It is not always by plugging away at a difficulty and sticking to it that one overcomes it; often it is by working on the one next to it. Some things and some people have to be approached obliquely, at an angle.
It is essential to persuade the soldier that those he is being urged to massacre are bandits who do not deserve to live; before killing other good, decent fellows like himself, his gun would fall from his hands.
Old hands soil, it seems, whatever they caress, but they too have their beauty when they are joined in prayer. Young hands were made for caresses and the sheathing of love. It is a pity to make them join too soon.
I am lost if I attempt to take count of chronology. When I think over the past, I am like a person whose eyes cannot properly measure distances and is liable to think things extremely remote which on examination prove to be quite near.
At times is it seems that I am living my life backward, and that at the approach of old age my real youth will begin. My soul was born covered with wrinkles. Wrinkles my ancestors and parents most assiduously put there and that I had the greatest trouble removing.
What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; what another would have written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself-and thus make yourself indispensable.
Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings.
No encounter occured that day, and I was glad of it; I took out of my pocket a little Homer I had not opened since leaving Marseilles, reread three lines of the Odyssey, learned them by heart; then, finding sufficient sustenance in their rhythm and reveling in them at leisure, I closed the book and remained, trembling, more alive than I had thought possible, my mind numb with happiness.
In order to be utterly happy the only thing necessary is to refrain from comparing this moment with other moments in the past, which I often did not fully enjoy because I was comparing them with other moments of the future.
If the flower were not attached to its stem, it would flee at the approach of man, like the insect or the bird; for the attribute of man on the earth, at least as long as he does not better understand his role, is to worry and frighten what he is not interested in taming for utilitarian purposes. Man is skillful in mistreating everything he can use
Humanity cherishes its swaddling clothes; but it shall not grow up unless it can free itself from them. Turning down his mother's breast does not make the weaned child ungrateful. ... Rise up naked, valiant; make the sheaths crack; push aside the stakes; to grow straight you need no more than the thrust of your sap and the call of the sun.
Through loyalty to the past, our mind refuses to realize that tomorrow's joy is possible only if today's makes way for it; that each wave owes the beauty of its line only to the withdrawal of the preceding one.
The very act of sacrifice magnifies the one who sacrifices himself to the point where his sacrifice is much more costly to humanity than would have been the loss of those for whom he is sacrificing himself. But in his abnegation lies the secret of his grandeur.
The finest virtues can become deformed with age. The precise mind becomes finicky; the thrifty man, miserly; the cautious man, timorous; the man of imagination, fanciful. Even perseverance ends up in a sort of stupidity. Just as, on the other hand, being too willing to understand too many opinions, too diverse ways of seeing, constancy is lost and the mind goes astray in a restless fickleness.
Yet I'm sure there's something more to be read in a man. People dare not -- they dare not turn the page. The laws of mimicry -- I call them the laws of fear. People are afraid to find themselves alone, and don't find themselves at all. I hate this moral agoraphobia -- it's the worst kind of cowardice. You can't create something without being alone. But who's trying to create here? What seems different in yourself: that's the one rare thing you possess, the one thing which gives each of us his worth; and that's just what we try to suppress. We imitate. And we claim to love life.
Throw away my book: you must understand that it represents only one of a thousand attitudes. You must find your own. If someone else could have done something as well as you, donât do it. If someone else could have said something as well as you, donât say itâor written something as well as you, donât write it. Grow fond only of that which you can find nowhere but in yourself, and create out of yourself, impatiently or patiently, ah! that most irreplaceable of beings.
The young people who come to me in the hope of hearing me utter a few memorable maxims are quite disappointed. Aphorisms are not my forte, I say nothing but banalities.... I listen to them and they go away delighted.
I would like the events never to be told directly by the author, but rather to be introduced (and several times, from various angles) by those among the characters on whom they will have had any effect. I would like those events, in the account they will make of them, to appear slightly distorted; a kind of interest stems, for the reader, from the simple fact that he should need to restore. The story requires his collaboration in order to properly take shape.
Mozart's joy is made of serenity, and a phrase of his music is like a calm thought; his simplicity is merely purity. It is a crystalline thing in which all the emotions play a role, but as if already celestially transposed. Moderation consists in feeling emotions as the angels do.
It seems to me that had I not known Dostoevsky or Nietzsche or Freud or X or Z, I should have thought just as I did, and that I found in them rather an authorization than an awakening. Above all, they taught me to cease doubting, to cease fearing my thoughts, and to let those thoughts lead me to those lands that were not uninhabitable because after all I found them already there .
Christianity, above all, consoles; but there are naturally happy souls who do not need consolation. Consequently Christianity begins by making such souls unhappy, for otherwise it would have no power over them.
Man! The most complex of creatures, and for this reason the most dependant of creatures. On everything that has formed you, you may depend. Do not balk at this apparent slavery....a debtor to many, you pay for your advantages by the same number of dependencies. Understand that independence is a form of poverty; that many things claim you, that many also claim kinship with you.
The anxiety we have for the figure we cut, for our personage, is constantly cropping out. We are showing off and are often more concerned with making a display than with living. Whoever feels observed observes himself.
Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves! And without too many regrets, if possible! Those from which the sap has withdrawn. But, good Lord, what beautiful colors!
Obsessions of the Orient, of the desert, of its ardor and its emptiness, of the shadows of palm gardens, of the garments white and wide - obsessions where the senses go berserk, where nerves are exasperated, and which made me, at the onset of each night, believe sleep impossible.
To understand is nothing, but to be understood-that is the problem and the source of anguish. The soul throbs and would have the other know-but can not and feels isolated. Then come gestures, words, awkward explanations and material symbols for imponderable outbursts of feeling-and the soul despairs.
They establish distinctions and reserves which I cannot apply to myself, for I exist only as a whole; my only claim is to be natural, and the pleasure I feel in an action, I take as a sign that I ought to do it.
Through fear of resembling one another, through horror of having to submit, through uncertainty as well, through skepticism and complexity, there is a multitude of individual little beliefs for the triumph of strange little individuals.
The truth is, I hoped the cure would dislike me. I tried to think of disagreeable things to say to him -- I could hit on nothing that wasn't charming. It's wonderful how hard I find it not to be fascinating.
We prefer to go deformed and distorted all our lives rather than not resemble the portrait of ourselves which we ourselves have first drawn. Itâs absurd. We run the risk of warping whatâs best in us