War makes men barbarous because, to take part in it, one must harden oneself against all regret, all appreciation of delicacy and sensitive values. One must live as if those values did not exist, and when the war is over one has lost the resilience to return to those values.
Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.
Living is like working out a long addition sum, and if you make a mistake in the first two totals you will never find the right answer. It means involving oneself in a complicated chain of circumstances.
A consoling thought: what matters is not what we do, but the spirit in which we do it. Others suffer too; so much so that there is nothing in the world but suffering; the problem is simply to keep a clear conscience.
No matter how much a young man likes to think for himself, he is always trying to model himself on some abstract pattern largely derived from the example of the world around him. And a man, no matter how conservative, shows his own worth by his personal deviation from that pattern.
I was happy enough; I knew that during the night the whole city might go up in flames and all its people be killed, but the ravines, houses, and footpaths would wake in the morning calm and unchanged.
The problem is not the harshness of Fate, for anything we want strongly enough we get. The trouble is rather that when we have it we grow sick of it, and then we should never blame Fate, only our own desire.
You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there.
Why does a man who is truly in love insist that this relationship must continue and be "lifelong"? Because life is pain and the enjoyment of love is an anesthetic. Who would want to wake up halfway through an operation?
Men who have a tempestuous inner life and do not seek to give vent to it by talking or writing are simply men who have no tempestuous inner life. Give company to a lonely man and he will talk more than anyone.
A decision, an action, are infallible omens of what we shall do another time, not for any vague, mystic, astrological reason but because they result from an automatic reaction that will repeat itself.
It is not that the child lives in a world of imagination, but that the child within us survives and starts into life only at rare moments of recollection, which makes us believe, and it is not true, that, as children, we were imaginative?
At great periods you have always felt, deep within you, the temptation to commit suicide. You gave yourself to it, breached your own defenses. You were a child. The idea of suicide was a protest against life; by dying, you would escape this longing for death.