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"Human life must be some kind of mistake."

— Arthur Schopenhauer, Studies in Pessimism

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"The first effect of existentialism is that it puts every man in possession of himself as he is, and places the entire responsibility for his existence squarely upon his own shoulders."

— Jean-Paul Sartre, “Existentialism is a Humanism”

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"Reason lives by formulas; but life, which cannot be formulated, life which lives and seeks to live forever, does not submit to formulas. Its sole formula is: all or nothing. Feeling does not compound its differences with middle terms."

— Miguel de Unamuno - Tragic Sense of Life

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"We have seen that the vital longing for human immortality finds no consolation in reason and that reason leaves us without incentive or consolation in life and life itself without real finality. But here, in the depths of the abyss, the despair of the heart and of the will and the skepticism of reason meet face to face and embrace like brothers. And we shall see it is from this embrace, a tragic — that is to say, an intimately loving — embrace, that the wellspring of life will flow, a life serious and terrible."

— Miguel de Unamuno - Tragic Sense of Life

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"Objections, digressions, gay mistrust, the delight in mockery are signs of health: everything unconditional belongs in pathology."

— Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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"How could I bear this outsider inside me? This outsider that I was for myself? How could I live without seeing him? Without knowing him? How could I remain forever doomed to carrying him with me, inside me, visible to others and beyond my vision?"

— Luigi Pirandello, One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand

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"Solitude is never with you; it is always without you and possible only in the presence of an outsider, an alien person or place as may be, that completely ignores you, that you completely ignore; so your will and your feelings remain suspended and bewildered in a tormented uncertainty; and, as every affirmation of yourself ceases, the very privacy of your awareness ceases. True solitude is in a place that lives for itself, and for you it has no trace or voice. And you, then, are the outsider there."

— Luigi Pirandello, One, No One, and One Hundred Thousand

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"This very heart which is mine will forever remain indefinable to me. Between the certainty I have of my existence and the content I try to give to that assurance, the gap will never be filled. For ever I shall be a stranger to myself."

— Albert Camus - The Myth of Sisyphus

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"Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are."

— Soren Kierkegaard

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"Whatever noblest things the mind received,
More and more foreign matter spoils the theme;
And when the good of this world is achieved,
What’s better seems an idle dream.
That gave us our life, the noblest urges
Are petrified in the earth’s vulgar surges."

— From Goethe’s Faust

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"The time has come to prove by deeds that mortals
Have as much dignity as any god,
And not to tremble at that murky cave
Where fantasy condemns itself to dwell
In agony. The passage brave
Whose narrow mouth is lit by all the flames of hell;
And take this step with cheerful resolution,
Though it involve the risk of utter dissolution."

— From Goethe’s Faust

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"The bomb reveals the dreadful and total contingency of human existence. Existentialism is the philosophy of the atomic age."

— William Barrett - Irrational Man

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"The worst and final form of alienation, toward which indeed the others tend, is man’s alienation from his own self. In a society that requires of man only that he perform competently his own particular social function, man becomes identified with this function, and the rest of his being is allowed to subsist as best it can - usually to be dropped below the surface of consciousness and forgotten."

— William Barrett - Irrational Man

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"A society coming apart at top and bottom, or passing over into another form, contains just as many possibilities for revelation as a society running along smoothly in its own rut. The individual is thrust out of the sheltered nest that society has provided. He can no longer hide his nakedness by the old disguises. He learns how much of what he had taken for granted was by its own nature neither eternal nor necessary but thoroughly temporal and contingent. He learns that the solitude of the self is an irreducible dimension of human life no matter how completely that self had seemed to be contained in its social milieu. In the end, he see each man as solitary and I sheltered before his own death. Admittedly, these are painful truths, but the most basic things are always learned with pain, since our inertia and complacent love of comfort prevents us from learning them until they are forced upon us."

— William Barrett, Irrational Man

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"Ideologies separate us. Dreams and anguish bring us together."

— Eugene Ionesco