher sense, is the beginning of all wisdom, so is schizophrenia the beginning of all art, all fantasy.)
  • The world is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people — eternal life.
  • Each man’s life represents a road toward himself, an attempt at such a road, the intimation of a path… But each of us – experiments of the depths – strives toward his own destiny. We can understand one another; but each of us is able to interpret himself to himself alone.
  • That is why we were drawn to one another and why we are brother and sister. I am going to teach you to dance and play and smile, and still not be happy. And you are going to teach me to think and to know and yet not be happy. Do you know that we are both children of the Devil?
  • People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest. It was a scandal that a breed of fearless and sinister people ran around freely, so they attached a nickname and a myth to these people to get even with them, to make up for the many times they had felt afraid.
  • One of the disadwantages of school and learning, he thought dreamily, was that the mind seemed to have the tendency too see and represent all things as though they were flat and had only two dimensions. This, somehow, seemed to render all matters of intellect shallow and worthless.
  • I suddenly saw how sad and artificial my life had been during this period, for the loves, friends, habits and pleasures of these years were discarded like badly fitting clothes. I parted from them without pain and all that remained was to wonder that I could have endured them so long.
  • When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
  • Once it happened, as I lay awake at night, that I suddenly spoke in verses, in verses so beautiful and strange that I did not venture to think of writing them down, and then in the morning they vanished; and yet they lay hidden within me like the hard kernel within an old brittle husk.
  • It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.
  • Let me say no more. Words do no justice to the hidden meaning. Everything immediately becomes slightly different when it is expressed in words, a little bit distorted, a little foolish…It is perfectly fine with me that what for one man is precious wisdom for another sounds like foolery.
  • He had thought more than other men, and in matters of the intellect he had that calm objectivity, that certainty of thought and knowledge, such as only really intellectual men have, who have no axe to grind, who never wish to shine, or to talk others down, or to appear always in the right.
  • All the women of this fevered night, all that I had danced with, all whom I had kindled or who have kindled me, all whom I had courted, all who had clung to me with longing, all whom I had followed with enraptured eyes were melted together and had become one, the one whom I held in my arms.
  • I shall no longer be instructed by the Yoga Veda or the Aharva Veda, or the ascetics, or any other doctrine whatsoever. I shall learn from myself, be a pupil of myself; I shall get to know myself, the mystery of Siddhartha. He looked around as if he were seeing the world for the first time.
  • Nothing is harder, yet nothing is more necessary, than to speak of certain things whose existence is neither demonstrable nor probable. The very fact that serious and conscientious men treat them as existing things brings them a step closer to existence and to the possibility of being born.
  • He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships become newly born. Each one was mortal, a passionate, painful example of all that is transitory. Yet none of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another.
  • All suicides have the responsibility of fighting against the temptation of suicide. Every one of them knows very well in some corner of his soul that suicide, though a way out, is rather a mean and shabby one, and that it is nobler and finer to be conquered by life than to fall by one’s own hand.
  • The world, Govinda my friend, is not imperfect, not to be seen as on a slow path toward perfection: No, it is perfect in every moment, all transgression already bears grace within itself, all little children already have the aged in themselves, all the sucklings death, all the dying eternal life.
  • But of all the water’s secrets, he saw today only a single one-one that struck his soul. He saw that this water flowed and flowed, it was constantly flowing, and yet it was always there; it was always eternally the same and yet new at every moment! Oh, to be able to grasp this, to understand this!
  • He saw mankind going through life in a childlike manner… which he loved but also despised…. He saw them toiling, saw them suffering, and becoming gray for the sake of things which seemed to him to be entirely unworthy of this price, for money, for little pleasures, for being slightly honoured.
  • I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.
  • When we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.
  • All birth means separation from the All, the confinement within limitation, the separation from God, the pangs of being born ever anew. The return into the All, the dissolution of painful individuation, the reunion with God means the expansion of the soul until it is able once more to embrace the All.
  • Young people have many pleasures and many sorrows, because they only have themselves to think of, so every wish and every notion assume importance; every pleasure is tasted to the full, but also every sorrow, and many who find that their wishes cannot be fulfilled, immediately put an end to their lives.
  • A soul that is ruined in the bud will frequently return to the springtime of its beginning and its promise-filled childhood, as though it could discover new hopes there and retie the broken threads of life. The shoots grow rapidly and eagerly, but it is only a sham life that will never be a genuine tree.
  • For a while I shall still be leaving, looking back at you as you slip away into the magic islands of the mind. But for a while now all are alive, believing that in a single poignant hour we did say all that we could ever say in a great flowing out of radiant power. It was like seeing and then going blind.
  • There is truth, my boy. But the doctrine you desire, absolute, perfect dogma that alone provides wisdom, does not exist. Nor should you long for a perfect doctrine, my friend. Rather, you should long for the perfection of yourself. The deity is within you, not in ideas and books. Truth is lived, not taught.
  • Therefore, I see whatever exists as good, death is to me like life, sin like holiness, wisdom like foolishness, everything has to be as it is, everything only requires my consent, only my willingness, my loving agreement, to be good for me, to do nothing but work for my benefit, to be unable to ever harm me.
  • Whether it is good or evil, whether life in itself is pain or pleasure, whether it is uncertain-that it may perhaps be this is not important-but the unity of the world, the coherence of all events, the embracing of the big and the small from the same stream, from the same law of cause, of becoming and dying.
  • And what is called history at school, and all we learn by heart there about heroes and geniuses and great deeds and fine emotions, is all nothing but a swindle invented by the schoolmasters for educational reasons to keep children occupied for a given number of years. It has always been so and always will be.
  • Here and there in the ancient literature we encounter legends of wise and mysterious games that were conceived and played by scholars, monks, or the courtiers of cultured princes. These might take the form of chess games in which the pieces and squares had secret meanings in addition to their usual functions.
  • People know, or dimly feel, that if thinking is not kept pure and keen, and if respect for the world of mind is no longer operative, ships and automobiles will soon cease to run right, the engineer’s slide rule and the computations of banks and stock exchanges will forfeit validity and authority, and chaos will ensue.
  • There is, so I believe, in the essence of everything, something that we cannot call learning. There is, my friend, only a knowledge-that is everywhere, that is Atman, that is in me and you and in every creature, and I am beginning to believe that this knowledge has no worse enemy than the man of knowledge, than learning.
  • No, a true seeker, one who truly wished to find, could accept no doctrine. But the man who has found what he sought, such a man could approve of every doctrine, each and every one, every path, every goal; nothing separated him any longer from all those thousands of others who lived in the eternal, who breathed the Divine.
  • Slowly blossomed, slowly ripened in Siddhartha the realisation, the knowledge, what wisdom actually was, what the goal of his long search was. It was nothing but a readiness of the soul, an ability, a secret art, to think every moment, while living his life, the thought of oneness, to be able to feel and inhale the oneness.
  • The bourgeois treasures nothing more highly than the self…. And so at the cost of intensity he achieves his own preservation andsecurity. His harvest is a quiet mind which he prefers to being possessed by God, as he prefers comfort to pleasure, convenience to liberty, and a pleasant temperature to that deathly inner consuming fire.
  • The diabolical thing about melancholy is not that it makes you ill but that it makes you conceited and shortsighted; yes almost arrogant. You lapse into bad taste, thinking of yourself as Heine’s Atlas, whose shoulders support all the world’s puzzles and agonies, as if thousands, lost in the same maze, did not endure the same agonies.
  • Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and cruelties; it accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap
  • What is meditation?… It is fleeing from the self, it is a short escape of the agony of being a self, it is a short numbing of the senses against the pain and the pointlessness of life. The same escape, the same short numbing is what the driver of an ox-cart finds in the inn, drinking a few bowls of rice wine or fermented coconut-milk.
  • For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.
  • The human attitude of which classical music is the expression is always the same; it is always based on the same kind of insight into life and strives for the same kind of victory over blind change. Classical music as gesture signifies knowledge of the tragedy of the human condition, affirmation of human destiny, courage, cheerful serenity.
  • Oh, if I had had a friend at this moment, a friend in an attic room, dreaming by candlelight and with a violin lying ready at his hand! How I should have slipped up to him in his quiet hour, noiselessly climbing the winding stair to take him by surprise, and then with talk and music we should have held heavenly festival throughout the night!
  • …Haller’s sickness of the soul, as I now know, is not the eccentricity of a single individual, but the sickness of the times themselves, the neurosis of that generation to which Haller belongs, a sickness, it seems, that by no means attacks the weak and worthless only but, rather, precisely those who are strongest in spirit and richest in gifts.
  • When a writer receives praise or blame, when he arouses sympathy or is ridiculed, when he is loved or rejected, it is not on the strength of his thoughts and dreams as a whole, but only of that infinitesimal part which has been able to make its way through the narrow channel of language and the equally narrow channel of the reader’s understanding.
  • Each man had only one genuine vocation – to find the way to himself….His task was to discover his own destiny – not an arbitrary one – and to live it out wholly and resolutely within himself. Everything else was only a would-be existence, an attempt at evasion, a flight back to the ideals of the masses, conformity and fear of one’s own inwardness.
  • The world was so beautiful when regarded like this, without searching, so simply, in such a childlike way. Moons and stas were beautiful, beautiful were bank and stream, forest and rocks, goat and gold-bug, flower and butterfly. So lovely, so delightful to go through the world this way, so like a child, awake, open to what is near, without distrust.
  • To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping, to smile without hostility at people and institutions, to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work, to show greater patience, to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism: all these are things we can do.
  • He had thrown himself away, he had lost interest in everything, and life, falling in with his feelings, had demanded nothing of him. He had lived as an outsider, an idler and onlooker, well liked in his young manhood, alone in his illness and advancing years. Seized with weariness, he sat down on the wall, and the river murmured darkly in his thoughts.
  • Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time? That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.
  • There was once a man, Harry, called the steppenwolf. He went on two legs, wore clothes and was a human being, but nevertheless he was in reality a wolf of the steppes. He had learned a good deal of all that people of a good intelligence can, and was a fairly clever fellow. What he had not learned, however, was this: to find contentment in himself and his own life.
  • When someone seeks, said Siddhartha, then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.
  • When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured.
  • The old man slowly raised himself from the piano stool, fixed those cheerful blue eyes piercingly and at the same time with unimaginable friendliness upon him, and said: Making music together is the best way for two people to become friends. There is none easier. That is a fine thing. I hope you and I shall remain friends. Perhaps you too will learn how to make fugues, Joseph.
  • When I have neither pleasure nor pain and have been breathing for a while the lukewarm insipid air of these so-called good and tolerable days, I feel so bad in my childish soul that I smash my rusty lyre of thanksgiving in the face of the slumbering god of contentment and would rather feel the most devilish pain burn in me than this warmth of a well-heated room. – Harry Haller
  • For even the most childish intoxication with progress will soon be forced to recognize that writing and books have a function that is eternal. It will become evident that formulations in words and the handling on of these formulations through writing are not only important aids but actually the only means by which humanity can have a history and continuing consciousness of itself.
  • The judge who sits over the murderer and looks into his face, and at one moment recognizes all the emotions and potentialities and possibilities of the murderer in his own soul and hears the murderer’s voice as his own, is at the next moment one and indivisible as the judge, and scuttles back into the shell of his cultivated self and does his duty and condemns the murderer to death.
  • We fear death, we shudder at life’s instability, we grieve to see the flowers wilt again and again, and the leaves fall, and in our hearts we know that we, too, are transitory and will soon disappear. When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something last longer than we do.
  • But one thing this doctrine, so clean, so venerable, does not contain: it does nto contain the secret of what the Sublime One himself experienced, he alone among the hundreds of thousands. This is why I am continuing my wanderings not to seek another, better doctrine, because I know there is none, but to leave behind all the teachings and all teachers, and either attain my goal alone or die.
  • No, I’m not religious, I’m sorry to say. But I was once and shall be again. There is no time now to be religious. No time. Does it need time to be religious? Oh, yes. To be religious you must have time and, even more, independence of time. You can’t be religious in earnest and at the same time live in actual things and still take them seriously, time and money and the Odéon Bar and all that.
  • As every flower fades and as all youth departs, so life at every stage, so every virtue, so our grasp of truth blooms in its day and may not last forever. Since life may summon us at every age, be ready, heart, for parting, new endeavour, be ready bravely and without remorse to find new light that old ties cannot give. In all beginnings dwells a magic force for guarding us and helping us to live.
  • How absurd these words are, such as beast and beast of prey. One should not speak of animals in that way. They may be terrible sometimes, but they’re much more right than men…They’re never in any embarrassment. They always know what to do and how to behave themselves. They don’t flatter and they don’t intrude. They don’t pretend. They are as they are, like stones or flowers or stars in the sky.
  • A home isn’t just a roof over our heads. A home is a place where we feel loved and where we love others. It’s a place we belong. Love is what makes a home, not the contents inside the house or the number on the door. It’s the people waiting for us across the threshold, the people who will take us in their arms after a ad day and kiss us good night and good morning everyday for the rest of our lives.
  • All it has experienced, tasted, suffered: The course of years, generations of animals, Oppression, recovery, friendship of sun and – Wind Will pour forth each day in the song Of its rustling foliage, in the friendly Gesture of its gently swaying crown, In the delicate sweet scent of resinous Sap moistening the sleep-glued buds, And the eternal game of lights and Shadows it plays with itself, content.
  • I have no right to call myself one who knows. I was one who seeks, and I still am, but I no longer seek in the stars or in books; I’m beginning to hear the teachings of my blood pulsing within me. My story isn’t pleasant, it’s not sweet and harmonious like the invented stories; it tastes of folly and bewilderment, of madness and dream, like the life of all people who no longer want to lie to themselves.
  • Most men will not swim before they are able to.’ Is not that witty? Naturally, they won’t swim! They are born for the solid earth, not for the water. And naturally they won’t think. They are made for life, not for thought. Yes, and he who thinks, what’s more, he who makes thought his business, he may go far in it, but he has bartered the solid earth for the water all the same, and one day he will drown.
  • She stood before him and surrendered herself to him and sky, forest, and brook all came toward him in new and resplendent colors, belonged to him, and spoke to him in his own language. And instead of merely winning a woman he embraced the entire world and every star in heaven glowed within him and sparkled with joy in his soul. He had loved and had found himself. But most people love to lose themselves.
  • …As every one of us knows, there are some festivals and games in which everything goes right, and every element lifts up, animates, and exalts every other, just as there are theatrical and musical performances which without any clearly discernible cause seem to ascend miraculously to glorious climaxes and intensely felt experiences, whereas others, just as well prepared, remain no more than decent tries.
  • Deeply, he felt the love for the run-away in his heart, like a wound, and he felt at the same time that this wound had not been given to him in order to turn the knife in it, that it had to become a blossom and had to shine. That this wound did not blossom yet, did not shine yet, at this hour, made him sad. Instead of the desired goal, which had drawn him here following the runaway son, there was now emptiness.
  • He looked around, as if he was seeing the world for the first time. Beautiful was the world, colorful was the world, strange and mysterious was the world! Here was blue, here was yellow, here was green, the sky and the river flowed, the forest and the mountains were rigid, all of it was beautiful, all of it was mysterious and magical, and in its midst was he, Siddhartha, the awakening one, on the path to himself.
  • I do not consider myself less ignorant than most people. I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books. I have begun to listen to the teachings my blood whispers to me. My story is not a pleasant one; it is neither sweet nor harmonious, as invented stories are; it has the taste of nonsense and chaos, of madness and dreams — like the lives of all men who stop deceiving themselves.
  • If man has nothing to eat, fasting is the most intelligent thing he can do. If, for instance, Siddhartha had not learned to fast, he would have had to seek some kind of work today, either with you, or elsewhere, for hunger would have driven him. But as it is, Siddhartha can wait calmly. He is not impatient, he is not in need, he can ward off hunger for a long time and laugh at it. Therefore, fasting is useful, sir.
  • We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.
  • With a secret smile, not unlike that of a healthy child,he walked along, peacefully, quietly. He wore his gown and walked along exactly like the other monks, but his face and his step, his peaceful downward glance, his peaceful downward-hanging hand, and every finger of his hand spoke of peace, spoke of completeness, sought nothing, imitated nothing, reflected a continuous quiet, an unfading light, an invulnerable peace.
  • Man is not by any means of fixed and enduring form (this, in spite of suspicions to the contrary on the part of their wise men, was the ideal of the ancients). He is nothing else than the narrow and perilous bridge between nature and spirit. His innermost destiny drives him on to the spirit and to God. His innermost longing draws him back to nature, the mother. Between the two forces his life hangs tremulous and irresolute.
  • I am a star in the firmament that observe the world, despises the world and consumed in its heat. I am the sea by night in a storm the sea shouting that accumulates new sins and to the ancient makes recompense. I am exiled from your world of pride polite, by pride defrauded, I am the king without crown. I am the passion without words without stones of the hearth, without weapons in the war, is my same force that make me sick
  • Man is an onion made up of a hundred integuments, a texture made up of many threads. The ancient Asiatics knew this well enough, and in the Buddhist Yoga an exact technique was devised for unmasking the illusion of the personality. The human merry-go-round sees many changes: the illusion that cost India the efforts of thousands of years to unmask is the same illusion that the West has labored just as hard to maintain and strengthen.
  • …Every ego so far from being a unity is in the highest degree a manifold world, a constellated heaven, a chaos of forms, of states and stages, of inheritances and potentialities. It appears to be a necessity as imperative as eating and breathing for everyone to be forced to regard this chaos as a unity and to speak of his ego as though is was a one-fold and clearly detached and fixed phenomenon. Even the best of us shares this delusion.
  • The many-voiced song of the river echoed softly. Siddhartha looked into the river and saw many pictures in the flowing water.  The river’s voice was sorrowful.  It sang with yearning and sadness, flowing towards its goal … Siddhartha was now listening intently…to this song of a thousand voices … then the great song of a thousand voices consisted of one word: Om – Perfection …  From that hour Siddhartha ceased to fight against his destiny.
  • What a wonderful sleep it had been! Never had sleep so refreshed him, so renewed him, so rejuvenated him! Perhaps he had really died, perhaps he had been drowned and was reborn in another form. No, he recognized himself, he recognized his hands and feet, the place where he lay and the Self in his breast, Siddhartha, self-willed, individualistic. But this Siddhartha was somewhat changed, renewed. He had slept wonderfully. He was remarkably awake, happy and curious.
  • I will not pretend to justify this espionage I carried on, and I will say openly that all these signs of a life full of intellectual curiosity, but thoroughly slovenly and disorderly at the same time, inspired me at first with aversion and mistrust. I am not only a middle-class man, living a regular life, fond of work and punctuality; I am also an abstainer and a nonsmoker, and these bottles in Haller’s room pleased me even less than the rest of his artistic disorder.
  • He lost his Self a thousand times and for days on end he dwelt in non-being. But although the paths took him away from Self, in the end they always led back to it. Although Siddhartha fled from the Self a thousand times, dwelt in nothing, dwelt in animal and stone, the return was inevitable; the hour was inevitable when he would again find himself in sunshine or in moonlight, in shadow or in rain, and was again Self and Siddhartha, again felt the torment of the onerous life cycle.
  • So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other, without being conquered or having conquered, so that neither is bleak or glutted or has the bad feeling of being used or misused.
  • He saw merchants trading, princes hunting, mourners wailing for their dead, whores offering themselves, physicians trying to help the sick, priests determining the most suitable day for seeding, lovers loving, mothers nursing their children—and all of this was not worthy of one look from his eye, it all lied, it all stank, it all stank of lies, it all pretended to be meaningful and joyful and beautiful, and it all was just concealed putrefaction. The world tasted bitter. Life was torture
  • I realize that some people will not believe that a child of little more than ten years is capable of having such feelings. My story is not intended for them. I am telling it to those who have a better knowledge of man. The adult who has learned to translate a part of his feelings into thoughts notices the absence of these thoughts in a child, and therefore comes to believe that the child lacks these experiences, too. Yet rarely in my life have I felt and suffered as deeply as at that time.
  • You should not take old people who are already dead seriously. It does them injustice. We immortals do not like things to be taken seriously. We like joking. Seriousness, young man, is an accident of time. It consists, I don’t mind telling you in confidence, in putting too high a value on time. I, too, once put too high a value on time. For that reason I wished to be a hundred years old. In eternity, however, there is no time, you see. Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke.
  • The reason why I do not know anything about myself, the reason why Siddhartha has remained alien and unknown to myself is due to one thing, to one single thing–I was afraid of myself, I was fleeing from myself. I was seeking Atman, I was seeking Brahman, I was determined to dismember myself and tear away its layers of husk in order to find in its unknown innermost recess the kernel at the heart of those layers, the Atman, life, the divine principle, the ultimate. But in so doing, I was losing myself.
  • When someone is seeking, it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal. You, O worthy one, are perhaps indeed a seeker, for in striving towards your goal, you do not see many things that are under your nose.
  • Rain Soft rain, summer rain Whispers from bushes, whispers from trees. Oh, how lovely and full of blessing To dream and be satisfied. I was so long in the outer brightness, I am not used to this upheaval: Being at home in my own soul, Never to be led elsewhere. I want nothing, I long for nothing, I hum gently the sounds of childhood, And I reach home astounded In the warm beauty of dreams. Heart, how torn you are, How blessed to plow down blindly, To think nothing, to know nothing, Only to breathe, only to feel.
  • If a bell failed to ring, if a stove smoked, if a wheel on a machine stuck, you knew at once where to look and did so with alacrity; you found the defect and knew how to cure it. But the thing within you, the secret mainspring that alone gave meaning to life, the thing within us that alone is living, alone is capable of feeling pleasure and pain, of craving happiness and experiencing it- that was unknown. You knew nothing about that, nothing at all, and if the mainspring failed there was no cure. Wasn’t it insane?
  • Every man is more than just himself; he also represents the unique, the very special and always significant and remarkable point at which the world’s phenomena intersect, only once in this way, and never again. That is why every man’s story is important, eternal, sacred; that is why every man, as long as he lives and fulfills the will of nature, is wondrous, and worthy of consideration. In each individual the spirit has become flesh, in each man the creation suffers, within each one a redeemer is nailed to the cross.
  • I have transported many, thousands; and to all of them, my river has been nothing but an obstacle on their travels. They travelled to seek money and business, and for weddings, and on pilgrimages, and the river was obstructing their path, and the ferryman’s job was to get them quickly across that obstacle. But for some among thousands, a few, four or five, the river has stopped being an obstacle, they have heard its voice, they have listened to it, and the river has become sacred to them, as it has become sacred to me.
  • A game master or teacher who was primarily concerned with being close enough to the innermost meaning would be a very bad teacher. To be candid, I myself, for example, have never in my life said a word to my pupils about the meaning of music; if there is one it does not need my explanations. On the other hand I have always made a great point of having my pupils count their eighths and sixteenths nicely. Whatever you become, teacher, scholar, or musician, have respect for the meaning but do not imagine that it can be taught.
  • What I am in search of is not so much the gratification of a curiosity or a passion for worldly life, but something far less conditional. I do not wish to go out into the world with an insurance policy in my pocket guaranteeing my return in the event of a disappointment, like some cautious traveller who would be content with a brief glimpse of the world. On the contrary, I desire that there should be hazards, difficulties and dangers to face; I am hungry for reality, for tasks and deeds, and also for privation and suffering.
  • The realization that my problem was one that concerned all men, a problem of living and thinking, suddenly swept over me and I was overwhelmed by fear and respect as I suddenly saw and felt how deeply my own personal life and opinions were immersed in the eternal stream of great ideas. Though it offered some confirmation and gratification, the realization was not really a joyful one. It was hard and had a harsh taste because it implied responsibility and no longer being allowed to be a child; it meant standing on one’s own feet.
  • If I were poet now, I would not resist the temptation to trace my life back through the delicate shadows of my childhood to the precious and sheltered sources of my earliest memories. But these possessions are far too dear and sacred for the person I now am to spoil for myself. All there is to say of my childhood is that it was good and happy. I was given the freedom to discover my own inclinations and talents, to fashion my inmost pleasures and sorrows myself and to regard the future not as an alien higher power but as the hope and product of my own strength.
  • Toward seven o’clock every morning, I leave my study and step Out on the bright terrace; the sun already burns resplendent Between the shadows of the fig tree, makes the low wall of coarse Granite warm to the touch. Here my tools lie ready and waiting, Each one an intimate, an ally: the round basket for weeds: The zappetta, the small hoe with a short haft . . . There’s a rake here as well, at at times a mattock and spade, Or two watering cans filled with water warmed by the sun. With my basket and small hoe in hand, facing the sun, I Go out for my morning walk.
  • Man designs for himself a garden with a hundred kinds of trees, a thousand kinds of flowers, a hundred kinds of fruit and vegetables. Suppose, then, that the gardener of this garden knew no other distinction between edible and inedible, nine-tenths of this garden would be useless to him. He would pull up the most enchanting flowers and hew down the noblest trees and even regard them with a loathing and envious eye. This is what the Steppenwolf does with the thousand flowers of his soul. What does not stand classified as either man or wolf he does not see at all.
  • And some day there will be nothing left of everything that has twisted my life and grieved it and filled me so often with such anguish. Some day, with the last exhaustion, peace will come and the motherly earth will gather me back home. It won’t be the end of things, only a way of being born again, a bathing and a slumbering where the old and the withered sink down, where the young and new begin to breathe. Then, with other thoughts, I will walk along streets like these, and listen to streams, and overhear what the sky says in the evening, over and over and over.
  • There were now and then, though rarely, the hours that brought the welcome shock, pulled down the walls and brought me back again from my wanderings to the living heart of the world. Sadly and yet deeply moved, I set myself to recall the last of these experiences. It was at a concert of lovely old music. After two of three notes of the piano the door was opened of a sudden to the other world. I sped through heaven and saw God at work. I suffered holy pains. I dropped all my defenses and was afraid of nothing in the world. I accepted all things and to all things I gave up my heart.
  • Everything that is thought and expressed in words is one-sided, only half the truth; it all lacks totality, completeness, unity. When the Illustrious Buddha taught about the world, he had to divide it into Samsara and Nirvana, illusion and truth, into suffering and salvation. One cannot do otherwise, there is no other method for those who teach. But the world itself, being in and around us, is never one-sided. Never is a man or a deed wholly Samsara or wholly Nirvana; never is a man wholly a saint or a sinner. This only seems so because we suffer the illusion that time is something real.
  • If a night-moth were to concentrate its will on flying to a star or some equally unattainable object, it wouldn’t succeed. Only, it wouldn’t even try in the first place. A moth confines its search to what has sense and value for it, what it needs, what is indispensable to its life… if I imagined that I wanted under all circumstances to get to the North Pole, then to achieve it I would have to desire it strongly enough that my whole being was ruled by it. But if I were to decide to will that the pastor should stop wearing his glasses, it would be useless. That would be making a game of it.
  • Yes, what we are doing is probably mad, and probably it is good and necessary all the same. It is not a good thing when man overstrains his reason and tries to reduce to rational order matters that are susceptible of rational treatment. Then there arise ideals such as those of the Americans or of the Bolsheviks. Both are extraordinarily rational, and both lead to a frightful oppression and impoverishment of life, because they simplify it so crudely. The likeness of man, once a high ideal, is in process of becoming a machine-made article. It is for madmen like us, perhaps, to ennoble it again.

 

 

Hannah Arendt (quotes)

  • We all carry fault within.
  • Bureaucracy, the rule of nobody.
  • Every thought is an afterthought.
  • Where everybody is guilty, nobody is.
  • Violence is an expression of impotence.
  • Thought and action must never part company.
  • To think and to be fully alive are the same.
  • Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom.
  • Few girls are as well shaped as a good horse.
  • Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival.
  • Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
  • Entirely new concepts are very rare in politics.
  • The Third World is not a reality but an ideology.
  • Evil thrives on apathy and cannot exist without it.
  • every thought is strictly speaking an after-thought.
  • Scientific and philosophic truth have parted company.
  • The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition.
  • Every end in history necessarily contains a new beginning.
  • The point, as Marx saw it, is that dreams never come true.
  • For excellence, the presence of others is always required.
  • Nietzsche … has caused [philosophers] so much confusion.
  • The blessing of life as a wholecan never be found in work.
  • Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future.
  • If we don’t know our own history, we are deemed to live it.
  • War has become a luxury that only small nations can afford.
  • Action without a name, a who attached to it, is meaningless.
  • Ideas, as distinguished from events, are never unprecedented.
  • What is the subject of our thought? Experience! Nothing else!
  • We are free to change the world and start something new in it.
  • There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.
  • One must think with the body and the soul or not think at all.
  • To speak of the impotence of power is no longer a witty paradox.
  • Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
  • Violence can destroy power; it is utterly incapable of creating it.
  • Thinking does not lead to truth; truth is the beginning of thought.
  • These are the fifties, you know. The disgusting, posturing fifties.
  • There is a strange interdependence between thoughtlessness and evil.
  • Power is actualized only when word and deed have not parted company.
  • Political questions are far too serious to be left to the politicians.
  • ..is the result of human organization. We are not born equal.
  • The conflict between art and politics… cannot and must not be solved.
  • It is rather hard and certainly depressing to admit guilt and to repent
  • Forgiveness is the only way to reverse the irreversible flow of history.
  • Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
  • I’m completely against [feminism]. I have no desire to give up my privileges.
  • Under conditions of terror, most people will comply but some people will not.
  • thinking beings have an urge to speak, speaking beings have an urge to think.
  • The only grandeur of imperialism lies in the nation’s losing battle against it.
  • the rule of Nobody … is what the political form known as bureaucracy truly is.
  • Courage is indispensible because in politics not life but the world is at stake.
  • Man’s chief moral deficiency appears to be not his indiscretions but his reticence.
  • In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism.
  • With the rise of Christianity, faith replaced thought as the bringer of immortality.
  • For politics is not like the nursery; in politics obedience and support are the same.
  • Conscience is the anticipation of the fellow who awaits you if and when you come home.
  • The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
  • The business of thinking … undoes every morning what it had finished the night before.
  • Luck serves … as rationalization for every people that is not master of its own destiny.
  • What I propose, therefore, is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing
  • The end of rebellion is liberation, while the end of revolution is the foundation of freedom.
  • The extreme form of power is All against One, the extreme form of violence is One against All.
  • if we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our private fate.
  • No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes.
  • Nothing we use or hear or touch can be expressed in words that equal what is given by the senses.
  • The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.
  • … the space left to freedom is very small.ends are inherent in human nature and the same for all.
  • When an old truth ceases to be applicable, it does not become any truer by being stood on its head.
  • The true dividing line between people is whether they are capable of being in love with their destiny.
  • Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche are for us like guideposts to a past which has lost its significance.
  • This is the precept by which I have lived: Prepare for the worst; expect the best; and take what comes.
  • Metaphysical fallacies contain the only clues we have to what thinking means to those who engage in it.
  • Generally speaking, violence always arises out of impotence. It is the hope of those who have no power.
  • A functionary, when he really is nothing more than a functionary, is really a very dangerous gentleman.
  • The greatest enemy of authority, therefore, is contempt, and the surest way to undermine it is laughter.
  • The chief qualification of a mass leader has become unending infallibility; he can never admit an error.
  • By its very nature the beautiful is isolated from everything else. From beauty no road leads to reality.
  • To expect truth to come from thinking signifies that we mistake the need to think with the urge to know.
  • To act, in its most general sense, means to take an initiative, to begin… to set something into motion.
  • In politics, love is a stranger, and when it intrudes upon it nothing is being achieved except hypocrisy.
  • Philosophy is called upon to compensate for the frustrations of politics and, more generally, of life itself.
  • Love, in distinction from friendship, is killed, or rather extinguished, the moment it is displayed in public.
  • It is in the nature of a group and its power to turn against independence, the property of individual strength.
  • The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions but to destroy the capacity to form any.
  • Revolutions are the only political events which confront us directly and inevitably with the problem of beginning.
  • The practice of violence, like all action, changes the world, but the most probable change is a more violent world.
  • The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and ourselves.
  • The emotions I feel are no more meant to be shown in their unadulterated state than the inner organs by which we live.
  • Culture relates to objects and is a phenomenon of the world; entertainment relates to people and is a phenomenon of life.
  • It interrupts any doing, any ordinary activities, no matter what they happen to be. All thinking demands a stop-and-think.
  • They must remember that they are constantly on the run, and that the world’s reality is actually expressed by their escape.
  • To be free in an age like ours, one must be in a position of authority. That in itself would be enough to make me ambitious.
  • What I cannot live with may not bother another man’s conscience. The result is that conscience will stand against conscience.
  • Imperialism was born when the ruling class in capitalist production came up against national limits to its economic expansion.
  • Men in plural [‚Ķ] can experience meaningfulness only because they can talk with and make sense to each other and themselves.
  • Only the mob and the elite can be attracted by the momentum of totalitarianism itself. The masses have to be won by propaganda.
  • Every organization of men, be it social or political, ultimately relies on man’s capacity for making promises and keeping them.
  • the fateful equating of power with violence, of the political with government, and of government with a necessary evil has begun.
  • Total loyalty is possible only when fidelity is emptied of all concrete content, from which changes of mind might naturally arise.
  • Action, as distinguished from fabrication, is never possible in isolation; to be isolated is to be deprived of the capacity to act.
  • The conviction that everything that happens on earth must be comprehensible to man can lead to interpreting history by commonplaces.
  • Wherever the relevance of speech is at stake, matters become political by definition, for speech is what makes man a political being.
  • As citizens, we must prevent wrongdoing because the world in which we all live, wrong-doer, wrong sufferer and spectator, is at stake.
  • Politically, the weakness of the argument has always been that those who choose the lesser evil forget very quickly that they chose evil.
  • The possible redemption from the predicament of irreversibility – of being unable to undo what one has done – is the faculty of forgiving.
  • Promises are the uniquely human way of ordering the future, making it predictable and reliable to the extent that this is humanly possible.
  • Well, demonization itself can help … to provide an alibi. You succumb to the Devil incarnate, and as a result you’re not guilty yourself.
  • The climax of terror is reached when the police state begins to devour its own children, when yesterday’s executioner becomes today’s victim.
  • Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
  • Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up.
  • Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues, and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings.
  • … the will always wills to do something and thus implicitly holds in contempt sheer thinking, whose whole activity depends on “doing nothing.
  • The good things in history are usually of very short duration, but afterward have a decisive influence on what happens over long periods of time.
  • Death not merely ends life, it also bestows upon it a silent completeness, snatched from the hazardous flux to which all things human are subject.
  • One of the greatest advantages of the totalitarian elites of the twenties and thirties was to turn any statement of fact into a question of motive.
  • The way God has been thought of for thousands of years is no longer convincing; if anything is dead, it can only be the traditional thought of God.
  • Poets are the only people to whom love is not only a crucial, but an indispensable experience, which entitles them to mistake it for a universal one.
  • Nihilism is but the other side of conventionalism; its creed consists of negations of the current so-called positive values, to which it remains bound.
  • I’ve begun so late, really only in recent years, to truly love the world… Out of gratitude, I want to call my book on political theories Amor Mundi .
  • The trouble with lying and deceiving is that their efficiency depends entirely upon a clear notion of the truth that the liar and deceiver wishes to hide.
  • For the possibilities of being different from what one is are infinite. Once one has negated oneself, however, there are no longer any particular choices.
  • We have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their abundance.
  • When evil is allowed to compete with good, evil has an emotional populist appeal that wins out unless good men and women stand as a vanguard against abuse.
  • Every activity performed in public can attain an excellence never matched in privacy; for excellence, by definition, the presence of others is always required.
  • Goodness that comes out of hiding and assumes a public role is no longer good, but corrupt in its own terms and will carry its own corruption wherever it goes.
  • Psychologically speaking, one may say that the hypocrite is too ambitious; not only does he want to appear virtuous before others, he wants to convince himself.
  • Although tyranny…may successfully rule over foreign peoples, it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people.
  • No argument can persuade me to like oysters if I do not like them. In other words, the disturbing thing about matters of taste is that they are not communicable.
  • The ultimate end of human acts is eudaimonia, happiness in the sense of living well, which all men desire; all acts are but different means chosen to arrive at it.
  • All political institutions are manifestations and materializations of power; they petrify and decay as soon as the living power of the people ceases to uphold them.
  • Lacking the truth, [we] will however finds instants of truth, and these instants are in fact all we have available to us to give some order to this chaos of horror.
  • While strength is the natural quality of an individual seen in isolation, power springs up between men when they act together and vanishes the moment they disperse.
  • It is quite gratifying to feel guilty if you haven’t done anything wrong: how noble! Whereas it is rather hard and certainly depressing to admit guilt and to repent.
  • Loving life is easy when you are abroad. Where no one knows you and you hold your life in your hands all alone, you are more master of yourself than at any other time
  • Economic growth may one day turn out to be a curse rather than a good, and under no conditions can it either lead into freedom or constitute a proof for its existence.
  • Clich√©s, stock phrases, adherence to conventional, standardized codes of expression and conduct have the socially recognized function of protecting us against reality.
  • Absence of thought is indeed a powerful factor in human affairs, statistically speaking the most powerful, not just in the conduct of the many but in the conduct of all.
  • power can be thought of as the never-ending, self-feeding motor of all political action that corresponds to the legendary unending accumulation of money that begets money.
  • To be sure, nothing is more important to the integrity of the universities . . . than a rigorously enforced divorce from war-oriented research and all connected enterprises.
  • Poetry, whose material is language, is perhaps the most human and least worldly of the arts, the one in which the end product remains closest to the thought that inspired it.
  • Our tradition of political thought had its definite beginning in the teachings of Plato and Aristotle. I believe it came to a no less definite end in the theories of Karl Marx.
  • It belongs among the refinements of totalitarian government in our century that they don’t permit their opponents to die a great, dramatic martyr’s death for their convictions.
  • Thinking withdraws radically and for its own sake from this world and its evidential nature, whereas science profits from a possible withdrawal for the sake of specific results.
  • Nobody is the author or producer of his own life story … somebody began it and is its subject in the twofold sense, namely, its actor and sufferer … but nobody is the author.
  • Since one cannot educate adults, the word “education” has an evil sound in politics; there is a pretense of education, when the real purpose is coercion without the use of force.
  • The saving grace of all really great gifts is that the persons who bear their burden remain superior to what they have done, at least as long as the source of creativity is alive.
  • Mathematics, the non-empirical science par excellence . . . the science of sciences, delivering the key to those laws of nature and the universe which are concealed by appearances.
  • If men were ever to lose the appetite for meaning we call thinking, they would lose the capacity for asking all the unanswerable questions upon which every civilization is founded.
  • Man cannot be free if he does not know that he is subject to necessity, because his freedom is always won in his never wholly successful attempts to liberate himself from necessity.
  • It is my contention that civil disobediences are nothing but the latest form of voluntary association, and that they are thus quite in tune with the oldest traditions of the country.
  • The defiance of established authority, religious and secular, social and political, as a world-wide phenomenon may well one day be accounted the outstanding event of the last decade.
  • Exactly for the sake of what is new and revolutionary in every child, education must be conservative; it must preserve this newness and introduce it as a new thing into an old world.
  • I know exactly what I want to write. I do not write until I do. Usually I write it all down only once. And that goes relatively quickly, since it really depends only on how fast I type.
  • It is obvious: if you do not accept something that assumes the form of destiny,’ you not only change its natural laws’ but also the laws of the enemy playing the role of fate.
  • No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.
  • The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists.
  • In the era of imperialism, businessmen became politicians and were acclaimed as statesmen, while statesmen were taken seriously only if they talked the language of succcessful businessmen.
  • Violence can always destroy power; out of the barrel of a gun grows the most effective command, resulting in the most instant and perfect obedience. What never can grow out of it is power.
  • A theology which is not based on revelation as a given reality but treats God as an idea would be as mad as a zoology which is no longer sure of the physical, tangible existence of animals.
  • The cultural treasures of the past, believed to be dead, are being made to speak, in the course of which it turns out that they propose things altogether different than what had been thought.
  • Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.
  • Legitimacy, when challenged, bases itself on an appeal to the past, while justification relates to an end that lies in the future. Violence can be justifiable, but it never will be legitimate.
  • Love, by its very nature, is unworldly, and it is for this reason rather than its rarity that it is not only apolitical but antipolitical, perhaps the most powerful of all antipolitical forces.
  • If the ability to tell right from wrong should have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to ‘demand’ its exercise in every sane person no matter how erudite or ignorant.
  • … we may remember what the Romansthought a cultivated person ought to be: one who knows how to choose his company among men, among things, among thoughts, in the present as well as in the past.
  • Solitude is the human condition in which I keep myself company. Loneliness comes about when I am alone without being able to split up into the two-in-one, without being able to keep myself company.
  • It is the nature of beginning that something new is started which cannot be expected from whatever may have happened before. This character of startling unexpectedness is inherent in all beginnings.
  • The strength of even the strongest individual can always be overpowered by the many, who often will combine for no other purpose than to ruin strength precisely because of its peculiar independence.
  • If a given science accidentally reached its goal, this would by no means stop the workers in the field, who would be driven past their goal by the sheer momentum of the illusion of unlimited progress.
  • Where all are guilty, no one is; confessions of collective guilt are the best possible safeguard against the discovery of culprits, and the very magnitude of the crime the best excuse for doing nothing.
  • It is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong, because you can remain the friend of the sufferer; who would want to be the friend of and have to live together with a murderer? Not even another murderer.
  • What really distinguishes this generation in all countries from earlier generations … is its determination to act, its joy in action, the assurance of being able to change things by one’s own efforts.
  • The more dubious and uncertain an instrument violence has become in international relations, the more it has gained in reputation and appeal in domestic affairs, specifically in the matter of revolution.
  • It is a secret from nobody that the famous random event is most likely to arise from those parts of the world where the old adage”There is no alternative to victory” retains a high degree of plausibility.
  • And the distinction between violent and non-violent action is that the former is exclusively bent upon the destruction of the old, and the latter is chiefly concerned with the establishment of something new.
  • Kant … discovered “the scandal of reason,” that is the fact that our mind is not capable of certain and verifiable knowledge regarding matters and questions that it nevertheless cannot help thinking about.
  • Plurality of languages: […] It is crucial 1. that there are many languages and that they differ not only in vocabulary, but also in grammar, and so in mode of thought and 2. that all languages are learnable.
  • Of all human activities, only labor, and neither action nor work, is unending, progressing automatically in accordance with life itself and outside the range of willful decisions or humanly meaningful purposes.
  • Action painting has to do with self-creation or self-definition or self-transcendence; but this dissociates it from self-expression, which assumes the acceptance of the ego as it is, with its wound and its magic.
  • Basically we are always educating for a world that is or is becoming out of joint, for this is the basic human situation, in which the world is created by mortal hands to serve mortals for a limited time as home.
  • There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect, but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say.
  • [About Eichmann:] It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us – the lesson of the fearsome, word-and-thought-defying banality of evil.
  • Kant … stated that he had “found it necessary to deny knowledge … to make room for faith,” but all he had “denied” was knowledge of things that are unknowable, and he had not made room for faith but for thought.
  • For no matter what learned scientists may say, race is, politically speaking, not the beginning of humanity but its end, not the origin of peoples but their decay, not the natural birth of man but his unnatural death.
  • Men, forever tempted to lift the veil of the future-with the aid of computers or horoscopes or the intestines of sacrificial animals-have a worse record to show in these sciences than in almost any scientific endeavor.
  • The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.
  • According to bourgeois standards, those who are completely unlucky and unsuccessful are automatically barred from competition, which is the life of society. Good fortune is identified with honor, and bad luck with shame.
  • The individual who has been liberated by reason is always running head-on into a world, a society, whose past in the shape of ‘prejudices’ has a great deal of power; he is forced to learn that past reality is also a reality.
  • Legends have always played a powerful role in the making of history. … Without ever relating facts reliably, yet always expressing their true significance, they offered a truth beyond realities, a remembrance beyond memories.
  • It is in the very nature of things human that every act that has once made its appearance and has been recorded in the history of mankind stays with mankind as a potentiality long after its actuality has become a thing of the past.
  • The most striking difference between ancient and modern sophists is that the ancients were satisfied with a passing victory of argument at the expense of truth, whereas the moderns want a more lasting victory at the expense of reality.
  • It is a society of laborers which is about to be liberated from the ferrets of labor, and this society does no longer know of those other higher and more meaningful activities for the sake of which this freedom would deserve to be won.
  • I’m more than ever of the opinion that a decent human existence is possible today only on the fringes of society, where one then runs the risk of starving or being stoned to death. In these circumstances, a sense of humor is a great help.
  • Without being forgiven, released from the consequences of what we have done, our capacity to act would, as it were, be confined to one single deed from which we could never recover; we would remain the victims of its consequences forever.
  • If it is true … that no one has a life worth thinking about whose life story cannot be told, does it not then follow that life could be, even ought to be, lived as a story, that what one has to do in life is to make the story come true?
  • The totalitarian attempt at global conquest and total domination has been the destructive way out of all impasses. Its victory may coincide with the destruction of humanity; wherever it has ruled, it has begun to destroy the essence of man.
  • Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it and by the same token save it from that ruin which, except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and young, would be inevitable.
  • Could the activity of thinking as such, the habit of examining whatever happens to come to pass or to attract attention, regardless of results and specific content, could this activity be among the conditions that make men abstain from evil-doing?
  • The need of reason is not inspired by the quest for truth but by the quest for meaning. And truth and meaning are not the same. The basic fallacy , taking precedence over all specific metaphysical fallacies, is to interpret meaning on the model of truth.
  • Men who no longer can make sure of the reality which they feel and experience through talking about it and sharing it with their fellow-men, live in the same nightmare of loneliness and uncertainty which, in a normal world, is the terrible fate of insanity.
  • Thought … is still possible, and no doubt actual, wherever men live under the conditions of political freedom. Unfortunately … no other human capacity is so vulnerable, and it is in fact far easier to act under conditions of tyranny than it is to think.
  • There always comes a point beyond which lying becomes counterproductive. This point is reached when the audience to which the lies are addressed is forced to disregard altogether the distinguishing line between truth and falsehood in order to be able to survive.
  • His [Marx’s] most explosive and indeed most original contribution to the cause of revolution was that he interpreted the compelling needs of mass poverty in political terms as an uprising, not for the sake of bread or wealth, but for the sake of freedom as well.
  • the touchstone of a free act – from the decision to get out of bed in the morning or take a walk in the afternoon to the highest resolutions by which we bind ourselves for the future – is always that we know that we could also have left undone what we actually did.
  • the insight that peace is the end of war, and that therefore a war is the preparation for peace, is at least as old as Aristotle, and the pretense that the aim of an armament race is to guard the peace is even older, namely as old as the discovery of propaganda lies.
  • Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists, there may be moods -moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former -but no opinion.
  • No punishment has ever possessed enough power of deterrence to prevent the commission of crimes. On the contrary, whatever the punishment, once a specific crime has appeared for the first time, its reappearance is more likely than its initial emergence could ever have been.
  • Men always want to be terribly influential, but I see that as somewhat external. Do I imagine myself being influential? No. I want to understand. And if others understand–in the same sense that I have understood–that gives me a sense of satisfaction, like feeling at home.
  • Ideologies – isms which to the satisfaction of their adherents can explain everything and every occurence by deducing it from a single premise – are a very recent phenomenon … Not before Hitler and Stalin were the great political potentialities of the ideologies discovered.
  • every political structure, new or old, left to itself develops stabilizing forces which stand in the way of constant transformation and expansion. Therefore all political bodies appear to be temporary obstacles when they are seen as part of an eternal stream of growing power.
  • It is in the nature of all party systems that the authentically political talents can assert themselves only in rare cases, and it is even rarer that the specifically political qualifications survive the petty maneuvers of party politics with its demands for plain salesmanship.
  • You think that you can judge what’s good or evil from whether you enjoy doing it or not. You think that evil is what always appears in the form of a temptation, while good is what you never spontaneously want to do. I think this is all total rubbish, if you don’t mind my saying so.
  • Ideological thinking becomes emancipated from the reality that we perceive with our five senses, and insists on a ‘truer’ reality concealed behind all perceptible things, dominating them from this place of concealment and requiring a sixth sense that enables us to become aware of it.
  • A life spent entirely in public, in the presence of others, becomes, as we would say, shallow. While it retains its visibility, it loses its quality of rising into sight from some darker ground which must remain hidden if it is not to lose its depth in a very real, non-subjective sense.
  • The monstrous sameness and pervasive ugliness so highly characteristic of the findings of modern psychology, and contrasting so obviously with the enormous variety and richness of overt human conduct, witness to the radical difference between the inside and the outside of the human body.
  • Manipulations of opinion, insofar as they are inspired by well-defined interests, have limited goals; their effect, however, if they happen to touch upon an issue of authentic concern, is no longer subject to their control and may easily produce consequences they never foresaw or intended.
  • The ceaseless, senseless demand for original scholarship in a number of fields, where only erudition is now possible, has led either to sheer irrelevancy, the famous knowing of more and more about less and less, or to the development of a pseudo-scholarship which actually destroys its object.
  • Even though we have lost yardsticks by which to measure, and rules under which to subsume the particular, a being whose essence is a beginning may have enough of origin within himself to understand without preconceived categories and to judge without the set of customary rules which is morality.
  • Factual truth is always related to other people: it concerns events and circumstances in which many are involved; it is established by witnesses and depends upon testimony; it exists only to the extent that it is spoken about, even if it occurs in the domain of privacy. It is political by nature.
  • The human condition is such that pain and effort are not just symptoms which can be removed without changing life itself; they are the modes in which life itself, together with the necessity to which it is bound, makes itself felt. For mortals, the easy life of the gods would be a lifeless life.
  • Totalitarianism is never content to rule by external means, namely, through the state and a machinery of violence; thanks to its peculiar ideology and the role assigned to it in this apparatus of coercion, totalitarianism has discovered a means of dominating and terrorizing human beings from within.
  • The concept of unlimited expansion that alone can fulfill the hope for unlimited accumulation of capital, and brings about the aimless accumulation of power, makes the foundation of new political bodies – which up to the era of imperialism always had been the upshot of conquest – well-nigh impossible.
  • There are no parallels to the life of the concentration camps. All seeming parallels create confusion and distract attention from what is essential. Forced labor in prisons and penal colonies, banishment, slavery, all seem for a moment to offer helpful comparisons, but on closer examination lead nowhere.
  • Kant … was also quite aware that “the urgent need” of reason is both different from and “more than mere quest and desire for knowledge.” Hence, the distinguishing of the two faculties, reason and intellect, coincides with a distinction between two altogether different mental activities, thinking and knowing.
  • Rage is by no means an automatic reaction to misery and suffering as such; no one reacts with rage to an incurable disease or to an earthquake or, for that matter, to social conditions that seem to be unchangeable. Only where there is reason to suspect that conditions could be changed and are not does rage arise.
  • No civilization would ever have been possible without a framework of stability, to provide the wherein for the flux of change. Foremost among the stabilizing factors, more enduring than customs, manners and traditions, are the legal systems that regulate our life in the world and our daily affairs with each other.
  • The will to power, as the modern age from Hobbes to Nietzsche understood it, far from being a characteristic of the strong, is, like envy and greed, among the vices of the weak, and possibly even their most dangerous one. Power corrupts indeed when the weak band together in order to ruin the strong, but not before.
  • Immortality is what nature possesses without effort and without anybody’s assistance, and immortality is what the mortals must therefore try to achieve if they want to live up to the world into which they were born, to live up to the things which surround them and to whose company they are admitted for a short while.
  • By assigning his political rights to the state the individual also delegates his social responsibilities to it: he asks the state to relieve him of the burden of caring for the poor precisely as he asks for protection against criminals. The difference between pauper and criminal disappears – both stand outside society.
  • Caution in handling generally accepted opinions that claim to explain whole trends of history is especially important for the historian of modern times, because the last century has produced an abundance of ideologies that pretend to be keys to history but are actually nothing but desperate efforts to escape responsibility.
  • Freedom from labor itself is not new; it once belonged among the most firmly established privileges of the few. In this instance, it seems as though scientific progress and technical developments had been only taken advantage of to achieve something about which all former ages dreamed but which none had been able to realize.
  • The result of a consistent and total substitution of lies for factual truth is not that the lie will now be accepted as truth, and truth be defamed as lie, but that the sense by which we take our bearings in the real world – and the category of truth versus falsehood is among the mental means to this end – is being destroyed.
  • Expulsion and genocide, though both are international offenses, must remain distinct; the former is an offense against fellow-nations, whereas the latter is an attack upon human diversity as such, that is, upon a characteristic of the “human status” without which the very words “mankind” or “humanity” would be devoid of meaning.
  • Culture is being threatened when all worldly objects and things, produced by the present or the past, are treated as mere functions for the life process of society, as though they are there only to fulfill some need, and for this functionalization it is almost irrelevant whether the needs in question are of a high or a low order.
  • What will happen once the authentic mass man takes over, we do not know yet, although it may be a fair guess that he will have more in common with the meticulous, calculated correctness of Himmler than with the hysterical fanaticism of Hitler, will more resemble the stubborn dullness of Molotov than the sensual vindictive cruelty of Stalin.
  • There is all the difference in the world between the criminal’s avoiding the public eye and the civil disobedience’s taking the law into his own hands in open defiance. This distinction between an open violation of the law, performed in public, and a clandestine one is so glaringly obvious that it can be neglected only by prejudice or ill will.
  • The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together.
  • There exists in our society widespread fear of judging‚ ¶[B]ehind the unwillingness to judge lurks the suspicion that no one is a free agent, and hence doubt that anyone is responsible or could be expected to answer for what he has done‚ĶWho has ever maintained that by judging a wrong I presuppose that I myself would be incapable of committing it?
  • Political institutions, no matter how well or badly designed, depend for continued existence upon acting men; their conservation is achieved by the same means that brought them into being. Independent existence marks the work of art as a product of making; utter dependence upon further acts to keep it in existence marks the state as a product of action.
  • The heritage of the American Revolution is forgotten, and the American government, for better and for worse, has entered into theheritage of Europe as though it were its patrimony–unaware, alas, of the fact that Europe’s declining power was preceded and accompanied by political bankruptcy, the bankruptcy of the nation-state and its concept of sovereignty.
  • Even in the darkest of times we have the right to expect some illumination, and … such illumination may well come less from theories and concepts than from the uncertain, flickering, and often weak light that some men and women, in their lives and their works, will kindle under almost all circumstances and shed over the time-span that was given them on earth.
  • The chief reason warfare is still with us is neither a secret death-wish of the human species, nor an irrepressible instinct of aggression, nor, finally and more plausibly, the serious economic and social dangers inherent in disarmament, but the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.
  • Slavery’s crime against humanity did not begin when one people defeated and enslaved its enemies (though of course this was bad enough), but when slavery became an institution in which some men were ‘born’ free and others slave, when it was forgotten that it was man who had deprived his fellow-men of freedom, and when the sanction for the crime was attributed to nature.
  • In contrast to revenge, which is the natural, automatic reaction to transgression and which, because of the irreversibility of the action process can be expected and even calculated, the act of forgiving can never be predicted; it is the only reaction that acts in an unexpected way and thus retains, though being a reaction, something of the original character of action.
  • Predictions of the future are never anything but projections of present automatic processes and procedures, that is, of occurrences that are likely to come to pass if men do not act and if nothing unexpected happens; every action, for better or worse, and every accident necessarily destroys the whole pattern in whose frame the prediction moves and where it finds its evidence.
  • It is in the very nature of a beginning to carry with itself a measure of complete arbitrariness. Not only is it not bound into a reliable chain of cause and effect, a chain in which each effect immediately turns into the cause for future developments, the beginning has, as it were, nothing whatever to hold on to; it is as though it came out of nowhere in either time or space.
  • The concentration camps, by making death itself anonymous (making it impossible to find out whether a prisoner is dead or alive), robbed death of its meaning as the end of a fulfilled life. In a sense they took away the individual’s own death, proving that henceforth nothing belonged to him and he belonged to no one. His death merely set a seal on the fact that he had never existed.
  • There will always be One against All, one person against all others. [This is so] not because One is terribly wise and All are terribly foolish, but because the process of thinking and researching, which finally yields truth, can only be accomplished by an individual person. In its singularity or duality, one human being seeks and finds ‚Äì not the truth (Lessing) ‚Äì, but some truth.
  • Our Last Will and Testament, providing for the only future of which we can be reasonably certain, namely our own death, shows thatthe Will’s need to will is no less strong than Reason’s need to think; in both instances the mind transcends its own natural limitations, either by asking unanswerable questions or by projecting itself into a future which, for the willing subject, will never be.
  • the right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right … Even political rights, like the right to vote, and nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs.
  • This inability to think created the possibility for many ordinary men to commit evil deeds on a gigantic scale, the like of which had never been seen before. The manifestation of the wind of thought is not knowledge but the ability to tell right from wrong, beautiful from ugly. And I hope that thinking gives people the strength to prevent catastrophes in these rare moments when the chips are down.
  • That Hegelian dialectics should provide a wonderful instrument for always being right, because they permit the interpretations of all defeats as the beginning of victory, is obvious. One of the most beautiful examples of this kind of sophistry occurred after 1933 when the German Communists for nearly two years refused to recognize that Hitler’s victory had been a defeat for the German Communist Party.
  • At any rate, nothing was more characteristic of him [Walter Benjamin] in the thirties than the little notebooks with black covers which he always carried with him and in which he tirelessly entered in the form of quotations what daily living and reading netted him in the way of “pearls” and “coral.” On occasion he read from them aloud, showed them around like items from a choice and precious collection.
  • Our problem today is not how to expropriate the expropriators but, rather, how to arrange matters so that the masses, dispossessed by industrial society in capitalist and socialist systems, can regain property. For this reason alone, the alternative between capitalism and socialism is false-not only because neither exists anywhere in its pure state anyhow, but because we have here twins, each wearing different hats.
  • If the world is to contain a public space, it cannot be erected for one generation and planned for the living only; it must transcend the life-span of mortal men‚Ķ. There is perhaps no clearer testimony to the loss of the public realm in the modern age than the almost complete loss of authentic concern with immortality, a loss somewhat overshadowed by the simultaneous loss of the metaphysical concern with eternity.
  • The history of humanity is not a hotel where someone can rent a room whenever it suits him; nor is it a vehicle which we board or get out of at random. Our past will be for us a burden beneath which we can only collapse for as long as we refuse to understand the present and fight for a better future. Only then ‚Äî but from that moment on ‚Äî will the burden become a blessing, that is, a weapon in the battle for freedom.
  • Politically speaking, tribal nationalism [patriotism] always insists that its own people are surrounded by ‘a world of enemies’ – ‘one against all’ – and that a fundamental difference exists between this people and all others. It claims its people to be unique, individual, incompatible with all others, and denies theoretically the very possibility of a common mankind long before it is used to destroy the humanity of man.
  • If the ability to tell right from wrong should turn out to have anything to do with the ability to think, then we must be able to “demand” its exercise from every sane person, no matter how erudite or ignorant, intelligent or stupid, he may happen to be. Kant in this respect almost alone among the philosophers was much bothered by the common opinion that philosophy is only for the few, precisely because of its moral implications.
  • The human condition comprehends more than the condition under which life has been given to man. Men are conditioned beings because everything they come in contact with turns immediately into a condition of their existence. The world in which the vita activa spends itself consists of things produced by human activities; but the things that owe their existence exclusively to men nevertheless constantly condition their human makers.
  • Without being bound to the fulfillment of promises, we would never be able to keep our identities; we would be condemned to wanderhelplessly and without direction in the darkness of each man’s lonely heart, caught in its contradictions and equivocalities–a darkness which only the light shed over the public realm through the presence of others, who confirm the identity between the one who promises and the one who fulfills, can dispel.
  • The possible redemption from the predicament of irreversibility‚îÄ‚îÄof being unable to undo what one has done‚îÄ‚îÄis the faculty of forgiving. The remedy for unpredictability, for the chaotic uncertainty of the future, is contained in the faculty to make and keep promises. Both faculties depend upon plurality, on the presence and acting of others, for no man can forgive himself and no one can be bound by a promise made only to himself.
  • As witnesses not of our intentions but of our conduct, we can be true or false, and the hypocrite’s crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.
  • Exasperation with the threefold frustration of action — the unpredictability of its outcome, the irreversibility of the process, and the anonymity of its authors — is almost as old as recorded history. It has always been a great temptation, for men of action no less than for men of thought, to find a substitute for action in the hope that the realm of human affairs may escape the haphazardness and moral irresponsibility inherent in a plurality of agents.
  • Power corresponds to the human ability not just to act but to act in concert. Power is never the property of an individual; it belongs to a group and remains in existence only so long as the group keeps together. When we say of somebody that he is ‘in power’ we actually refer to his being empowered by a certain number of people to act in their name. The moment the group, from which the power originated to begin with … disappears, ‘his power’ also vanishes.
  • the public sphere is as consistently based on the law of equality as the private sphere is based on the law of universal difference and differentiation. Equality, in contrast to all that is involved in mere existence, is not given us, but is the result of human organization insofar as it is guided by the principle of justice. We are not born equal; we become equal as members of a group on the strength of our decision to guarantee ourselves mutually equal rights.
  • … whatever men do or know or experience can make sense only to the extent that it can be spoken about. There may be truths beyond speech, and they may be of great relevance to man in the singular, that is, to man in so far as he is not a political being, whatever else he may be. Men in the plural, that is, men in so far as they live and move and act in this world, can experience meaningfulness only because they can talk with and make sense to each other and to themselves.
  • … the loss of belief in future states is politically, though certainly not spiritually, the most significant distinction betweenour present period and the centuries before. And this loss is definite. For no matter how religious our world may turn again, or how much authentic faith still exists in it, or how deeply our moral values may be rooted in our religious systems, the fear of hell is no longer among the motives which would prevent or stimulate the actions of a majority.
  • the greater the bureaucratization of public life, the greater will be the attraction of violence. In a fully developed bureaucracy there is nobody left with whom one can argue, to whom one can represent grievances, on whom the pressures of power can be exerted. Bureaucracy is the form of government in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.
  • When we were told that by freedom we understood free enterprise, we did very little to dispel this monstrous falsehood. Wealth and economic well-being, we have asserted, are the fruits of freedom, while we should have been the first to know that this kind of happiness has been an unmixed blessing only in this country, and it is a minor blessing compared with the truly political freedoms, such as freedom of speech and thought, of assembly and association, even under the best conditions.
  • Walter Benjamin knew that the break in tradition and loss of authority which occurred in his lifetime were irreparable, and he concluded that he had to discover new ways of dealing with the past. In this he became a master when he discovered that the transmissibility of the past had been replaced by the citability and that in place of its authority there had arisen a strange power to settle down, piecemeal, in the present and to deprive it of peace of mind,’ the mindless peace of complacency.
  • We are wont to see friendship solely as a phenomenon of intimacy in which the friends open their hearts to each other unmolested by the world and its demands…Thus it is hard for us to understand the political relevance of friendship…But for the Greeks the essence of friendship consisted in discourse…The converse (in contrast to the intimate talk in which individuals speak about themselves), permeated though it may be by pleasure in the friend’s presence, is concerned with the common world.
  • … we have almost succeeded in leveling all human activities to the common denominator of securing the necessities of life and providing for their bundance. Whatever we do, we are supposed to do for the sake of “making a living;” such is the verdict of society, and the number of people, especially in the professions who might challenge it, has decreased rapidly. The only exception society is willing to grant is to the artist, who, strictly speaking, is the only “worker” left in a laboring society.
  • For the lesson of such stories [of resistance to Nazi atrocities] is simple and within everybody’s grasp. Politically speaking, it is that under conditions of terror, most people will comply but some people will not, just as the lesson of the countries to which the Final Solution was proposed is that “it could happen” in most places but it did not happen everywhere. Humanly speaking, no more is required, and no more can reasonably be asked, for this planet to remain a place fit for human habitation.
  • It is indeed my opinion now that evil is never ‚Äúradical,‚Äù that it is only extreme, and that it possess neither depth nor any demonic dimension. It can overgrow and lay waste the whole world precisely because it spreads like fungus on the surface. It is ‚Äúthought-defying,‚Äù as I said, because thought tries to reach some depth, to go to the roots, and the moment it concerns itself with evil, it is frustrated because there is nothing. That is its ‚Äúbanality.‚Äù Only the good has depth and can be radical.
  • When we think of a criminal, we imagine someone with criminal motives. And when we look at Eichmann, he doesn’t actually have any criminal motives. Not what is usually understood by “criminal motives.” He wanted to go along with the rest. He wanted to say “we,” and going-along-with-the-rest and wanting-to-say-we like this were quite enough to make the greatest of all crimes possible. The Hitlers, after all, really aren’t the ones who are typical in this kind of situation–they’d be powerless without the support of others.
  • There is no lasting happiness outside the prescribed cycle of painful exhaustion and pleasurable regeneration, and whatever throws this cycle out of balance ‚Äì poverty and misery where exhaustion is followed by wretchedness instead of regeneration, or great riches and an entirely effortless life where boredom takes the place of exhaustion and where the mills of necessity, of consumption and digestion, grind an impotent human body mercilessly and barrenly to death ‚ ruins the elemental happiness that comes from being alive.
  • Jefferson, though the secret vote was still unknown at the time had at least a foreboding of how dangerous it might be to allow the people to share a public power without providing them at the same time with more public space than the ballot box and with more opportunity to make their voices heard in public than on election day. What he perceived to be the mortal danger to the republic was that the Constitution had given all power to the citizens, without giving them the opportunity of being citizens and of acting as citizens.
  • Just as the law in civilized countries assumes that the voice of conscience tells everybody, “Thou shalt not kill,” even though man’s natural desires and inclinations may at times be murderous, so the law of Hitler’s land demanded that the voice of conscience tell everybody: “Thou shalt kill,” although the organizers of the massacres knew full well that murder is against the normal desires and inclinations of most people. Evil in the Third Reich had lost the quality by which most people recognize it – the quality of temptation.
  • The role played by education in all political utopias from ancient times onward shows how natural it seems to start a new world with those who are by birth and nature new. So far as politics is concerned, this involves of course a serious misconception: instead of joining with one’s equals in assuming the effort of persuasion and running the risk of failure, there is dictatorial intervention, based upon the absolute superiority of the adult, and the attempt to produce the new as a fait accompli, that is, as though the new already existed.
  • Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it, and by the same token save it from that ruin which except for renewal, except for the coming of the new and the young, would be inevitable. And education, too, is where we decide whether we love our children enough not to expel them from our world and leave them to their own devices, nor to strike from their hands their chance of undertaking something new, something unforeseen by us, but to prepare them in advance for the task of renewing a common world.
  • in addition to the conditions under which life is given to man on earth, and partly out of them, men constantly create their own, self-made conditions, which, their human origins notwithstanding, possess the same conditioning power as natural things. whatever touches or enters into a sustained relationship with human life immediately assumes the character of a condition of human existence. this is why men, no matter what they do, are always conditioned beings. whatever enters the human world of its own accord or is drawn into it by human effort becomes part of the human condition.

 

 

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (quotes)

  • Nature does not make leaps.
  • All things in God are spontaneous.
  • There is nothing without a reason.
  • The present is big with the future.
  • He who does not act does not exist.
  • The present is great with the future.
  • The past is pregnant with the present.
  • This is the best of all possible worlds.
  • We live in the best of all possible worlds
  • Why is there something rather than nothing?
  • Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic.
  • Discourse on Metaphysics and the Monadology.
  • Justice is charity in accordance with wisdom.
  • Everything that is possible demands to exist.
  • …every feeling is the perception of a truth…
  • Everything that is possible demands to exist.
  • The most perfect society is that whose purpose
  • Virtue is the habit of acting according to wisdom.
  • Nothing is necessitated whose opposite is possible.
  • A great doctor kills more people than a great general.
  • To love is to place happiness in the heart of another.
  • TO LOVE is to find pleasure in the happiness of others.
  • To love is to place happiness in the heart of another….
  • Nihil est sine ratione. There is nothing without a reason.
  • Why is there anything at all rather than nothing whatsoever?
  • He who hasn’t tasted bitter things hasn’t earned sweet things.
  • It’s easier to be original and foolish than original and wise.
  • I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity.
  • The World of Mathematics. Book by James R. Newman, p. 1832, 1956.
  • I do not conceive of any reality at all as without genuine unity.
  • Music is a secret and unconscious mathematical problem of the soul.
  • Take what you need, do what you should, you will get what you want.
  • The present is saturated with the past and pregnant with the future.
  • The soul is the mirror of an indestructible universe. The Monadology.
  • The world is not a machine. Everything in it is force, life, thought.
  • There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact.
  • …as far as we are capable of knowledge we sin in neglecting to acquire it…
  • Make me the the master of education, and I will undertake to change the world.
  • But in simple substances the influence of one monad over another is ideal only.
  • Every substance is as a world apart, independent of everything else except God.
  • The most perfect society is that whose purpose is the universal and supreme happiness.
  • Music is the hidden arithmetical exercise of a mind unconscious that it is calculating.
  • Nothing is in the intellect that was not first in the senses, except the intellect itself.
  • Music is a hidden arithmetic exercise of the soul, which does not know that it is counting.
  • The words ‘Here you can find perfect peace’ can be written only over the gates of a cemetery.
  • For all bodies are in perpetual flux like rivers, and parts are passing in and out of them continually.
  • Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting.
  • Philosophy consists mostly of kicking up a lot of dust and then complaining that you can’t see anything.
  • God makes nothing without order, and everything that forms itself develops imperceptibly out of small parts.
  • There is a certain destiny of everything, regulated by the foreknowledge and providence of God in His works.
  • If you could blow the brain up to the size of a mill and walk about inside, you would not find consciousness.
  • The present is big with the future, the future might be read in the past, the distant is expressed in the near.
  • Indeed in general I hold that there is nothing truer than happiness, and nothing happier and sweeter than truth.
  • He who understands Archimedes and Apollonius will admire less the achievements of the foremost men of later times.
  • There is nothing waste, nothing sterile, nothing dead in the universe; no chaos, no confusions, save in appearance.
  • Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another.
  • It is worth noting that the notation facilitates discovery. This, in a most wonderful way, reduces the mind’s labour.
  • God’s relation to spirits is not like that of a craftsman to his work, but also like that of a prince to his subjects.
  • tags: antireductionism, holism, interconnectedness, microcosm, monad, part, substance, systems-theory, whole8 likesLike
  • Imaginary numbers are a fine and wonderful refuge of the divine spirit almost an amphibian between being and non-being.
  • I hold that it is only when we can prove everything we assert that we understand perfectly the thing under consideration.
  • New Essays Concerning Human Understanding with an Appealing. Transtated from the Original Latin, French and German Writeen,
  • Thus God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced.
  • Taking mathematics from the beginning of the world to the time when Newton lived, what he had done was much the better half.
  • imaginary numbers are a fine and wonderful resource of the divine intellect, almost an amphibian between being and non-being.
  • For I hold that it is only when we can prove everything we assert that we understand perfectly the thing under consideration.
  • Thus God alone is the primary Unity, or original simple substance, from which all monads, created and derived, are produced.
  • The pleasure we obtain from music comes from counting, but counting unconsciously. Music is nothing but unconscious arithmetic.
  • Perceptions which are at present insensible may grow some day: nothing is useless, and eternity provides great scope for change.
  • Every mind has a horizon in respect to its present intellectual capacity but not in respect to its future intellectual capacity.
  • If you have a clear idea of a soul, you will have a clear idea of a form; for it is of the same genus, though a different species.
  • There is no way in which a simple substance could begin in the course of nature, since it cannot be formed by means of compounding.
  • It is a good thing to proceed in order and to establish propositions. This is the way to gain ground and to progress with certainty.
  • There is nothing in the understanding which has not come from the senses, except the understanding itself, or the one who understands.
  • And there must be simple substances, because there are compounds; for the compound is nothing but a collection or aggregatum of simples.
  • Nothing is more important than to see the sources of invention which are, in my opinion more interesting than the inventions themselves.
  • Natural religion itself, seems to decay very much. Many will have human souls to be material: others make God himself a corporeal being.
  • To love is to take delight in happiness of another, or, what amounts to the same thing, it is to account another’s happiness as one’s own.
  • It is this way that in mathematics speculative theorems and practical canons are reduced by analysis to definitions, axioms and postulates.
  • To love is to be delighted by the happiness of someone, or to experience pleasure upon the happiness of another. I define this as true love.
  • The Elements of True Piety (1677). “The Shorter Leibniz Texts: A Collection of New Translations” edited by Lloyd H. Strickland, p. 189, 2006.
  • It is necessary to believe that the mixture of evil has produced the greatest possible good: otherwise the evil would not have been permitted.
  • The monad, of which we shall speak here, is nothing but a simple substance which enters into compounds; simple, that is to say, without parts.
  • And as every state of a simple substance is a natural consequence of its preceding state, so that the present state of it is big with the future.
  • Every present state of a simple substance is the natural consequence of its preceding state, in such a way that its present is big with its future.
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  • The means of obtaining as much variety as possible, but with the greatest possible order…is the means of obtaining as much perfection as possible.
  • It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labor of calculation which could be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.
  • I have said more than once, that I hold space to be something purely relative, as time; an order of coexistences, as time is an order of successions.
  • The greatness of a life can only be estimated by the multitude of its actions. We should not count the years, it is our actions which constitute our life.
  • It is unworthy of excellent men to lose hours like slaves in the labour of calculation which could safely be relegated to anyone else if machines were used.
  • The art of discovering the causes of phenomena, or true hypothesis, is like the art of decyphering, in which an ingenious conjecture greatly shortens the road.
  • We should like Nature to go no further; we should like it to be finite, like our mind; but this is to ignore the greatness and majesty of the Author of things.
  • It is God who is the ultimate reason for things, and the Knowledge of God is no less the beginning of science than his essence and will are the beginning of things.
  • The art of discovering the causes of phenomena, or true hypotheses, is like the art of deciphering, in which an ingenious conjecture often greatly shortens the road.
  • I also take it as granted that every created thing, and consequently the created monad also, is subject to change, and indeed that this change is continual in each one.
  • For since it is impossible for a created monad to have a physical influence on the inner nature of another, this is the only way in which one can be dependent on another.
  • I don’t say that bodies like flint, which are commonly called inanimate, have perceptions and appetition; rather they have something of that sort in them, as worms are in cheese.
  • It follows from what we have just said, that the natural changes of monads come from an internal principle, since an external cause would be unable to influence their inner being.
  • Therefore, I have attacted [the problem of the catenary] which I had hitherto not attempted, and with my key [the differential calculus] happily opened its secret. Acta eruditorum
  • I have so many ideas that may perhaps be of some use in time if others more penetrating than I go deeply into them someday and join the beauty of their minds to the labour of mine.
  • The ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.
  • Now where there are no parts, there neither extension, nor shape, nor divisibility is possible. And these monads are the true atoms of nature and, in a word, the elements of things.
  • Men act like brutes in so far as the sequences of their perceptions arise through the principle of memory only, like those empirical physicians who have mere practice without theory.
  • I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.
  • We may say, that not only the soul (the mirror of an indestructible universe) is indestructible, but also the animal itself is, although its mechanism is frequently destroyed in parts.
  • …a distinction must be made between true and false ideas, and that too much rein must not be given to a man’s imagination under pretext of its being a clear and distinct intellection.
  • Finally there are simple ideas of which no definition can be given; there are also axioms or postulates, or in a word primary principles, which cannot be proved and have no need of proof.
  • The knowledge which we have acquired ought not to resemble a great shop without order, and without an inventory; we ought to know what we possess, and be able to make it serve us in need.
  • Nothing is accomplished all at once, and it is one of my great maxims, and one of the most completely verified, that Nature makes no leaps: a maxim which I have called the law of continuity.
  • …it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths that distinguishes us from the mere animals and gives us Reason and the sciences, raising us to the knowledge of ourselves and of God…
  • This is why the ultimate reason of things must lie in a necessary substance, in which the differentiation of the changes only exists eminently as in their source; and this is what we call God.
  • When God works miracles, he does not do it in order to supply the wants of nature, but those of grace. Whoever thinks otherwise, must needs have a very mean notion of the wisdom and power of God.
  • Whence it follows that God is absolutely perfect, since perfection is nothing but magnitude of positive reality, in the strict sense, setting aside the limits or bounds in things which are limited.
  • I hold that the mark of a genuine idea is that its possibility can be proved, either a priori by conceiving its cause or reason, or a posteriori when experience teaches us that it is in fact in nature.
  • The mind is not only capable of knowing [innate ideas], but further of finding them in itself; and if it had only the simple capacity to receive knowledge…it would not be the source of necessary truths…
  • …if geometry were as much opposed to our passions and present interests as is ethics, we should contest it and violate I but little less, notwithstanding all the demonstrations of Euclid and Archimedes…
  • There are also two kinds of truths: truth of reasoning and truths of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible; those of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible.
  • One cannot explain words without making incursions into the sciences themselves, as is evident from dictionaries; and, conversely, one cannot present a science without at the same time defining its terms.
  • Of what use would it be to you, sir, to become King of China on condition that you forgot what you have been? Would it not be the same as if God, at the same time he destroyed you, created a King in China?
  • It can have its effect only through the intervention of God, inasmuch as in the ideas of God a monad rightly demands that God, in regulating the rest from the beginning of things, should have regard to itself.
  • The dot was introduced as a symbol for multiplication by Leibniz. On July 29, 1698, he wrote in a letter to Johann Bernoulli: “I do not like X as a symbol for multiplication, as it is easily confounded with x.
  • Our reasonings are grounded upon two great principles, that of contradiction, in virtue of which we judge false that which involves a contradiction, and true that which is opposed or contradictory to the false.
  • In symbols one observes an advantage in discovery which is greatest when they express the exact nature of a thing briefly and, as it were, picture it; then indeed the labor of thought is wonderfully diminished.
  • The dot was introduced as a symbol for multiplication by Leibniz. On July 29, 1698, he wrote in a letter to Johann Bernoulli: “I do not like X as a symbol for multiplication, as it is easily confounded with x…
  • We never have a full demonstration, although there is always an underlying reason for the truth, even if it is only perfectly understood by God, who alone penetrated the infinite series in one stroke of the mind.
  • I am convinced that the unwritten knowledge scattered among men of different callings surpasses in quantity and in importance anything we find in books, and that the greater part of our wealth has yet to be recorded.
  • For things remain possible, even if God does not choose them. Indeed, even if God does not will something to exist, it is possible for it to exist, since, by its nature, it could exist if God were to will it to exist.
  • Although the whole of this life were said to be nothing but a dream and the physical world nothing but a phantasm, I should call this dream or phantasm real enough, if, using reason well, we were never deceived by it.
  • Each portion of matter may be conceived of as a garden full of plants, and as a pond full of fishes. But each branch of the plant, each member of the animal, each drop of its humors, is also such a garden or such a pond.
  • For the [innate] general principles enter into our thoughts, of which they form the soul and the connection. They are as necessary thereto as the muscles and sinews are for walking, although we do not at all think of them.
  • [Alternate translation:] The Divine Spirit found a sublime outlet in that wonder of analysis, that portent of the ideal world, that amphibian between being and not-being, which we call the imaginary root of negative unity.
  • In my judgment an organic machine new to nature never arises, since it always contains an infinity of organs so that it can express, in its own way, the whole universe; indeed, it always contains all past and present times.
  • I am so in favor of the actual infinite that instead of admitting that Nature abhors it, as is commonly said, I hold that Nature makes frequent use of it everywhere, in order to show more effectively the perfections of its Author.
  • Indeed every monad must be different from every other. For there are never in nature two beings, which are precisely alike, and in which it is not possible to find some difference which is internal, or based on some intrinsic quality.
  • The larger the mass of collected things, the less will be their usefulness. Therefore, one should not only strive to assemble new goods from everywhere, but one must endeavor to put in the right order those that one already possesses.
  • There never is absolute birth nor complete death, in the strict sense, consisting in the separation of the soul from the body. What we call births are developments and growths, while what we call deaths are envelopments and diminutions.
  • There is a world of created beings – living things, animals, entelechies, and souls – in the least part of matter…. Thus there is nothing waste, nothing sterile, nothing dead in the universe; no chaos, no confusions, save in appearance.
  • But it is the knowledge of necessary and eternal truths which distinguishes us from mere animals, and gives us reason and the sciences, raising us to knowledge of ourselves and God. It is this in us which we call the rational soul or mind.
  • Either there are no corporeal substances, and bodies are merely phenomena which are true or consistent with each other, such as a rainbow or a perfectly coherent dream, or there is in all corporeal substances something analogous to the soul.
  • Now this connection or adaption of all created things with each, and of each with all the rest, means that each simple substance has relations which express all the others, and that consequently it is a perpetual living mirror of the universe.
  • I also readily admit that there are animals, taken in the ordinary sense, that are incomparably larger than those we know of, and I have sometimes said in jest that there might be a system like ours which is the pocketwatch of some enormous giant.
  • In whatever manner God created the world, it would always have been regular and in a certain general order. God, however, has chosen the most perfect, that is to say, the one which is at the same time the simplest in hypothesis and the richest in phenomena.
  • It has long seemed ridiculous to me to suppose that the nature of things has been so poor and stingy that it provided souls only to such a trifling mass of bodies on our globe, like human bodies, when it could have given them to all, without interfering with its other ends.
  • The mind leans on [innate] principles every moment, but it does not come so easily to distinguish them and to represent them distinctly and separately, because that demands great attention to its acts, and the majority of people, little accustomed to think, has little of it.
  • This interconnection or accommodation of all created things to each other, and each to all the others, brings it about that each simple substance has relations that express all the others, and consequently, that each simple substance is a perpetual, living mirror of the universe.
  • Reality cannot be found except in One single source, because of the interconnection of all things with one another. I maintain also that substances, whether material or immaterial, cannot be conceived in their bare essence without any activity, activity being of the essence of substance in general.
  • Nature has established patterns originating in the return of events, but only for the most part. New illnesses flood the human race, so that no matter how many experiments you have done on corpses, you have not thereby immposd a limit on the nature of events so that in the future they could not vary.
  • When a truth is necessary, the reason for it can be found by analysis, that is, by resolving it into simpler ideas and truths until the primary ones are reached. It is this way that in mathematics speculative theorems and practical canons are reduced by analysis to definitions, axioms and postulates.
  • I have seen something of the project of M. de St. Pierre, for maintaining a perpetual peace in Europe. I am reminded of a device in a cemetery, with the words: Pax perpetua ; for the dead do not fight any longer: but the living are of another humor; and the most powerful do not respect tribunals at all.
  • It is true that the more we see some connection in what happens to us, the more we are confirmed in the opinion we have about the reality of our appearances; and it is also true that the more we examine our appearances closely, the more we find them well-sequenced, as microscopes and other aids in making experiments have shown us.
  • God, possessing supreme and infinite wisdom, acts in the most perfect manner, not only metaphysically, but also morally speaking, and … with respect to ourselves, we can say that the more enlightened and informed we are about God’s works, the more we will be disposed to find them excellent and in complete conformity with what we might have desired.
  • There are also two kinds of truths, those of reasoning and those of fact. Truths of reasoning are necessary and their opposite is impossible: truths of fact are contingent and their opposite is possible. When a truth is necessary, reason can be found by analysis, resolving it into more simple ideas and truths, until we come to those which are primary.
  • Let there be two possible things, A and B, one of which is such that it is necessary that it exists, and let us assume that there is more perfection in A than in B. Then, at least, we can explain why A should exist rather than B and can foresee which of them will exist; indeed, this can be demonstrated, that is, rendered certain from the nature of the thing.
  • There are two famous labyrinths where our reason very often goes astray. One concerns the great question of the free and the necessary, above all in the production and the origin of Evil. The other consists in the discussion of continuity, and of the indivisibles which appear to be the elements thereof, and where the consideration of the infinite must enter in.
  • These principles have given me a way of explaining naturally the union or rather the mutual agreement [conformité] of the soul and the organic body. The soul follows its own laws, and the body likewise follows its own laws; and they agree with each other in virtue of the pre-established harmony between all substances, since they are all representations of one and the same universe.
  • And just as the same town, when looked at from different sides, appears quite different and is, as it were, multiplied in perspective, so also it happens that because of the infinite number of simple substances, it is as if there were as many different universes, which are however but different perspective representations of a single universe form the different point of view of each monad.
  • For, above all, I hold a notion of possibility and necessity according to which there are some things that are possible, but yet not necessary, and which do not really exist. From this it follows that a reason that always forces a free mind to choose one thing over another (whether that reason derives from the perfection of a thing, as it does in God, or from our imperfection) does not eliminate our freedom.
  • Now, as there is an infinity of possible universes in the Ideas of God, and as only one of them can exist, there must be a sufficient reason for God’s choice, which determines him toward one rather than another. And this reason can be found only in the fitness, or the degrees of perfection, that these worlds contain, since each possible thing has the right to claim existence in proportion to the perfection it involves.
  • If we were magically shrunk and put into someone’s brain while she was thinking, we would see all the pumps, pistons, gears and levers working away and we would be able to describe the workings completely, in mechanical terms, thereby completely describing the thought processes of the brain. But that description would not contain any mention of thought! It would contain nothing but descriptions of pumps, pistons, levers!
  • According to their [Newton and his followers] doctrine, God Almighty wants to wind up his watch from time to time: otherwise it would cease to move. He had not, it seems, sufficient foresight to make it a perpetual motion. Nay, the machine of God’s making, so imperfect, according to these gentlemen; that he is obliged to clean it now and then by an extraordinary concourse, and even to mend it, as clockmaker mends his work.
  • I agree with you that it is important to examine our presuppositions, throughly and once for all, in order to establish something solid. For I hold that it is only when we can prove all that we bring forward that we perfectly understand the thing under consideration. I know that the common herd takes little pleasure in these researches, but I know also that the common herd take little pains thoroughly to understand things.
  • There is no argument so cogent not only in demonstrating, the indestructibility of the soul, but also in showing that it always preserves in its nature traces of all its preceding states with a practical remembrance which can always be aroused. Since it has the consciousness of or knows in itself what each one calls his me. This renders it open to moral qualities, to chastisement and to recompense even after this life, for immortality without remembrance would be of no value.
  • I do not believe that a world without evil, preferable in order to ours, is possible; otherwise it would have been preferred. It is necessary to believe that the mixture of evil has produced the greatest possible good: otherwise the evil would not have been permitted. The combination of all the tendencies to the good has produced the best; but as there are goods that are incompatible together, this combination and this result can introduce the destruction of some good, and as a result some evil.
  • If we could sufficiently understand the order of the universe, we should find that it exceeds all the desires of the wisest men, and that it is impossible to make it better than it is, not only as a whole and in general but also for ourselves in particular, if we are attached, as we ought to be, to the Author of all, not only as to the architect and efficient cause of our being, but as to our master and to the final cause, which ought to be the whole aim of our will, and which can alone make our happiness.
  • All the different classes of beings which taken together make up the universe are, in the ideas of God who knows distinctly their essential gradations, only so many ordinates of a single curve so closely united that it would be impossible to place others between any two of them, since that would imply disorder and imperfection. Thus men are linked with the animals, these with the plants and these with the fossils which in turn merge with those bodies which our senses and our imagination represent to us as absolutely inanimate.

 

 

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (quotes)

  • The true is the whole.
  • God is the absolute truth…
  • History as the slaughter-bench
  • There are Plebes in all classes.
  • I have the courage to be mistaken.
  • War is progress, peace is stagnation.
  • World history is a court of judgment.
  • Too fair to worship, too divine to love.
  • Philosophy is the history of philosophy.
  • No man is a hero to his valet de chamber
  • In a true tragedy, both parties must be right.
  • The more certain our knowledge the less we know.
  • The substance, the essence, the Spirit is freedom.
  • The State is the Divine idea as it exists on Earth.
  • The real is the rational and the rational is the real.
  • We learn from history that we do not learn from history
  • In duty the individual acquires his substantive freedom
  • History teaches us that man learns nothing from history
  • To be aware of limitations is already to be beyond them.
  • What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational
  • To make abstractions hold in reality is to destroy reality.
  • Only one man ever understood me, and he didn’t understand me
  • Serious occupation is labor that has reference to some want.
  • Every idea, extended into infinity, becomes its own opposite.
  • Mere goodness can achieve little against the power of nature.
  • What is reasonable is real; that which is real is reasonable.
  • Beauty is merely the Spiritual making itself known sensuously.
  • Reading the morning newspaper is the realist’s morning prayer.
  • God is, as it were, the sewer into which all contradictions flow.
  • Life has value only when it has something valuable as its object.
  • The valor that struggles is better than the weakness that endures.
  • Whatever is reasonable is true, and whatever is true is reasonable
  • If you want to love you must serve, if you want freedom you must die.
  • Evil resides in the very gaze which perceives Evil all around itself.
  • The courage of the truth is the first condition of philosophic study.
  • We learn from history that man can never learn anything from history.
  • Amid the pressure of great events, a general principle gives no help.
  • Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.
  • The owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.
  • The people are that part of the state that does not know what it wants.
  • Truth in philosophy means that concept and external reality correspond.
  • To him who looks at the world rationally the world looks rationally back.
  • An individual piece only has meaning when it is seen as part of the whole.
  • Africa has no history and did not contribute to anything that mankind enjoyed.
  • The length of the journey has to be borne with, for every moment is necessary.
  • Destiny is consciousness of oneself, but consciousness of oneself as an enemy.
  • History is not the soil of happiness. The periods of happiness are blank pages in it.
  • The Few assume to be the deputies, but they are often only the despoilers of the Many.
  • Science and knowledge, especially that of philosophy, came from the Arabs into the West.
  • The Catholics had been in the position of oppressors, and the Protestants of the oppressed
  • The person must give himself an external sphere of freedom in order to have being as Idea.
  • The history of the world is none other than the progress of the , consciousness of freedom.
  • What history teaches us is that neither nations nor governments ever learn anything from it.
  • To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great.
  • Governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on principles deducted from it.
  • The spirit is never at rest, but always engaged in progressive motion, giving itself new form.
  • A man who has work that suits him and a wife, whom he loves, has squared his accounts with life.
  • India has created a special momentum in world history as a country to be searched for knowledge.
  • Propounding peace and love without practical or institutional engagement is delusion, not virtue.
  • The learner always begins by finding fault, but the scholar sees the positive merit in everything.
  • Before the end of Time will be the end of History. Before the end of History will be the end of Art.
  • It is because the method of physics does not satisfy the comprehension that we have to go on further.
  • No man is a hero to his valet. This is not because the hero is no hero, but because the valet is a valet.
  • The heart is everywhere, and each part of the organism is only the specialized force of the heart itself.
  • All education is the art of making men ethical (sittlich), of transforming the old Adam into the new Adam.
  • Truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in an emergent synthesis which reconciles the two.
  • An idea is always a generalization, and generalization is a property of thinking. To generalize means to think.
  • Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights.
  • Philosophy is by its nature something esoteric, neither made for the mob nor capable of being prepared for the mob.
  • The force of mind is only as great as its expression; its depth only as deep as its power to expand and lose itself.
  • It is a matter of perfect indifference where a thing originated; the only question is: Is it true in and for itself?
  • History in general is therefore the development of Spirit in Time, as Nature is the development of the Idea is Space.
  • To him who looks upon the world rationally, the world in its turn presents a rational aspect. The relation is mutual.
  • Philosophy must indeed recognize the possibility that the people rise to it, but must not lower itself to the people.
  • Mark this well, you proud men of action! you are, after all, nothing but unconscious instruments of the men of thought.
  • On the stage on which we are observing it, ‚Äî Universal History ‚Äî Spirit displays itself in its most concrete reality.
  • Once the state has been founded, there can no longer be any heroes. They come on the scene only in uncivilized conditions.
  • It is easier to discover a deficiency in individuals, in states, and in Providence, than to see their real import and value.
  • People who are too fastidious towards the finite never reach actuality, but linger in abstraction, and their light dies away.
  • America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that lie before us, the burden of the World’s History shall reveal itself.
  • The essence of the modern state is the union of the universal with the full freedom of the particular, and with the welfare of individuals.
  • As high as mind stands above nature, so high does the state stand above physical life. Man must therefore venerate the state as a secular deity.
  • The proofs of the existence of God are to such an extent fallen into discredit that they pass for something antiquated, belonging to days gone by.
  • Freedom is the fundamental character of the will, as weight is of matter… That which is free is the will. Will without freedom is an empty word.
  • The nature of finite things is to have the seed of their passing-away as their essential being: the hour of their birth is the hour of their death.
  • Animals are in possession of themselves; their soul is in possession of their body. But they have no right to their life, because they do not will it.
  • The state of man’s mind, or the elementary phase of mind which he so far possesses, conforms precisely to the state of the world as he so far views it
  • The State is the absolute reality and the individual himself has objective existence, truth and morality only in his capacity as a member of the State.
  • When liberty is mentioned, we must always be careful to observe whether it is not really the assertion of private interests which is thereby designated.
  • Consequently, the sensuous aspect of art is related only to the two theoretical sensesof sight and hearing, while smell, taste, and touch remain excluded.
  • When individuals and nations have once got in their heads the abstract concept of full-blown liberty, there is nothing like it in its uncontrollable strength.
  • Genuine tragedy is a case not of right against wrong but of right against right – two equally justified ethical principles embodied in people of unchangeable will.
  • The sublime in art is the attempt to express the infinite without finding in the realm of phenomena any object which proves itself fitting for this representation.
  • We do not need to be shoemakers to know if our shoes fit, and just as little have we any need to be professionals to acquire knowledge of matters of universal interest.
  • Impatience asks for the impossible, wants to reach the goal without the means of getting there. The length of the journey has to be borne with, for every moment is necessary.
  • Not curiosity, not vanity, not the consideration of expediency, not duty and conscientiousness, but an unquenchable, unhappy thirst that brooks no compromise leads us to truth.
  • The History of the world is not the theatre of happiness. Periods of happiness are blank pages in it, for they are periods of harmony–periods when the antithesis is in abeyance.
  • The people will learn to feel the dignity of man. They will not merely demand their rights, which have been trampled in the dust, but themselves will take them – make them their own.
  • When Philosophy with its abstractions paints grey in grey, the freshness and life of youth has gone, the reconciliation is not a reconciliation in the actual, but in the ideal world.
  • It strikes everyone in beginning to form an acquaintance with the treasures of Indian literature that a land so rich in intellectual products and those of the profoundest order of thought.
  • Children are potentially free and their life directly embodies nothing save potential freedom. Consequently they are not things and cannot be the property either of their parents or others.
  • Nothing great has been and nothing great can be accomplished without passion. It is only a dead, too often, indeed, a hypocriticalmoralizing which inveighs against the form of passion as such.
  • Poverty in itself does not make men into a rabble; a rabble is created only when there is joined to poverty a disposition of mind, an inner indignation against the rich, against society, against the government.
  • Reading the morning newspaper is the realist’s morning . One orients one’s attitude toward the either by or by what the world is. The former gives as much security as the latter, in that one knows how one stands.
  • The beginning of religion, more precisely its content, is the concept of religion itself, that God is the absolute truth, the truth of all things, and subjectively that religion alone is the absolutely true knoweldge.
  • What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational. On this conviction the plain man like the philosopher takes his stand,and from it philosophy starts in its study of the universe of mind as well as the universe of nature.
  • The man whom philosophy leaves cold, and the man whom real faith does not illuminate, may be assured that the fault lies in them, not in knowledge and faith. The former is still an alien to philosophy, the latter an alien to faith.
  • In history, we are concerned with what has been and what is; in philosophy, however, we are concerned not with what belongs exclusively to the past or to the future, but with that which is, both now and eternally ¬ó in short, with reason.
  • The true courage of civilized nations is readiness for sacrifice in the service of the state, so that the individual counts as only one amongst many. The important thing here is not personal mettle but aligning oneself with the universal.
  • The first glance at History convinces us that the actions of men proceed from their needs, their passions, their characters and talents; and impresses us with the belief that such needs, passions and interests are the sole spring of actions.
  • Poetry is the universal art of the spirit which has become free in itself and which is not tied down for its realization to external sensuous material; instead, it launches out exclusively in the inner space and the inner time of ideas and feelings.
  • It is solely by risking life that freedom is obtained; . . . the individual who has not staked his or her life may, no doubt, be recognized as a Person; but he or she has not attained the truth of this recognition as an independent self-consciousness.
  • In the Soul is the awaking of Consciousness: Consciousness sets itself up as Reason, awaking at one bound to the sense of its rationality: and this Reason by its activity emancipates itself to objectivity and the consciousness of its intelligent unity.
  • Education to independence demands that young people should be accustomed early to consult their own sense of propriety and their own reason. To regard study as mere receptivity and memory work is to have a most incomplete view of what instruction means.
  • The evident character of this defective cognition of which mathematics is proud, and on which it plumes itself before philosophy, rests solely on the poverty of its purpose and the defectiveness of its stuff, and is therefore of a kind that philosophy must spurn
  • Regarding History as the slaughter-bench at which the happiness of peoples, the wisdom of States, and the virtue of individuals have been victimized–the question involuntarily arises–to what principle, to what final aim these enormous sacrifices have been offered.
  • Whatever happens, every individual is a child of his time; so philosophy too is its own time apprehended in thoughts. It is just as absurd to fancy that a philosophy can transcend its contemporary world as it is to fancy that an individual can overleap his own age, jump over Rhodes.
  • The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant’s existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom.
  • Reason is just as cunning as she is powerful. Her cunning consists principally in her mediating activity, which, by causing objects to act and re-act on each other in accordance with their own nature, in this way, without any direct interference in the process, carries out reason’s intentions.
  • The East knew and to the present day knows only that One is Free; the Greek and the Roman world, that some are free; the German World knows that All are free. The first political form therefore which we observe in History, is Despotism, the second Democracy and Aristocracy, the third, Monarchy.
  • What the English call “comfortable” is something endless and inexhaustible. Every condition of comfort reveals in turn its discomfort, and these discoveries go on for ever. Hence the new want is not so much a want of those who have it directly, but is created by those who hope to make profit from it.
  • To be independent of public opinion is the first formal condition of achieving anything great or rational whether in life or in science. Great achievement is assured, however, of subsequent recognition and grateful acceptance by public opinion, which in due course will make it one of its own prejudices
  • Since philosophy is the exploration of the rational, it is for that very reason the apprehension of the present and the actual, not the erection of a beyond, supposed to exist, God knows where, or rather which exists, and we can perfectly well say where, namely in the error of a one-sided, empty, ratiocination.
  • The heart-throb for the welfare of humanity therefore passes into the ravings of an insane self-conceit, into the fury of consciousness to preserve itself from destruction; and it does this by expelling from itself the perversion which it is itself, and by striving to look on it and express it as something else.
  • In the case of various kinds of knowledge, we find that what in former days occupied the energies of men of mature mental ability sinks to the level of information, exercises, and even pastimes for children; and in this educational progress we can see the history of the world’s culture delineated in faint outline.
  • What experience and history teach is this – that nations and governments have never learned anything from history, or acted on any lessons they might have drawn from it. Variant: What experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it.
  • The sole work and deed of universal freedom is therefore death, a death too which has no inner significance or filling, for what is negated is the empty point of the absolutely free self. It is thus the coldest and meanest of all deaths, with no more significance than cutting off a head of cabbage or swallowing a mouthful of water.
  • The True is the whole. But the whole is nothing other than the essence consummating itself through its development. Of the Absolute it must be said that it is essentially a result, that only in the end is it what it truly is; and that precisely in this consists its nature, viz. to be actual, subject, the spontaneous becoming of itself.
  • When needs and means become abstract in quality, abstraction is also a character of the reciprocal relation of individuals to oneanother. This abstract character, universality, is the character of being recognized and is the moment which makes concrete, i.e. social, the isolated and abstract needs and their ways and means of satisfaction.
  • …if the fear of falling into error is the source of a mistrust in Science, which in the absence of any such misgivings gets on with the work itself and actually does know, it is difficult to see why, conversely, a mistrust should not be placed in this mistrust, and why we should not be concerned that this fear of erring is itself the very error.
  • The life of God – the life which the mind apprehends and enjoys as it rises to the absolute unity of all things – may be described as a play of love with itself; but this idea sinks to an edifying truism, or even to a platitude, when it does not embrace in it the earnestness, the pain, the patience, and labor, involved in the negative aspect of things.
  • In history an additional result is commonly produced by human actions beyond that which they aim at and obtain — that which they immediately recognize and desire. They gratify their own interest; but something further is thereby accomplished, latent in the actions in question, though not present to their consciousness, and not included in their design.
  • Beauty and art pervade all the business of life like a kindly genius, brightly adorning our surroundings whether interior or exterior, mitigating the seriousness of existence and the complexities of the real life, extinguishing idleness in an entertaining fashion, and, where there is nothing good to be achieved, filling the place of vice better than vice itself.
  • The essence of the modern state is that the universal be bound up with the complete freedom of its particular members and with private well-being, that thus the interests of family and civil society must concentrate themselves on the state. It is only when both these moments subsist in their strength that the state can be regarded as articulated and genuinely organized.
  • We must have a new mythology, but it must place itself at the service of ideas, it must become a mythology of reason. Mythology must become philosophical, so that the people may become rational, and philosophy must become mythological, so that philosophers may become sensible. If we do not give ideas a form that is aesthetic, i.e., mythological, they will hold no interest for people.
  • The soul is presupposed as a ready-made agent, which displays such features as its acts and utterances, from which we can learn what it is, what sort of faculties and powers it possesses — all without being aware that the act and utterance of what the soul is really invests it with that character in our conception and makes it reach a higher stage of being than it explicitly had before.
  • Every philosophy is complete in itself and, like a genuine work of art, contains the totality. Just as the works of Apelles and Sophocles, if Raphael and Shakespeare had known them, should not have appeared to them as mere preliminary exercises for their own work, but rather as a kindred force of the spirit, so, too reason cannot find in its own earlier forms mere useful preliminary exercises for itself.
  • When we walk the streets at night in safety, it does not strike us that this might be otherwise. This habit of feeling safe has become second nature, and we do not reflect on just how this is due solely to the working of special institutions. Commonplace thinking often has the impression that force holds the state together, but in fact its only bond is the fundamental sense of order which everybody possesses.
  • Public opinion contains all kinds of falsity and truth, but it takes a great man to find the truth in it. The great man of the age is the one who can put into words the will of his age, tell his age what its will is, and accomplish it. What he does is the heart and the essence of his age, he actualizes his age. The man who lacks sense enough to despise public opinion expressed in gossip will never do anything great.
  • We assert then that nothing has been accomplished without interest on the part of the actors; and ‚Äî if interest be called passion, inasmuch as the whole individuality, to the neglect of all other actual or possible interests and claims, is devoted to an object with every fibre of volition, concentrating all its desires and powers upon it ‚Äî we may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the World has been accomplished without passion.
  • All the worth which the human being possesses all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State… For Truth is the Unity of the universal and subjective Will; and the Universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, its universal and rational arrangements. The State is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth. We have in it, therefore, the object of History in a more definite shape than before; that in which Freedom obtains objectivity…
  • If we go on to cast a look at the fate of these World-Historical persons, whose vocation it was to be the agents of the World-Spirit, we shall find it to have been no happy one. They attained no calm enjoyment; their whole life was labour and trouble; their whole nature was nought else but their master‚ passion. When their object is attained they fall off like empty hulls from the kernel. They die early, like Alexander; they are murdered, like Caesar.
  • In the case of all other sciences, arts, skills, and crafts, everyone is convinced that a complex and laborious programme of learning and practice is necessary for competence. Yet when it comes to philosophy, there seems to be a currently prevailing prejudice to the effect that, although not everyone who has eyes and fingers, and is given leather and last, is at once in a position to make shoes, everyone nevertheless immediately understands how to philosophize.
  • Quite generally, the familiar, just because it is familiar, is not cognitively understood. The commonest way in which we deceive either ourselves or others about understanding is by assuming something as familiar, and accepting it on that account; with all its pros and cons, such knowing never gets anywhere, and it knows not why…. The analysis of an idea, as it used to be carried out, was, in fact, nothing else than ridding it of the form in which it had become familiar.
  • Rulers, Statesmen, Nations, are wont to be emphatically commended to the teaching which experience offers in history. But what experience and history teach is this – that people and governments never have learned anything from history, or acted on principles deduced from it. Each period is involved in such peculiar circumstances, exhibits a condition of things so strictly idiosyncratic, that its conduct must be regulated by considerations connected with itself, and itself alone.
  • Everything that from eternity has happened in heaven and earth, the life of God and all the deeds of time simply are the struggles for Spirit to know Itself, to find Itself, be for Itself, and finally unite itself to Itself; it is alienated and divided, but only so as to be able thus to find itself and return to Itself…As existing in an individual form, this liberation is called ‘I’; as developed to its totality, it is free Spirit; as feeling, it is Love; and as enjoyment, it is Blessedness.
  • Everybody allows that to know any other science you must have first studied it, and that you can only claim to express a judgment upon it in virtue of such knowledge. Everybody allows that to make a shoe you must have learned and practised the craft of the shoemaker, though every man has a model in his own foot, and possesses in his hands the natural endowments for the operations required. For philosophy alone, it seems to be imagined, such study, care, and application are not in the least requisite
  • The ignorant man is not free, because what confronts him is an alien world, something outside him and in the offing, on which he depends, without his having made this foreign world for himself and therefore without being at home in it by himself as in something his own. The impulse of curiosity, the pressure for knowledge, from the lowest level up to the highest rung of philosophical insight arises only from the struggle to cancel this situation of unfreedom and to make the world one’s own in one’s ideas and thought.
  • For us, mind has nature for its premise, being nature’s truth and for that reason its absolute prius. In this truth nature has vanished, and mind has resulted as the idea arrived at being-for-itself, the object of which, as well as the subject, is the concept. This identity is absolute negativity, for whereas in nature the concept has its perfect external objectivity, this its alienation has been superseded, and in this alienation the concept has become identical with itself. But it is this identity therefore, only in being a return out of nature.
  • Each of the parts of philosophy is a philosophical whole, a circle rounded and complete in itself. In each of these parts, however, the philosophical Idea is found in a particular specificality or medium. The single circle, because it is a real totality, bursts through the limits imposed by its special medium, and gives rise to a wider circle. The whole of philosophy in this way resembles a circle of circles. The Idea appears in each single circle, but, at the same time, the whole Idea is constituted by the system of these peculiar phases, and each is a necessary member of the organisation.
  • Because of its concrete content, sense-certainty immediately appears as the richest kind of knowledge, indeed a knowledge of infinite wealth for which no bounds can be found, either when we reach out into space and time in which it is dispersed, or when we take a bit of this wealth, and by division enter into it. Moreover, sense-certainty appears to be the truest knowledge … but, in the event, this very certainty proves itself to be the most abstract and poorest truth. All that it says about what it knows is just that it is; and its truth contains nothing but the sheer being of the thing.

 

 

Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (quotes)

  • Mastery is revealed in limitation.
  • Only he who knows God is truly moral.
  • man’s being is essentially his own deed.
  • Nature is visible Spirit; Spirit is invisible Nature.
  • Nature shall be the visible spirit, and spirit, invisible nature.
  • All rules for study are summed up in this one: learn only in order to create.
  • The human brain is the highest bloom of the whole organic metamorphosis of the earth.
  • To achieve great things we must be self-confined…mastery is revealed in limitation.
  • All phenomena are correlated in one absolute and necessary law, from which they can all be deduced.
  • Without contradiction, there would be no life, no movement, no progress, a deadly slumber of all forces.
  • This is not the time to reawaken old oppositions, but rather to seek what lies above and beyond all opposition.
  • There is in every man a certain feeling that he has been what he is from all eternity, and by no means become such in time.
  • Has creation a final purpose at all, and if so why is it not attained immediately, why does perfection not exist from the very beginning?
  • The failure to invest in civil justice is directly related to the increase in criminal disorder. The more people feel there is injustice the more it becomes part of their psyche.
  • The I think, I am, is, since Descartes, the basic mistake of all knowledge; thinking is not my thinking, and being is not my being, for everything is only of God or of the totality.
  • One is almost tempted to say that the language itself is a mythology deprived of its vitality, a bloodless mythology so to speak, which has only preserved in a formal and abstract form what mythology contains in living and concrete form.
  • The fear of speculation, the ostensible rush from the theoretical to the practical, brings about the same shallowness in action that it does in knowledge. It is by studying a strictly theoretical philosophy that we become most acquainted with Ideas, and only Ideas provide action with vigour and ethical meaning.
  • That which Dante saw written on the door of the inferno must be written in a different sense also at the entrance to philosophy: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. Those who look for true philosophy must be bereft of all hope, all desire, all longing. They must not wish for anything, not know anything, must feel completely bare and impoverished.
  • We at the Bureau have the most exciting and satisfying jobs in the world. In a society that stresses individual achievement – where you pull yourself up by your bootstraps – the Legal Aid Bureau helps those without boots. By providing access to justice to tens of thousands of Marylanders each year, Legal Aid attorneys and support staff bring equity and stability to society.
  • Far from it being true that man and his activity makes the world comprehensible, he is himself the most incomprehensible of all, and drives me relentlessly to the view of the accursedness of all being, a view manifested in so many painful signs in ancient and modern times. It is precisely man who drives me to the final despairing question: Why is there something? Why not nothing?
  • Man has been placed on that summit where he contains within him the source of self-impulsion toward good and evil in equal measure; the nexus of the principles within him is not a bond of necessity but of freedom. He stands at the dividing line; whatever he chooses will be his act, but he cannot remain in indecision because God must necessarily reveal himself and because nothing at all in creation can remain ambiguous.
  • Nothing upsets the philosophical mind more than when he hears that from now on all philosophy is supposed to lie caught in the shackles of one system. Never has he felt greater than when he sees before him the infinitude of knowledge. The entire dignity of his science consists in the fact that it will never be completed. In that moment in which he would believe to have completed his system, he would become unbearable to himself. He would, in that moment, cease to be a creator, and would instead descend to being an instrument of his creation.
  • There is no greatness without a continual solicitation to madness which, while it must be overcome, must never be completely lacking. One might profit by classifying men in this respect. The one kind are those in whom there is no madness at all … and are so-called men of intellect whose works and deeds are nothing but cold works and deeds of the intellect…. But where there is no madness, there is, to be sure, also no real, active, living intellect. For wherein is intellect to prove itself but in the conquest, mastery, and ordering of madness?
  • Following the eternal act of self-revelation, the world as we now behold it, is all rule, order and form; but the unruly lies ever in the depths as though it might again break through, and order and form nowhere appear to have been original, but it seems as though what had initially been unruly had been brought to order. This is the incomprehensible basis of reality in things, the irreducible remainder which cannot be resolved into reason by the greatest exertion but always remains in the depths. Out of this which is unreasonable, reason in the true sense is born. Without this preceding gloom, creation would have no reality; darkness is its necessary heritage.
  • Those, then, who want to find themselves at the starting point of a truly free philosophy, have to depart even from God. Here the motto is: whoever wants to preserve it will lose it, and whoever abandons it will find it. Only those have reached the ground in themselves and have become aware of the depths of life, who have at one time abandoned everything and have themselves been abandoned by everything, for whom everything has been lost, and who have found themselves alone, face-to-face with the infinite: a decisive step which Plato compared with death. That which Dante saw written on the door of the inferno must be written in a different sense also at the entrance to philosophy: ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.’ Those who look for true philosophy must be bereft of all hope, all desire, all longing. They must not wish anything, not know anything, must feel completely bare and impoverished, must give everything away in order to gain everything. It is a grim step to take, it is grim to have to depart from the final shore.

 

 

Franz Kafka (quotes)

  • Books are a narcotic.
  • Writers speak stench.
  • Writer speaks a stench.
  • Paths are made by walking
  • Evil is whatever distracts.
  • In a way, I was safe writing
  • The truth is always an abyss.
  • Writing is a form of prayer.
  • Please consider me a dream.
  • Kill me, or you are a murderer.
  • Religions get lost as people do.
  • I am a cage, in search of a bird.
  • I like to make use of what I know
  • I never wish to be easily defined.
  • Love is a drama of contradictions.
  • Dread of night. Dread of not-night.
  • One reads in order to ask questions
  • Evil is the starry sky of the Good.
  • I am free and that is why I am lost.
  • The meaning of life is that it stops.
  • I lack nothing. I only needed myself.
  • Isolation is a way to know ourselves.
  • Writing is a sweet, wonderful reward.
  • No one can crave what truly harms him.
  • I am in chains. Don’t touch my chains.
  • Heaven is dumb, echoing only the dumb.
  • All language is but a poor translation.
  • Nothing is as deceptive as a photograph.
  • First impressions are always unreliable.
  • The true word leads; the untrue misleads.
  • The Bible is a sanctum; the world, sputum.
  • Writing means revealing oneself to excess.
  • I do not see the world at all; I invent it.
  • Only the moment counts. It determines life.
  • Slept, awoke, slept, awoke, miserable life.
  • In a certain sense the Good is comfortless.
  • What am I doing here in this endless winter?
  • They say ignorance is bliss…. they’re wrong
  • Faith, like a guillotine. As heavy, as light.
  • To animalise is humane, to humanise is animal.
  • There sat I, a faded being, under faded leaves.
  • God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.
  • Work as joy, inaccessible to the psychologists.
  • Follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
  • We need the books that affect us like a disaster
  • There will be no proof that I ever was a writer.
  • What is gayer than believing in a household god?
  • Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it.
  • So eager are our people to obliterate the present.
  • It is often safer to be in chains than to be free.
  • What is written is merely the dregs of experience.
  • There’s an infinite amount of hope but not for us.
  • I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.
  • A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.
  • From a real antagonist one gains boundless courage.
  • A book should serve as an axe to the ice inside us.
  • I have spent my life resisting the desire to end it.
  • A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.
  • What’s happened to me,’ he thought. It was no dream.
  • Palestine needs earth, but it does not need lawyers.
  • No sooner said than done – so acts your man of worth.
  • In man’s struggle against the world, bet on the world.
  • He was a tool of the boss, without brains or backbone.
  • In the fight between you and the world, back the world.
  • I miss you deeply, unfathomably, senselessly, terribly.
  • If I shall exist eternally, how shall I exist tomorrow?
  • The Messiah will only come when he is no longer needed.
  • Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.
  • Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty.
  • Now I can look at you in peace; I don’t eat you any more.
  • He who does not answer the questions has passed the test.
  • Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.
  • I’m doing badly, I’m doing well; whichever you prefer.
  • Love is, that you are the knife which I plunge into myself.
  • I am a retiring, silent, unsociable, and discontent person.
  • Even the merest gesture is holy if it is filled with faith.
  • My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.
  • The spirit becomes free only when it ceases to be a support.
  • My ‘fear’ is my substance, and probably the best part of me.
  • It’s impossible to defend oneself in the absence of goodwill
  • A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light.
  • It receives you when you come and dismisses you when you go.
  • You are at once both the quiet and the confusion of my heart.
  • He is terribly afraid of dying because he hasn’t yet lived.
  • Don’t despair, not even over the fact that you don’t despair.
  • One must not cheat anyone, not even the world of its victory.
  • Association with human beings lures one into self-observation.
  • The man in ecstasy and the man drowning: both raise their arms.
  • Idleness is the beginning of all vice, the crown of all virtues.
  • In the struggle between yourself and the world second the world.
  • What if I slept a little more and forgot about all this nonsense.
  • The various forms of despair at the various stations on the road.
  • A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.
  • Don Quixote’s misfortune is not his imagination, but Sancho Panza.
  • Going to pieces. To go to pieces so pointlessly and unnecessarily.
  • There is a goal but no way; what we call the way is mere wavering.
  • You can choose to be free , but it’s last decision you’ll ever make
  • A book must be an ice-axe to break the seas frozen inside our soul.
  • He who seeks does not find, but he who does not seek will be found.
  • From the true antagonist illimitable courage is transmitted to you.
  • I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
  • Torment yourself as little as possible, then you’ll torment me less.
  • The state we find ourselves in is sinful quite independent of guilt.
  • I no longer know If I wish to drown myself in love, vodka or the sea.
  • Do not waste your time looking for an obstacle – maybe there is none.
  • Some books seem like a key to unfamiliar rooms in one’s own castle.
  • Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.
  • Most men are not wicked… They are sleep-walkers, not evil evildoers.
  • Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
  • Simply wait, be quiet, still The world will freely offer itself to you.
  • There is an infinite amount of hope in the universe … but not for us.
  • I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us.
  • The purpose of a story is to be an axe that breaks up the ice within us.
  • Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.
  • How can one take delight in the world unless one flees to it for refuge?
  • I can love only what I can place so high above me that I cannot reach it.
  • Anybody who preserves the ability to recognize beauty will never get old.
  • Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency.
  • One must fight to get to the top, especially if one starts at the bottom.
  • All I am is literature, and I am not able or willing to be anything else.
  • There are times when I am convinced I am unfit for any human relationship.
  • I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.
  • I never imagined that so many days would ultimately make such a small life.
  • You are so vulnerably haunting. Your eeriness is terrifyingly irresistible.
  • Adam’s first domestic pet after the expulsion from Paradise was the serpent.
  • If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss.
  • A lawyer is a person who writes a 10,000-word document and calls it a “brief.”
  • The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler.
  • Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.
  • I, however, cannot force myself to use “meat drugs” to cheat on my loneliness.
  • There is a destination but no way there; what we refer to as way is hesitation.
  • Maybe innocence makes its way easiest through the elemental chaos of this world.
  • sleep is the most innocent creature there is and a sleepless man the most guilty.
  • I won’t give up the diary again. I must hold on here, it is the only place I can.
  • As far as I have seen, at school…they aimed at blotting out one’s individuality.
  • When one has once accepted and absorbed Evil, it no longer demands to be believed.
  • There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness.
  • Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.
  • Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
  • All knowledge, the totality of all questions and answers, is contained in the dog.
  • In argument similes are like songs in love; they describe much, but prove nothing.
  • True undoubting is the teacher’s part, continual undoubting the part of the pupil.
  • It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.
  • Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.
  • To write prescriptions is easy, but to come to an understanding with people is hard.
  • What do I have in common with Jews? I don’t even have anything in common with myself.
  • A man of action forced into a state of thought is unhappy until he can get out of it.
  • Either the world is so tiny or we are enormous; in either case, we fill it completely.
  • Everything you say is boring and incomprehensible, but that alone doesn’t make it true.
  • There is a down-and-outness under true knowledge and a childlike happy arising from it.
  • The mediation by the serpent was necessary. Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.
  • Just because your doctor has a name for your condition, doesn’t mean he knows what it is.
  • So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.
  • Written kisses never arrive at their destination; the ghosts drink them up along the way.
  • Logic may indeed be unshakeable, but it cannot withstand a man who is determined to live.
  • What is meant by its nature for the highest and the best, spreads among the lowly people.
  • There are some things one can only achieve by a deliberate leap in the opposite direction.
  • I wanted to escape the unrest, to shut out the voices around me and within me, so I write.
  • Man cannot live without a continuous confidence in something indestructible within himself.
  • Sometimes I think I can expiate all my past and future sins through the aching of my bones.
  • If something good has lost its way into you, it will make its escape overnight. I know you.
  • The thornbush is the old obstacle in the road. It must catch fire if you want to go further.
  • If this is what you came for, then I didn’t send for you. Kafka (note to himself in journal)
  • Written kisses don’t reach their destination, rather they are drunk on the way by the ghosts.
  • Test yourself on mankind. It is something that makes the doubter doubt, the believer believe.
  • Every word first looks around in every direction before letting itself be written down by me.
  • Ours is a lost generation, it may be, but it is more blameless than those earlier generations.
  • My life was sweeter than other people’s and my death will be more terrible by the same degree.
  • I am more uncertain than I ever was; I feel only the power of life. And I am senselessly empty.
  • Because of impatience we were driven out [of Paradise]; because of impatience we cannot return.
  • There are questions we could not get past if we were not set free from them by our very nature.
  • Art is for the artist is only suffering through which he releases himself for further suffering.
  • The fact that there is nothing but a spiritual world deprives us of hope and gives us certainty.
  • I am on the hunt for constructions. I come into a room and find them whitely merging in a corner.
  • I do not speak as I think, I do not think as I should, and so it all goes on in helpless darkness.
  • You need not even listen, just wait…the world will offer itself freely to you, unmasking itself.
  • The ulterior motives with which you absorb and assimilate Evil are not your own but those of Evil.
  • Every dog has like me the impulse to question, and I have like every dog the impulse not to answer.
  • But questions that don’t answer themselves at the very moment of their asking are never answered.
  • I need solitude for my writing; not ‘like a hermit’ – that wouldn’t be enough – but like a dead man.
  • In me, by myself, without human relationship, there are no visible lies. The limited circle is pure.
  • I’m thinking only of my illness and my health, though both, the first as well as the second, are you.
  • May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper? I might as well open the window and kiss the night air.
  • I can’t feel a thing; All mournful petal storms are dancing inside the very private spring of my head.
  • If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without climbing it, it would have been permitted.
  • By imposing too great a responsibility, or rather, all responsibility, on yourself, you crush yourself.
  • The fact that our task is exactly commensurate with our life gives it the appearance of being infinite.
  • We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.
  • From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.
  • Love has as few problems as a motor car. The only problems are the driver, the passengers, and the road.
  • This morning, for the first time in a long time, the joy again of imagining a knife twisted in my heart.
  • It is comforting to reflect that the disproportion of things in the world seems to be only arithmetical.
  • Every one of us has a bad conscience, which he tries to escape by going to sleep as quickly as possible.
  • There was once a community of scoundrels, that is to say, they were not scoundrels, but ordinary people.
  • The dream reveals the reality which conception lags behind. That is the horror of life-the terror of art.
  • Knowledge we have. Anyone who strives for it with particular intensity is suspect of striving against it.
  • Every thing that you love, you will eventually lose, but in the end, love will return in a different form.
  • But what if all the tranquility, all the comfort, all the contentment were now to come to a horrifying end?
  • If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read it?
  • We all have wings, but they have not been of any avail to us and if we could tear them off, we would do so.
  • The founder brought the laws from the lawgiver; the faithful are meant to announce the laws to the lawgiver.
  • Like tired dogs they stand there, because they use up all their strength in remaining upright in one’s memory.
  • We are separated from God on two sides; the Fall separates us from Him, the Tree of Life separates Him from us.
  • So then you’re free?’ Yes, I’m free,’ said Karl, and nothing seemed more worthless than his freedom.
  • Suffering is the positive element in this world, indeed it is the only link between this world and the positive.
  • The right understanding of any matter and a misunderstanding of the same matter do not wholly exclude each other.
  • Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.
  • If there is a transmigration of souls then I am not yet on the bottom rung. My life is a hesitation before birth.
  • It would be very unjust to say that you deserted me, but that I was deserted, and sometimes terribly so, is true.
  • Humility provides everyone, even him who despairs in solitude, with the strongest relationship to his fellow man.
  • I am away from home and must always write home, even if any home of mine has long since floated away into eternity.
  • Some deny the existence of misery by pointing to the sun; he denies the existence of the sun by pointing to misery.
  • A stair not worn hollow by footsteps is, regarded from its own point of view, only a boring something made of wood.
  • One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back into the darkness of the Ark
  • I have hardly anything in common with myself and should stand very quietly in a corner, content that I can breathe.
  • Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
  • I made the remark that I don’t avoid people in order to live quietly, but rather in order to be able to die quietly.
  • As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
  • Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.
  • Just think how many thoughts a blanket smothers while one lies alone in bed, and how many unhappy dreams it keeps warm.
  • There can be knowledge of the diabolical, but no belief in it, for more of the diabolical than there is does not exist.
  • The whole visible world is perhaps nothing more than the rationalization of a man who wants to find peace for a moment.
  • In a certain sense you deny the existence of this world. You explain life as a state of rest, a state of rest in motion.
  • You’re not cross with me, though?” he said. She pulled her hand away and answered, “No, no, I’m never cross with anyone.
  • Woman, or more precisely put, perhaps, marriage, is the representative of life with which you are meant to come to terms.
  • Tyranny or slavery, born of selfishness, are the two educational methods of parents; all gradations of tyranny or slavery.
  • Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities of escape, again, are as many as hiding places.
  • People label themselves with all sorts of adjectives. I can only pronounce myself as ‘nauseatingly miserable beyond repair’.
  • there is nothing bad to fear; once you have crossed that threshold, all is well. Another world, and you do not have to speak
  • It is only our conception of time that makes us call the Last Judgement by this name. It is, in fact, a kind of martial law.
  • One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer.
  • Our art is a way of being dazzled by truth: the light on the grotesquely grimacing retreating face is true, and nothing else.
  • Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross. In this they are at one with their antagonists.
  • It would have been so pointless to kill himself that, even if he had wanted to, the pointlessness would have made him unable.
  • I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.
  • No matter how much you keep encouraging someone who is blindfolded to stare through the cloth, he still won’t see a thing.”.
  • If education tries to make other persons out of us than we essentially are, deeper inside, it stultifies, and reproach matters.
  • Writing is a deeper sleep than death. Just as one wouldn’t pull a corpse from its grave, I can’t be dragged from my desk at night.
  • One day, a leopard stalked into the synagogue, roaring and lashing its tail. Three weeks later, it had become part of the liturgy.
  • Nothing, you know, gives the body greater satisfaction than ordering people about, or at least believing in one’s ability to do so.
  • At that point I asked myself: How is it that she is not amazed at herself, that she keeps her lips closed and makes no such remark?
  • This noble body, equipped with everything necessary, almost to the point of bursting, also appeared to carry freedom around with it.
  • Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.
  • You see, I have only such a fugitive awareness of things around me that I always feel they were once real and are now fleeting away.
  • One tells as few lies as possible only by telling as few lies as possible, and not by having the least possible opportunity to do so.
  • Sometimes I’d like to stuff all Jews (myself included) into the drawer of a laundry basket. then open it to see if they’ve suffocated
  • The door could not be heard slamming; they had probably left it open, as is the custom in homes where a great misfortune has occurred.
  • One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into a monstrous bug.
  • Utterance does not in principle mean a weakening of conviction–that would not be anything to be deplored–but a weakness of conviction.
  • All human errors are impatience, a premature breaking off of methodical procedure, an apparent fencing-in of what is apparently at issue.
  • In theory there is a possibility of perfect happiness: To believe in the indestructible element within one, and not to strive towards it.
  • My doubts stand in a circle around every word, I see them before I see the word, but what then! I do not see the word at all, I invent it.
  • Anyone who believes cannot experience miracles. By day one does not see any stars. Anyone who does miracles says: I cannot let goof the earth.
  • If the literature we are reading does not wake us, why then do we read it? A literary work must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.
  • Life is merely terrible; I feel it as few others do. Often ‚Äî and in my inmost self perhaps all the time ‚Äî I doubt whether I am a human being.
  • The man in ecstasy and the man drowning – both throw up their arms. The first to signify harmony, the second to signify strife with the elements.
  • Hold fast to the diary from today on! Write regularly! Don’t surrender! Even if no salvation should come, I want to be worthy of it every moment.
  • Should I be grateful or should I curse the fact that despite all misfortune I can still feel love, an unearthly love but still for earthly objects.
  • Picasso only registers the deformities which have not yet penetrated our consciousness. Art is a mirror which goes ‘fast’ like a watch – sometimes.
  • There are only two things. Truth and lies. Truth is indivisible, hence it cannot recognize itself; anyone who wants to recognize it has to be a lie.
  • Celibacy and suicide are a similar levels of understanding, suicide and a martyr’s death not so by any means, perhaps marriage and a martyr’s death.
  • I’m tired, can’t think of anything and want only to lay my face in your lap, feel your hand on my head and remain like that through all eternity.
  • Only our concept of time makes it possible for us to speak of the Day of Judgment by that name in reality it is a summary court in perpetual session.
  • Atlas was permitted the opinion that he was at liberty, if he wished, to drop the Earth and creep away; but this opinion was all that he was permitted.
  • They did not know what we can now guess at, contemplating the course of history: that change begins in the soul before it appears in ordinary existence.
  • The experience of life consists of the experience which the spirit has of itself in matter and as matter, in mind and as mind, in emotion, as emotion, etc.
  • We live in an age which is so possessed by demons, that soon we shall only be able to do goodness and justice in the deepest secrecy, as if it were a crime.
  • I believe that we should read only those books that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not rouse us with a blow to the head, then why read it?
  • Why do we complain about the Fall? It is not on its account that we were expelled from Paradise, but on account of the Tree of Life, lest we might eat of it.
  • I can once more carry on a conversation with myself, and don’t stare so into complete emptiness. Only in this way is there any possibility of improvement for me.
  • The true way goes over a line that, rather than spanning heights, is hardly above the ground. It appears more decidedly to make one trip than to be walked along.
  • Anyone who loves his neighbor within the limits of the world is doing no more and no less injustice than someone who loves himself within the limits of the world.
  • It’s sometimes quite astonishing that a single, average life is enough to encompass so much that it’s at all possible ever to have any success in one’s work here.
  • Two tasks at the beginning of your life: to narrow your orbit more and more, and ever and again to check whether you are not in hiding somewhere outside your orbit.
  • The Messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary, he will come only one day after his arrival, he will not come on the last day, but on the last day of all.
  • Two possibilities: making oneself infinitely small or being so. The second is perfection, that is to say, inactivity, the first is beginning, that is to say, action.
  • it is not necessary to accept everything as true, one must only accept it as necessary.’ ‘A melancholy conclusion,’ said K. ‘It turns lying into a universal principle.
  • If what was supposed to have been destroyed in Paradise was destructible, then it was not decisive; but if it was indestructible, then we are living in a false belief.
  • The true way goes over a rope which is not stretched at any great height but just above the ground. It seems more designed to make people stumble than to be walked upon.
  • Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.
  • I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?
  • Sensual love deceives one as to the nature of heavenly love; it could not do so alone, but since it unconsciously has the element of heavenly love within it, it can do so.
  • It isn’t necessary that you leave home. Sit at your desk and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t wait, be still and alone. The whole world will offer itself to you.
  • I write differently from what I speak, I speak differently from what I think, I think differently from the way I ought to think, and so it all proceeds into deepest darkness.
  • They’re talking about things of which they don’t have the slightest understanding, anyway. It’s only because of their stupidity that they’re able to be so sure of themselves.
  • I see, these books are probably law books, and it is an essential part of the justice dispensed here that you should be condemned not only in innocence but also in ignorance.
  • April 27. Incapable of living with people, of speaking. Complete immersion in myself, thinking of myself. Apathetic, witless, fearful. I have nothing to say to anyone – never.
  • The delights of this life are not its own, but our fear of the ascent into a higher life; the torments of this life are not its own, but our self-torment because of that fear.
  • This inescapable duty to observe oneself: if someone else is observing me, naturally I have to observe myself too; if none observe me, I have to observe myself all the closer.
  • The notion of the infinite expanse and copiousness of the cosmos is the result of the mixture, carried to the extreme limit, of laborious creation and free self-determination.
  • Believing means liberating the indestructible element in oneself, or, more accurately, liberating oneself, or, more accurately, being indestructible, or, more accurately, being.
  • No,” said the priest, “you don’t need to accept everything as true, you only have to accept it as necessary.” “Depressing view,” said K. “The lie made into the rule of the world.
  • The indestructible is one: it is each individual human being and, at the same time, it is common to all, hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings.
  • How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world.
  • You, who can’t do anything, think you can bring off something like that? How can you even dare to think about it? If you were capable of it, you certainly wouldn’t be in need of it.
  • For words are magical formulae. They leave finger marks be hind on the brain, which in the twinkling of an eye become the footprints of history. One ought to watch one’ s every word.
  • The worries that are the burden of which the privileged person makes an excuse in dealing with the oppressed person are in fact the worries about preserving his privileged condition.
  • The Kafka paradox: art depends on truth, but truth, being indivisable, cannot know itself: to tell the truth is to lie. thus the writer is the truth, and yet when he speakes he lies.
  • All science is methodolgy with regard to the Absolute. Therefore, there need be no fear of the unequivocally methodological. It isa husk, but not more than everything except the One.
  • Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence… someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence, certainly never.
  • The existence of the writer is an argument against the existence of the soul, for the soul has obviously taken flight from the real ego, but not improved itself, only become a writer.
  • “Don’t you want to join us?” I was recently asked by an acquaintance when he ran across me alone after midnight in a coffeehouse that was already almost deserted. “No, I don’t,” I said.
  • That’s how it will be, except that in reality, both today and later, one will stand there with a palpable body and a real head, a real forehead, that is, for smiting on with one’s hand.
  • I am too tired, I must try to rest and sleep, otherwise I am lost in every respect. What an effort to keep alive! Erecting a monument does not require an expenditure of so much strength.
  • The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. There is no doubt of that, but it proves nothing against the heavens, for heaven simply means: the impossibility of crows.
  • Last night I dreamed about you. What happened in detail I can hardly remember, all I know is that we kept merging into one another. I was you, you were me. Finally you somehow caught fire.
  • What I write is different from what I say, what I say is different from what I think, what I think is different from what I ought to think and so it goes further into the deepest darkness.
  • We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt.
  • The whole visible world is perhaps nothing other than a motivation of man’s wish to rest for a moment an attempt to falsify the fact of knowledge, to try to turn the knowledge into the goal.
  • The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual. That is why the revolutionary spiritual movements that declare all former things worthless are in the right, for nothing has yet happened.
  • The relationship to one’s fellow man is the relationship of prayer, the relationship to oneself is the relationship of striving; it is from prayer that one draws the strength for one’s striving.
  • From outside one will always triumphantly impress theories upon the world and then fall straight into the ditch one has dug, but only from inside will one keep oneself and the world quiet and true.
  • A picture of my existence… would show a useless wooden stake covered in snow… stuck loosely at a slant in the ground in a ploughed field on the edge of a vast open plain on a dark winter night.
  • The history of the world, as it is written and handed down by word of mouth, often fails us completely; but man’s intuitive capacity, though it often misleads, does lead, does not ever abandon one.
  • This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.
  • The Fathers of the Church were not afraid to go out into the desert because they had a richness in their hearts. But we, with richness all around us, are afraid, because the desert is in our hearts.
  • Towards the avoidance of a piece of verbal confusion: What is intended to be actively destroyed must first of all have been firmly grasped; what crumbles away crumbles away, but cannot be destroyed.
  • There is nothing besides a spiritual world; what we call the world of the senses is the Evil in the spiritual world, and what we call Evil is only the necessity of a moment in our eternal evolution.
  • Let me remind you of the old maxim: people under suspicion are better moving than at rest, since at rest they may be sitting in the balance without knowing it, being weighed together with their sins.
  • Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate… but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.
  • He is a free and secure citizen of the world because he is on a chain that is long enough to allow him access to all parts of the earth, and yet not so long that he could be swept over the edge of it.
  • The person I am in the company of my sisters has been entirely different from the person I am in the company of other people. Fearless, powerful, surprising, moved as I otherwise am only when I write.
  • The more horses you yoke the quicker everything will go – not the rending of the block from its foundation, which is impossible, but the snapping of the traces and with that the gay and empty journey.
  • We were expelled from Paradise, but it was not destroyed. The expulsion from Paradise was in one sense a piece of good fortune, for if we had not been expelled, Paradise would have had to be destroyed.
  • I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more
  • Time is short, my strength is limited, the office is a horror, the apartment is noisy, and if a pleasant, straightforward life is not possible, then one must try to wriggle through by subtle manoeuvres.
  • You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.
  • Death confronts us not unlike the historical battle scene that hangs on the wall of the classroom. It is our task to obscure or quite obliterate the picture by our deeds while we are still in this world.
  • His biggest misgiving came from his concern about the loud crash that was bound to occur and would probably create, if not terror, at least anxiety behind all the doors. But that would have to be risked.
  • I am always trying to convey something that can’t be conveyed, to explain something which is inexplicable, to tell about something I have in my bones, something which can be expressed only in the bones.
  • The cruelty of death lies in the fact that it brings the real sorrow of the end, but not the end. The greatest cruelty of death: an apparent end causes a real sorrow. Our salvation is death, but not this one.
  • We were created in order to live in Paradise, and Paradise was ordained to serve us. What was ordained for us has been changed; it is not said that this has also happened with what was ordained for Paradise.”
  • Anyone who renounces the world must love all men, for he renounces their world too. He thus begins to have some inkling of the true nature of man, which cannot but be loved, always assuming that one is its peer.
  • In a way, you are poetry material; You are full of cloudy subtleties I am willing to spend a lifetime figuring out. Words burst in your essence and you carry their dust in the pores of your ethereal individuality.
  • The Diabolical sometimes assumes the aspect of the Good, or even embodies itself completely in its form. If this remains concealedfrom me, I am of course defeated, for this Good is more tempting than the genuine Good.
  • I never wish to be easily defined. I’d rather float over other people’s minds as something strictly fluid and non-perceivable; more like a transparent, paradoxically iridescent creature rather than an actual person.
  • Marrying, founding a family, accepting all the children that come, supporting them in this insecure world, and perhaps even guiding them a little, is, I am convinced, the utmost a human being can succeed in doing at all.
  • To every instant there is a correspondence in something outside time. This world here and now cannot be followed by a Beyond, for the Beyond is eternal, hence it cannot be in temporal contact with this world here and now.
  • The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired. Only after death, only in solitude, does a man’s true nature emerge. In death, as on the chimney sweep’s Saturday night, the soot gets washed from his body.
  • If you find someone who makes you smile, who checks up on you often to see if you’re okay. Who watches out or you and wants the best for you. Who loves and respects you. Don’t let them go. People like that are hard to find.
  • Human nature, essentially changeable, as unstable as the dust, can endure no restraint; if it binds itself it soon begins to tear madly at its bonds, until it rends everything asunder, the wall, the bonds, and its very self.
  • In one and the same human being there are cognitions that, however utterly dissimilar they are, yet have one and the same object,so that one can only conclude that there are different subjects in one and the same human being.
  • Art flies around truth, but with the definite intention of not getting burnt. Its capacity lies in finding in the dark void a place where the beam of light can be intensely caught, without this having been perceptible before.
  • Photography concentrates one’s eye on the superficial. For that reason it obscures the hidden life which glimmers through the outlines of things like a play of light and shade. One can’t catch that even with the sharpest lens.
  • The old incapacity. Interrupted my writing for barely ten days and already cast out. Once again prodigious efforts stand before me. You have to dive down, as it were, and sink more rapidly than that which sinks in advance of you.
  • I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you. I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough.
  • If they were shocked, then Gregor had no further responsibility and could be calm. But if they took everything calmly, he he, too, had no reason to get excited and could, if he hurried, actually be at the station by eight o’clock.
  • For we are like tree trunks in the snow. In appearance they lie smoothly and a little push should be enough to set them rolling. No, it can’t be done, for they are firmly wedded to the ground. But see, even that is only appearance.
  • One of the most effective means of seduction that Evil has is the challenge to struggle. It is like the struggle with women, whichends in bed. A married man’s true deviations from the path of virtue are, rightly understood, never gay.
  • Officials are highly educated but one-sided; in his own department an official can grasp whole trains of thought from a single word, but let him have something from another department explained to him … he won’t understand a word of it.
  • And so gentlemen, I learned. Oh, if you have to learn, you learn; if you’re desperate for a way out, you learn; you learn pitilessly. You stand over yourself with a whip in your hand; if there’s the least resistance, you lash yourself.
  • One can disintegrate the world by means of very strong light. For weak eyes the world becomes solid, for still weaker eyes it seems to develop fists, for eyes weaker still it becomes shamefaced and smashes anyone who dares to gaze upon it.
  • In Paradise, as always: that which causes the sin and that which recognizes it for what it is are one. The clear conscience is Evil, which is so entirely victorious that it does not any longer consider the leap from left to right necessary.
  • If all responsibility is imposed on you, then you may want to exploit the moment and want to be overwhelmed by the responsibility;yet if you try, you will notice that nothing was imposed on you, but that you are yourself this responsibility.
  • Every new discovery is assumed at once into the sum total of knowledge, and with that ceases in a sense to be a discovery; it dissolves into the whole and disappears, and one must have a trained scientific eye even to recognize it after that.
  • The tremendous world I have inside my head. But how free myself and free it without being torn to pieces. And a thousand times rather be torn to pieces than retain it in me or bury it. That, indeed, is why I am here, that is quite clear to me.
  • For everything outside the phenomenal world, language can only be used allusively, but never even approximately in a comparative way, since, corresponding as it does to the phenomenal world, it is concerned only with property and its relations.
  • Evil is the radiation of the human consciousness in certain transitional positions. It is not actually the sensual world that is amere appearance; what is so is the evil of it, which, admittedly, is what constitutes the sensual world in our eyes.
  • We need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
  • You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
  • There’s no quiet place here on earth for our love, not in the village and not anywhere else, so I picture a grave, deep and narrow, in which we embrace as if clamped together, I bury my face against you, you yours against me, and no one will ever see us.
  • All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers, is contained in the dog. If one could but realize this knowledge, if one could but bring it into the light of day, if we dogs would but own that we know infinitely more than we admit to ourselves!
  • It is strange how little sharpsightedness women possess; they only notice whether they please, then whether they arouse pity, and finally, whether you look for compassion from them. That is all; come to think of it, it may even be enough, generally speaking.
  • Being alone has a power over me that never fails. My interior dissolves (for the time being only superficially) and is ready to release what lies deeper. When I am willfully alone, a slight ordering of my interior begins to take place and I need nothing more.
  • Life’s splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.
  • But eternity is not temporality at a standstill. What is oppressive about the concept of the eternal is the justification, incomprehensible to us, that time must undergo in eternity and the logical conclusion of that, the justification of ourselves as we are.
  • People who walk across dark bridges, past saints, with dim, small lights. Clouds which move across gray skies past churches with towers darkened in the dusk. One who leans against granite railing gazing into the evening waters, His hands resting on old stones.
  • it was like this. the brain could no longer bear the worries and pains that were imposed on it. it said: “i’m giving up; but if there is anyone else here who is interested in preserving the whole, let him assume part of my burden and it will be alright for a bit.
  • Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible in himself, though both the indestructible element and the trust may remain permanently hidden from him. One of the ways in which this hiddenness can express itself is through faith in a personal god.
  • German is my mother tongue and as such more natural to me, but I consider Czech much more affectionate, which is why your letter removes several uncertainties; I see you more clearly, the movements of your body, your hands, so quick, so resolute, it’s almost like a meeting.
  • My peers, lately, have found companionship through means of intoxication – it makes them sociable. I, however, cannot force myself to use drugs to cheat on my loneliness – it is all that I have – and when the drugs and alcohol dissipate, will be all that my peers have as well.
  • “The ulterior motives with which you absorb and assimilate Evil are not your own but those of Evil.

 

  • The animal wrests the whip from its master and whips itself in order to become master, not knowing that this is only a fantasy produced by a new knot in the master’s whiplash.”
  • Each of us has his own way of emerging from the underworld, mine is by writing. That’s why the only way I can keep going, if at all, is by writing, not through rest and sleep. I am far more likely to achieve peace of mind through writing than the capacity to write through peace.
  • Psychology is the description of the reflection of the terrestial world in the heavenly plane, or, more correctly, the description of a reflection such as we, soaked as we are in our terrestial nature, imagine it, for no reflection actually occurs, only we see earth wherever we turn.
  • The truth is always an abyss. One must ‚Äî as in a swimming pool ‚Äî dare to dive from the quivering springboard of trivial everyday experience and sink into the depths, in order to later rise again ‚Äî laughing and fighting for breath ‚Äî to the now doubly illuminated surface of things.
  • Nervous states of the worst sort control me without pause. Everything that is not literature bores me and I hate it. I lack all aptitude for family life except, at best, as an observer. I have no family feeling and visitors make me almost feel as though I were maliciously being attacked.
  • I hate everything that does not relate to literature, conversations bore me (even if they relate to literature), to visit people bores me, the sorrows and joys of my relatives bore me to the very soul. Conversation takes the importance, the seriousness, the truth, out of everything I think.
  • The Expulsion from Paradise is eternal in its principal aspect: this makes it irrevocable, and our living in this world inevitable, but the eternal nature of the process has the effect that not only could we remain forever in Paradise, but that we are currently there, whether we know it or not.
  • My job is unbearable to me because it conflicts with my only desire and my only calling, which is literature. Since I am nothing but literature and can and want to be nothing else, my job will never take possession of me, it may, however, shatter me completely, and this is by no means a remote possibility.
  • Everyone carries a room about inside him. This fact can even be proved by means of the sense of hearing. If someone walks fast and one pricks up one’s ears and listens, say in the night, when everything round about is quiet, one hears, for instance, the rattling of a mirror not quite firmly fastened to the wall.
  • I want in fact more of you. In my mind I am dressing you with light; I am wrapping you up in blankets of complete acceptance and then I give myself to you. I long for you; I who usually long without longing, as though I am unconscious and absorbed in neutrality and apathy, really, utterly long for every bit of you.
  • . . . The books we need are the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation-a book should serve as an axe for the frozen sea within us.
  • This perversion of the truth, familiar to the artist though it was, always unnerved him afresh and proved too much for him. What was a consequence of the premature ending of his fast was here presented as the cause of it! To fight against this lack of understanding, against a whole world of nonunderstanding, was impossible.
  • Human judgment of human actions is true and void , that is to say, first true and then void…. The judgment of the word is true, the judgment in itself is void…. Only he who is a party can really judge, but as a party he cannot judge. Hence it follows that there is no possibility of judgment in the world, only a glimmer of it.
  • The observer of the soul cannot penetrate into the soul, but there doubtless is a margin where he comes into contact with it. Recognition of this contact is the fact that even the soul does not know of itself. Hence it must remain unknown. That would be sad only if there were anything apart from the soul, but there is nothing else.
  • There they lay, but not in the forgetfulness of the previous night. She was seeking and he was seeking, they raged and contorted their faces and bored their heads into each others bosom in the urgency of seeking something, and their embraces and their tossing limbs did not avail to make them forget, but only reminded them of what they sought
  • There are two main human sins from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence. It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise; it is because of indolence that they do not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return.
  • There has never been a time in which I have been convinced from within myself that I am alive. You see, I have only such a fugitive awareness of things around me that I always feel they were once real and are now fleeting away. I have a constant longing, my dear sir, to catch a glimpse of things as they may have been before they show themselves to me.
  • And I leave my post of observation and find I have had enough of this outside life; I feel that there is nothing more that I can learn here, either now or at any time. And I long to say a last goodbye to everything up here, to go down into my burrow never to return again, let things take their course, and not try to retard them with my profitless vigils.
  • My grandfather used to say: Life is astoundingly short. To me, looking back over it, life seems so foreshortened that I scarcely understand, for instance, how a young man can decide to ride over to the next village without being afraid that -not to mention accidents- even the span of a normal happy life may fall far short of the time needed for such a journey.
  • and in that recurring dream, I found myself trapped in some sort of gigantic game of which I was unfamiliar with the rules; lost in a labyrinthine town of dark and damp, criss-crossing streets, ambiguous characters of uncertain authority having no idea of why I was there nor what I had to do, and where the first sign of the beginning of understanding was the wish to die.
  • But Gregor understood easily that it was not only consideration for him which prevented their moving, for he could easily have been transported in a suitable crate with a few air holes; what mainly prevented the family from moving was their complete hopelessness and the thought that they had been struck by a misfortune as none of their relatives and acquaintances had ever been hit.
  • Everyone strives to attain the Law,’ answers the man, ‘how does it come about, then, that in all these years no one has come seeking admittance but me?’ The doorkeeper perceives that the man is nearing his end and his hearing is failing, so he bellows in his ear: ‘No one but you could gain admittance through this door, since this door was intended for you. I am now going to shut it.
  • I can prove at any time that my education tried to make another person out of me than the one I became. It is for the harm, therefore, that my educators could have done me in accordance with their intentions that I reproach them; I demand from their hands the person I now am, and since they cannot give him to me, I make of my reproach and laughter a drumbeat sounding in the world beyond.
  • They were offered the choice between becoming kings or the couriers of kings. The way children would, they all wanted to be couriers. Therefore there are only couriers who hurry about the world, shouting to each other – since there are no kings – messages that have become meaningless. They would like to put an end to this miserable life of theirs but they dare not because of their oaths of service.
  • It requires enormous presence of mind or rather quickness of wit, when opening your eyes to seize hold as it were of everything in the room at exactly the same place where you had let it go on the previous evening. That is why the moment of waking up was the riskiest moment of the day. Once that was well over without deflecting you from your orbit, you could take heart of grace for the rest of the day.
  • People keep themselves at a tolerable height above an infernal abyss toward which they gravitate only by putting out all their strength and lovingly helping one another. They are tied together by ropes, and it’s bad enough when the ropes around an individual loosen and he drops somewhat lower than the others into empty space; ghastly when the ropes break and he falls. That’s why we should cling to the others.
  • What a fate: to be condemned to work for a firm where the slightest negligence at once gave rise to the gravest suspicion! Were all the employees nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, was there not among them one single loyal devoted man who, had he wasted only an hour or so of the firm’s time in the morning, was so tormented by conscience as to be driven out of his mind and actually incapable of leaving his bed?
  • Writing sustains me. But wouldn’t it be better to say it sustains this kind of life? Which doesn’t mean life is any better when I don’t write. On the contrary, it is far worse, wholly unbearable, and inevitably ends in madness. This is, of course, only on the assumption that I am a writer even when I don’t write – which is indeed the case; and a non-writing writer is, in fact, a monster courting insanity.
  • There are two cardinal human sins out of which all others derive, deviate, and dissipate: impatience and lassitude (or perhaps nonchalance). On account of impatience they are driven out of paradise; on account of lassitude or nonchalance they do not return. Perhaps, however, only one main sense of sin is given: impatience. On account of impatience they are driven out, on account of impatience they do not turn back.
  • Expulsion from Paradise is in its main aspect eternal: that is to say, although expulsion from Paradise is final, and life in theworld unavoidable, the eternity of the process (or, expressed in temporal terms, the eternal repetition of the process) nevertheless makes it possible not only that we might remain in Paradise permanently, but that we may in fact be there permanently, no matter whether we know it here or not.
  • Alas,” said the mouse, “the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I must run into.” “You only need to change your direction,” said the cat, and ate it up.
  • If I didn’t have my parents to think about I’d have given in my notice a long time ago, I’d have gone up to the boss and told him just what I think, tell him everything I would, let him know just what I feel. He’d fall right off his desk! And it’s a funny sort of business to be sitting up there at your desk, talking down at your subordinates from up there, especially when you have to go right up close because the boss is hard of hearing.
  • When one has once accepted and absorbed Evil, it no longer demands the unfitness of the means. The ulterior motives with which youabsorb and assimilate Evil are not your own but those of Evil…. Evil is whatever distracts. Evil knows of the Good, but Good does not know of Evil. Knowledge of oneself is something only Evil has. One means that Evil has is the dialogue…. One cannot pay Evil in installments–and one always keeps on trying to.
  • I can’t think of any greater happiness than to be with you all the time, without interruption, endlessly, even though I feel that here in this world there’s no undisturbed place for our love, neither in the village nor anywhere else; and I dream of a grave, deep and narrow, where we could clasp each other in our arms as with clamps, and I would hide my face in you and you would hide your face in me, and nobody would ever see us any more.
  • Everything is deception: seeking the minimum of illusion, keeping within the ordinary limitations, seeking the maximum. In the first case one cheats the Good, by trying to make it too easy for oneself to get it, and the Evil by imposing all too unfavorable conditions of warfare on it. In the second case one cheats the Good by keeping as aloof from it as possible, and the Evil by hoping to make it powerless through intensifying it to the utmost.
  • He thought back on his family with deep emotion and love. His conviction that he would have to disappear was, if possible, even firmer than his sister’s. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful reflection until the tower clock struck three in the morning. He still saw that outside the window everything was beginning to grow light. Then, without his consent, his head sank down to the floor, and from his nostrils streamed his last weak breath.
  • If the book we are reading does not wake us, as with a fist hammering on our skull, why then do we read? So that it shall make us happy? Good God, we should also be happy if we had no books, and such books as make us happy we could, if need be, write ourselves. But what we must have are those books which come upon us like ill fortune, and distress us deeply, like the death of one we love better than ourselves; like suicide. A book must be an ice-axe to break the sea frozen inside us.
  • One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from the old cell, which one hates, to a new one, which one willl only in time come to hate. In this there is also a residue of belief that during the move the master will chance to come along the corridor, look at the prisoner and say: “This man is not to be locked up again, He is to come with me.
  • I am constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something I only feel in my bones and which can only be experienced in those bones. Basically it is nothing other than this fear we have so often talked about, but fear spread to everything, fear of the greatest as of the smallest, fear, paralyzing fear of pronouncing a word, although this fear may not only be fear but also a longing for something greater than all that is fearful.
  • When K. looked at the castle, often it seemed to him as if he were observing someone who sat quietly there in front of him gazing, not lost in thought and so oblivious of everything, but free and untroubled, as if he were alone with nobody to observe him, and yet must notice that he was observed, and all the same remained with his calm not even slightly disturbed; and really – one did not know whether it was cause or effect – the gaze of the observer could not remain concentrated there, but slid away.
  • I stand on the end platform of the tram and am completely unsure of my footing in this world, in this town, in my family. Not even casually could I indicate any claims that I might rightly advance in any direction. I have not even any defense to offer for standing on this platform, holding on to this strap, letting myself be carried along by this tram, nor for the people who give way to the tram or walk quietly along or stand gazing into shop windows. Nobody asks me to put up a defense, indeed, but that is irrelevant.
  • I don’t know who the great lawyers are, and I presume you can’t get to them. I know of no case where it can be said for certain that they took part. They defend some people, but you can’t get them to do that through your own efforts, they only defend the ones they want to defend. But I assume a case they take on must have progressed beyond the lower court. It’s better not to think of them at all, otherwise you’ll find the consultations with the other lawyers, their advice and their assistance, extremely disgusting and useless.
  • I have no memory for things I have learned, nor things I have read, nor things experienced or heard, neither for people nor events; I feel that I have experienced nothing, learned nothing, that I actually know less than the average schoolboy, and that what I do know is superficial, and that every second question is beyond me. I am incapable of thinking deliberately; my thoughts run into a wall. I can grasp the essence of things in isolation, but I am quite incapable of coherent, unbroken thinking. I can’t even tell a story properly; in fact, I can scarcely talk.