I enjoyed my own nature to the fullest, and we all know there lies happiness, although, to soothe one another mutually, we occasionally pretend to condemn such joys as selfishness.
There is scarcely any passion without struggle.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
People have played on words and pretended to believe that refusing to grant a meaning to life necessarily leads to declaring that it is not worth living. In truth, there is no necessary common measure between these two judgments.
It is necessary to fall in love… if only to provide an alibi for all the random despair you are going to feel anyway.
Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable.
All that remains is a fate whose outcome alone is fatal. Outside of that single fatality of death, everything, joy or happiness, is liberty. A world remains of which man is the sole master. What bound him was the illusion of another world.
A writer cannot put himself today in service of those who make history; he is at the service of those who suffer it.
The purpose of a writer is to keep civilization from destroying itself.
The nobility of our calling will always be rooted in two commitments difficult to observe: refusal to lie about what we know, and resistance to oppression.
Every writer, big or small, needs to say or write that the genius is always hissed at by his contemporaries. Naturally, this is not true, it happens only occasionally and often by chance. But this need within the writer is enlightening.
To write is to become disinterested. There is a certain renunciation in art.
Great novelists are philosopher-novelists who write in images instead of arguments.
Get scared. It will do you good. Smoke a bit, stare blankly at some ceilings, beat your head against some walls, refuse to see some people, paint and write. Get scared some more. Allow your little mind to do nothing but function. Stay inside, go out – I don’t care what you’ll do; but stay scared as hell. You will never be able to experience everything. So, please, do poetical justice to your soul and simply experience yourself.
We must know that we can never escape the common misery and that our only justification, if indeed there is a justification, is to speak up, insofar as we can, for those who cannot do so.
It is the job of thinking people not to be on the side of the executioners.
There was a time when I didn’t at any minute have the slightest idea how I could reach the next one. Yes, one can wage war in this world, ape love, torture one’s fellow man, or merely say evil of one’s neighbour while knitting. But, in certain cases, carrying on, merely continuing, is superhuman.
The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.
He had been bored, that’s all, bored like most people. Hence he had made himself out of whole cloth a life full of complications and drama. Something must happen – and that explains most human commitments. Something must happen, even loveless slavery, even war or death. Hurray then for funerals!
We used to wonder where war lived, what it was that made it so vile. And now we realize that we know where it lives… inside ourselves.
But what are a hundred million deaths? When one has served in a war, one hardly knows what a dead man is, after a while. And since a dead man has no substance unless one has actually seen him dead, a hundred million corpses broadcast through history are no more than a puff of smoke in the imagination.
Being is good, but getting rich is better…. If the gods had only the riches of men’s adoration, they would be as poor as poor Caligula.
A man wants to earn money in order to be happy, and his whole effort and the best of a life are devoted to the earning of that money. Happiness is forgotten; the means are taken for the end.