"In fact, the Subject is dying out. The subject that is an agency of will, freedom and representation, the Subject of power, knowledge and history is vanishing, giving way to a diffuse, floating, insubstantial subjectivity that is an immense reverberation surface for a disembodied, empty consciousness. As a result, everything now radiates out from an objectless subjectivity, with each monad and molecule caught in the trap of a definitive narcissism, a perpetual image-playback."
Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation:
"Are the mass media on the side of power in the manipulation of the masses, or are they on the side of the masses in the liquidation of meaning, in the violence perpetrated on meaning, and in fascination? Is it the media that induce fascination in the masses, or is it the masses who direct the media into the spectacle?"
"Writing becomes not easier, but more difficult for me. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness. Democritus pointed the way: 'Naught is more than nothing.'"
"This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?"
"...a man is always a prey to his truths. Once he has admitted them, he cannot free himself from them. One has to pay something. A man who has become conscious of the absurd is forever bound to it."
"Among the means for the regeneration of mankind, those made with noise and show are of the least importance."
"One of the most powerful indictments of capitalism is that it compels us to invest most of our creative energies in matters which are in fact purely utilitarian. The means of life become the end. Life consists in laying the material infrastructure for living...The capital which might be devoted to releasing men and women, at least to some moderate degree, from the exigencies of labour is dedicated instead to the task of amassing more capital."
"The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is."
"Ours is a life not of brotherliness, happiness, contentment but of spiritual chaos and bewilderment dangerously close to a state of madness -- not the hysterical kind of madness which existed in the Middle Ages but a madness akin to schizophrenia in which the contact with inner reality is lost and thought is split from affect."
"Really virtuous men are devoid of irony. Irony springs from the coldness of the soul -- Voltaire, or from hatred of mankind -- Shakespeare, Byron. It is a retort to humiliations undergone, a reply to insult, it is the reply of pride, not of the Christian."
"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."
"My patients brought me so close to the reality of human life that I could not help learning essential things from them. Encounters with people of so many different kinds and on so many different psychological levels have been for me incomparably more important than fragmentary conversations with celebrities. The finest and most significant conversations of my life were anonymous."
"Anyone who cannot cope with 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 jot down what he sees among the ruins, for he sees different and more things than the others; after all, he is dead in his own lifetime and the real survivor."
"The eagle in its flight does not leave a mark; the scientist does. Inquiring into this question of freedom there must be, not only scientific observation, but also the flight of the eagle that does not leave a mark."
"I have studied many times the marble which was chiseled for me -- a boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor. In truth it pictures not my destination but my life. For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. And now I know that we must lift the sail and catch the winds of destiny wherever they drive the boat. To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, but life without meaning is the torture. Of restlessness and vague desire -- it is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid."
"Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder?"
"To be conservative...is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss."
"When you realize that you are one of the rare few who observe moral principles in their relationships with others, there is a temptation to sink into amorality, not out of conviction or pleasure but simply to avoid further pain, because there is no greater suffering than being an angel in hell, whereas a devil feels at home wherever he goes."
"Shame is by nature recognition. I recognize that I am as the Other sees me...The Other...is presented in a certain sense as the radical negation of my experience, since he is the one for whom I am not subject but object. Therefore as the subject of knowledge I strive to determine as object the subject who denies my character as subject and who himself determines me as object."
"Prior to Kant, the line between theological and philosophical discourse is fluid. Both these extravagantly human enterprises have the same root. Human beings are persuaded that the totality of sensory-empirical data such as observation, the sciences and rational analysis which can assemble and order them, is not the whole story. Or, in Wittgenstein's aphorism: that the facts of the world are not, will never be, 'the end of the matter.'"
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that's Moses, not Jesus. I haven't heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. "Blessed are the merciful" in a courtroom? "Blessed are the peacemakers" in the Pentagon?