"What the philosophers once knew as life has become the sphere of private existence and now of mere consumption, dragged along as an appendage of the process of material production, without autonomy or substance of its own. He who wishes to know the truth about life in its immediacy must scrutinize its estranged form, the objective powers that determine individual existence even in its most hidden recesses...Our perspective of life has passed into an ideology which conceals the fact that there is life no longer."
"With the truth, you need to get rid of it as soon as possible and pass it on to someone else. As with illness, this is the only way to be cured of it. The person who keeps truth in his hands has lost."
"What is suicide anyway? Self-extinction. Rightly or wrongly. By what right? Why not? I tried to focus my thoughts on the one point: is suicide permissible? I had no answer. None. Because people are no answer, and can't be, nor is anything living, and not the dead either. By committing suicide, I am destroying something for which I am not to blame. Something entrusted to me, then? By whom? When? Did I realize it at the time? No. But an unignorable voice tells me that suicide is a sin. Sin? As easy as that?"
"The primary problems of the planet arise not from the poor, for whom education is the answer; they arise from the well-educated, for whom self-interest is the problem."
"An intellectual man has the power to go out of himself and see himself as an object; therefore his defects and delusions interest him as much as his successes. He not only wishes to succeed in life, but he wishes in thought to know the history and destiny of a man; whilst the cloud of egotists drifting about are only interested in a success to their egotism."
"...our tokens of compliment and love are for the most part barbarous. Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself."
"Turning off the electric light he continued the conversation with himself...What did he fear? It was not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too...Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it was already nada y pues nada y pues nada. Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name thy kingdom nada thy will be nada in nada as it is in nada. Give us this nada our daily nada and nada us our nada as we nada our nadas and nada us not into nada but deliver us from nada; pues nada. Hail nothing full of nothing, nothing is with thee..."
Who are my friends? --
Migrating birds lost over the ocean,
Shipwrecked seamen, herds without a shepherd,
The night, the dream, the homeless wind.
"The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause."
I could tell you, if I wanted to,
What makes me what I am.
But I don't really want to --
And you don't give a damn.
"Is there any sense in wondering who or what I am and why I am here?...Am I dead or alive? Am I asleep or awake? How can I be certain this is not a dream? How do I know whether my world is not a five-channel synchronized hallucination?"
"If the art of conversation stood a little higher we would have a lower birthrate."
"There is no surer way of making a name for oneself than by writing about things which appear to be important but which a sensible man would rarely take the time to investigate."
"To the degree we can hear our own voice, we improve our relations with other people. Because if we find our own voice unpleasant at times, then if the other person starts shrieking at us, we don't have to think, 'How unstable is the other.' Not if we can recognize that our own voice was ugly enough to incite the response."
"Time is beyond all persuasion. It hears no pleas. This inexorability of time tempts man into illusion: he likes to think that time is cyclic, that it will return either to give him another chance or to show that he never had a chance at all -- what happens happens because it had happened before, so that he has no responsibility. But this pretense is unreal, and it reveals itself more and more as unreal since the discovery of evolution, which is the discovery of the unrepeatability of all being."
"The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will...The mass crushes beneath it everything that is different, everything that is excellent, individual, qualified and select. Anybody who is not like everybody, who does not think like everybody, runs the risk of being eliminated."
"A strange mystery it is that Nature, omnipotent but blind, in the revolutions of her secular hurryings through the abysses of space, has brought forth at last a child, subject still to her power, but gifted with sight, with knowledge of good and evil, with the capacity of judging all the works of his unthinking Mother."
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
"...the typical agent of socialization is not the critical teacher, but the modern advertiser -- not he who clarifies, but he who mystifies. Whereas the former offers truth at the cost of spiritual turmoil and personal responsibility, the latter promises security and happiness for the sacrifice of an authentic search for meaning and truth."
"From the viewpoint of power, there are no lived moments (lived experience has no name), only instants succeeding one another and all equal in the line of the past. A whole system of conditioning broadcasts this attitude, hidden persuasion introjects it. And here's the result. Just where is this present that people go on about? In what forgotten corner of everyday life does it skulk?"