"I used to wonder, I still wonder at this bond that unites man with the world, this double image in which my heart can intervene and dictate its happiness up to the precise limit where the world can either fulfill or destroy it. Florence! One of the few places in Europe where I have understood that at the heart of my revolt consent is dormant. In its sky mingled with tears and sunlight, I learned to consent to the earth and be consumed int he dark flame of its celebrations. I felt…but what word can I use? What excess? How can one consecrate the harmony of love and revolt? The earth! In this great temple deserted by the gods, all my idols have feet of clay."
— Albert Camus - “The Desert”
"I took it in my hand as something totally unfamiliar and turned the pages. I do not know which demon was whispering to me: ‘Take this book home.’ In any case, it happened, which was contrary to my custom of otherwise never rushing into buying a book. Back at the house I threw myself into the corner of a sofa with my new treasure, and began to let that dynamic, dismal genius work on me. Each line cried out with renunciation, negation, resignation. I was looking into a mirror that reflected the world, life and my own mind with hideous magnificence."
— Nietzsche, on reading Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation
The most fulfilling human projects appeared inseparable from a degree of torment, the sources of our greatest joys lying awkwardly close to those of our greatest pains…
Why? Because no one is able to produce a great work of art without experience, nor achieve a worldly position immediately, nor be a great lover at the first attempt; and in the interval between initial failure and subsequent success, in the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. We suffer because we cannot spontaneously master the ingredients of fulfillment.
Nietzsche was striving to correct the belief that fulfillment must come easily or not at all, a belief ruinous in its effects, for it leads us to withdraw prematurely from challenges that might have been overcome if only we had been prepared for the savagery legitimately demanded by almost everything valuable.
— Alain de Botton - The Consolations of Philosophy
"Examine the lives of the best and most fruitful people and peoples and ask yourselves whether a tree that is supposed to grow to a proud height can dispense with bad weather and storms; whether misfortune and external resistance, some kinds of hatred, jealousy, stubbornness, mistrust, hardness, avarice, and violence do not belong among the favorable conditions without which any great growth even of virtue is scarcely possible."
Happy Birthday Nietzsche!
"I tell myself: I am going to die, but this means nothing, since I cannot manage to believe it and I can only experience other people’s death. I have seen people die. Above all, I have seen dogs die. It was touching them that overwhelmed me. Then I think of flowers, smiles, the desire for women, and realize that my whole horror of death lies in my anxiety to live. I am jealous of those who will live and for whom flowers and the desire for women will have their full flesh and blood meaning. I am envious because I love life too much not to be selfish."
— Albert Camus - The Wind at Djemila
"A young man looks the world in the face. He has not had time to polish the idea of death or of nothingness, even though he has gazed on their full horror. That is what youth must be like — this harsh confrontation with death, this physical terror of the animal who loves the sun. Whatever people say, on this score at least, youth has no illusions. It has neither the time nor the piety to build itself any. And, I don’t know why, but faced with this ravined landscape, this solemn and lugubrious cry of stone, Djemila, inhuman at nightfall, faced with this death of colors and hope, I was certain that when they reach the end of their lives, men worthy of the name must rediscover this confrontation, deny the few ideas they had, and recover the innocence and truth that gleamed in the eyes of the Ancients face to face with destiny. They regain their youth, but by embracing death."
— Albert Camus - “The Wind at Djemila”
"No, it was neither I nor the world that counted, but solely the harmony and silence that gave birth to the love between us. A love I was not foolish to claim for myself alone, proudly aware that I shared it with a whole race born in the sun and sea, alive and spirited, drawing greatness from its simplicity, and upright on the beaches, smiling in complicity at the brilliance of its skies."
— Albert Camus, “Nuptials at Tipasa”
"Now the trees were filled with birds. The earth would give a long sigh before sliding into darkness. In a moment, with the first star, night would fall on the theater of the world. The dazzling gods of day would return to their daily death. But other gods would come. And, though they would be darker, their ravaged faces too would come from deep within the earth."
— Albert Camus, ”Nuptials at Tipasa”
"The task of painting the picture of life, often as it has been attempted by poets and philosophers, is nevertheless irrational. Even in the hands of the greatest artist-thinkers, pictures and miniatures of one life only — their own — have come into being, and indeed no other result is possible."
— Friedrich Nietzsche in Human, All Too Human, Part Two, Miscellaneous Maxims and Opinions
"There is a kind of knowledge that strips whatever you do of weight and scope: for such knowledge, everything is without basis except itself. Pure to the point of abhorring even the notion of an object, it translates that extreme science according to which doing or not doing something comes down to the same thing and is accompanied by an equally extreme satisfaction: that of being able to rehearse, each time, the discovery that any gesture performed is not worth defending, that nothing is enhanced by the merest vestige of substance, that “reality” falls within the province of lunacy. Such knowledge deserves to be called posthumous: it functions as if the knower were alive and not alive, a being and the memory of a being. “It’s already in the past,” he says about all he achieves, even as he achieves it, thereby forever destitute of present."
— E.M. Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born
(Source: heteroglossia, via portionsofeternity)
"A human being is a part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
— Albert Einstein
'O Zarathustra, you stone of wisdom, you projectile, you star-destroyer! You have thrown yourself thus high, but every stone that is thrown — must fall!'
Thereupon the dwarf fell silent; and long he continued so. But his silence oppressed me; and to be thus in company is truly more lonely than to be alone…
But there is something in me that I call courage: it has always destroyed every discouragement in me. This courage bade me stop and say: ‘Dwarf! You! Or I!’
For courage is the best destroyer — courage that attacks: for in every attack there is a triumphant shout…
Courage also destroys giddiness at abysses: and where does man not stand at an abyss?
Courage destroys even death, for it says: ‘Was that life? Well then! Once more!’
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
To redeem the past and to transform every ‘It was’ into an ‘I wanted it thus!’ — that alone do I call redemption!
Will — that is what the liberator and bringer of joy is called…but now learn this as well: The will itself is a prisoner.
Willing liberates: but what is it that fastens in fetters even the liberator?
‘It was’: that is what the will’s teeth-gnashing and most lonely affliction is called. Powerless against that which has been done, the will is an angry spectator of all things past. The will cannot will backwards; that it cannot break time and time’s desire — that is the will’s most lonely affliction.
— Friedrich Nietzsche - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"One repays a teacher badly if one remains only a pupil…Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when you have all denied me will I return to you."
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"Language is not made to be believed but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience newspapers, news, proceed by redundancy, in that they tell us what we ‘must’ think, retain, expect, etc. language is neither informational nor communicational. It is not the communication of information but something quite different: the transmission of order-words, either from one statement to another or within each statement, insofar as each statement accomplished an act and that act is accomplished in the statement."
— Gilles Deleuze, Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia