Home > EV & EP
-001-Spinoza: I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions but to understand them.
-002- [Existentialism's] focus is on the proper way of acting rather than on an abstract set of theoretical truths.
-003- Kierkegaard refers to the ‘plebs’, Nietzsche unflatteringly speaks of the ‘herd’, Heidegger of ‘Das Man’ and Sartre the ‘one’.
-004- Albert Camus views this as the source of our anguish: we long for meaning conveyed by a Universe that cares but discover only an empty sky.
-005- Everything she said was like a secret voice speaking straight out of my own bones.
-006- Lost to others, they sought in vain to find themselves. – Kierkegaard, Diary of a Seducer
-007- Meditations: -03.04- Do not waste what remains of your life in speculating about your neighbours, unless with a view to some mutual benefit. To wonder what so-and-so is doing and why, or what he is saying, or thinking, or scheming—in a word, anything that distracts you from fidelity to the Ruler within you – means a loss of opportunity for some other task. See then that the flow of your thoughts is kept free from idle or random fancies, particularly those of an inquisitive or uncharitable nature. A man should habituate himself to such a way of thinking that if suddenly asked, ‘What is in your mind at this minute?’ he could respond frankly and without hesitation; thus proving that all this thoughts were simple and kindly, as becomes a social being with no taste for the pleasures of sensual imaginings, jealousies, envies, suspicions, or any other sentiments that he would blush to acknowledge in himself. Such a man, determined here and now to aspire to the heights, is indeed a priest and minister of the gods; for he is making full use of that indwelling power which can keep a man unsullied by pleasures, proof against pain, untouched by insult, and impervious to evil. He is a competitor in the greatest of all contests, the struggle against passion’s mastery; he is imbued through and through with uprightness, welcoming whole-heartedly whatever falls to his lot and rarely asking himself what others may be saying or doing or thinking except when the public interest requires it. He confines his operations to his own concerns, having his attention fixed on his own particular thread of the universal web; seeing to it that his actions or honourable, and convinced that what befalls him must be for the best – for his own directing fate is itself under a higher direction. He does not forget the brotherhood of all rational beings, nor that a concern for every man is proper to humanity; and he knows that it is not the world’s opinions he should follow, but only those of men whose lives confessedly accord with Nature. As for others whose lives are not so ordered, he reminds himself constantly of the characters they exhibit daily and nightly at home and abroad , and of the sort of society they frequent; and the approval of such men, who do not even stand well in their own eyes, has no value for him.
-008- There used to be a vacuum in my soul, a something, I know not what, dense as smoke; but wisely and religiously I mounted the steps that lead to your altar, and you dispelled that gloomy shroud as the wind blows a butterfly. In its place you set an extreme coldness, a consummate prudence and an implacable logic.
-009- And yet (spectacle worthy of note!) the more indifferent he is the more you admire him. It is apparent that you mistrust his hidden attributes; and you argue that only a deity of extreme power could demonstrate such contempt towards the faithful who submit to his religion. It is for this reason that in different countries exist different gods; here a crocodile, there a whore…
-010- I did not relish this murder as much as one might think. And it was precisely because I was sated with perpetual killing that thencefoward I did it simply from a habit impossible to relinquish but yielding only the slightest pleasure.
-011- Mario and I were riding along the beach. Our horses, necks outstretched, clove through the membranes of space and struck sparks from the pebbles on the beach. An icy blast struck us full in the face, penetrated our cloaks, and swept back our hair on our twin heads. The sea-gull tried in vain to warn us by his outcries and the agitation of his wings of the possible proximity of the storm, and cried out: ‘Where are they off to at that mad gallop?’ We said nothing; plunged in meditation we let ourselves be carried away by that furious race. The fisherman, seeing us pass by swift as an albatross, and realising that he was seeing before him the two mysterious brothers as we had been called because we were always together, hastened to cross himself and hide with his paralysed dog in the deep shadows of a rock.
The inhabitants of the coast had heard tell of many strange things concerning these two persons, who appeared on earth amid clouds during periods of great disaster, when a frightful war threatened to plant its harpoon in the breasts of two enemy countries, or when cholera was preparing to hurl out from its sling putrefaction and death through entire cities. The older beachcombers frowned gravely, affirming that the two phantoms, whose vast black wingspread every one had noticed during hurricanes above the sandbanks and reefs, were the evil genius of the land and the genius of the sea, who promenade their majesty up in the air during great natural revolutions, united by an eternal friendship the rarity and glory of which have given birth to the astonishment of unlimited chains of generations.
-012- We did not speak. What do two hearts that love say to each other? Nothing. But our eyes expressed all. … Each takes as much interest in the life of the other as in his own life.
–Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction
-013- Becoming an individual is a task to be undertaken and sustained but perhaps never permanently achieved.
-014- He shall be the greatest who can be the loneliest, the most hidden, the most deviating, the human being beyond good and evil.
-015- If I do not reveal my views on justice in words, I do so by my conduct. –Socrates to Xenophon.
-016- Then something opened in me, briefly, frighteningly, as if a little window had been thrown open on to a vast, far, dark, deserted plain. – The Untouchable, John Banville
-001- It would not be well that all men should read the pages that are to follow; a few only may savour their bitter fruit without danger. May it please heaven that the reader, emboldened and become of a sudden momentarily ferocious like what he is reading, may trace in softly his pathway through the desolate morass of these gloomy and poisonous pages.
-002- In a few lines I shall establish how Maldoror was virtuous during his first years, virtuous and happy. Later he became aware that he was born evil. Strange fatality! He concealed his character as best he could for many years; but in the end, because such concentration was unnatural to him, every day the blood would mount to his head until the strain reached a point where he could no longer bear to live such a life and he gave himself over resolutely to a career of evil.
-003- He does not suspect that his life was in danger for fifteen minutes. All was ready and the knife had been bought. It was a slender stiletto, for I love grace and elegance even in the appurtenances of death; but it was long and sharp.
-004- All people should be elitists—and keep it to themselves. – Jonathan Franzen
-005- At last I had found someone who resembled me! Henceforth I should not be alone in life! She had the same ideas as I ! I was face to face with my first love! – Maldoror
-006- …silent…who seldom spoke except to each other because they knew the rest of the world to be against them. – Spiderweb
-007- Diderot said that what we do is, we erect a statue in our own image inside ourselves—idealised, you know, but still recognisable—and then spend our lives engages in the effort to make ourselves into its likeness.
-008- He was one of those creatures that are just simmering all the time with a silly sort of wickedness. –Secret Sharer by Conrad
-009- It was as though for this length of time they indeed escaped the world and inhabited their private universe together. – Compulsion, Meyer Levin