“Are we, then, insane because we have not gone mad?”
“Children have a more restricted and yet a more intense feeling for nature than grown-ups.”
“the irrational invalidates any meaning attached to it.”
“It is almost a matter of no account how far Marguerite will penetrate, whether she will ever be brought back or whether she will fall a prey to some wandering tramp—the sleepwalking of the infinite has seized upon her and never more will let her go.”
“The man who is thus outside the confines of every value-combination, and has become the exclusive representative of an individual value, is metaphysically an outcast, for his autonomy presupposes the resolution and disintegration of all system into its individual elements; such a man is liberated from values and from style, and can be influenced only by the irrational.”
“Do thyself no harm! for we are all here!”
“when the great intolerance of faith was lost, the secular robe of office had to supplant the sacred one, and society had to separate itself into secular hierarchies with secular uniforms and invest these with the absolute authority of a creed. And because, when the secular exalts itself as the absolute, the result is always romanticism, so the real and characteristic romanticism of that age was the cult of the uniform, which implied, as it were, a superterrestrial and supertemporal idea of uniform, an idea which did not really exist and yet was so powerful that it took hold of men far more completely than any secular vocation could, a non-existent and yet so potent idea that it transformed the man in uniform into the property of his uniform, and never into a professional man in the civilian sense; and this perhaps simply because the man who wears the uniform is content to feel that he is fulfilling the most essential function of his age and therefore guaranteeing the security of his own life.”
“Ennen vanhaan vain kirkko oli ihmisten mahtava tuomari, ja jokainen tiesi olevansa syntinen. Nyt pitää syntisen tuomita toinen syntinen, jotta kaikki arvot eivät rappeutuisi anarkiaksi, eikä veli enää voi vain itkeä veljen kanssa, vaan hänen on sanottava tälle: "Olet tehnyt väärin." Ja jos ennen vain pappismiehen asu erottui muista jotenkin epäinhimillisenä, ja jopa univormussa ja virkapuvussakin oli silloin vielä jotakin siviilimäistä, niin sittemmin, kun uskon suuri suvaitsemattomuus oli mennyttä, piti maallisen virka-asu nostaa taivaallisen sijaan ja yhteiskunnan piti jakautua maallisiin hierarkioihin ja univormuihin ja kohottaa absoluuttisuuteen uskon sijasta. Ja koska romantiikkaa aina on juuri se että maallinen kohotetaan absoluuttiseksi, niin tämän aikakauden varsinaista aitoa romantiikkaa on univormuromantiikka, ikään kuin olisi olemassa ylimaallinen ja yliajallinen univormun aate, jota ei ole ja joka silti on niin voimallinen että se saa ihmisen valtaansa paljon voimakkaammin kuin mikään maallinen ammatti tai kutsumus konsanaan, se on ei-olemassaoleva ja silti niin voimakas aate, että se tekee univormunkantajasta univormun riivaamaan, vaikka hän ei koskaan ole ammatti-ihminen siviilien tarkoittamassa mielessä; ja näin on koska univormun kantaja syvästi tiedostaa että juuri hän parhaiten edustaa oman aikansa varsinaista elämänmuotoa ja siten myös turvaa oman elämänsä.”
“Incapable of communicating himself to others, incapable of breaking out of his isolation, doomed to remain the mere actor of his life, the deputy of his own ego—all that any human being can know of another is a mere symbol, a symbol of an ego that remains beyond our grasp, possessing no more value than that of a symbol; and all that can be told is the symbol of a symbol, a symbol at a second, third, nth remove, asking for representation in the true double sense of the word.”
“it is always he, unfortunate wretch, who assumes the rôle of executioner in the process of value-disintegration, and on the day when the trumpets of judgment sound it is the man released from all values who becomes the executioner of a world that has pronounced its own sentence.”
“Wer vermag fröhlicher zu sein als ein Kranker? nichts zwingt ihn, sich dem Lebenskampf zu stellen, es steht ihm sogar frei zu sterben. Er ist nicht gezwungen, aus den Ereignissen, die der Tag ihm zuträgt, induktive Schlüsse zu ziehen, um danach sein Verhalten einzurichten, er darf in sein eigenes Denken eingesponnen bleiben, - eingesponnen in die Autonomie seines Wissens, darf er deduktiv, darf er theologisch denken. Wer vermag fröhlicher zu sein als der, der seinen Glauben denken darf!”
“IN the year 1888 Herr von Pasenow was seventy, and there were people who felt an extraordinary and inexplicable repulsion when they saw him coming towards them in the streets of Berlin, indeed, who in their dislike of him actually maintained that he must be an evil old man. Small, but well”
“No one can see another in the darkness, Esch, and that cloudless clarity of yours is only a dream. You know that I cannot keep you beside me, much as you fear your loneliness. We are a lost generation. I too can only go about my business.”
“Young man, until you know that all names are false you know nothing; not even the clothes on your body are what they seem to be.”
“That year it seemed as if the summer were never coming to an end: days of shimmering golden stillness followed each other in equal radiance, as if by their sweetness and peace they wanted to make the war, now in its bloodiest period, appear doubly insensate. As the sun dipped behind the chain of mountain peaks, as the sky paled into tenderer blue, as the road stretched away more peacefully and all life folded in upon itself like the breathing of a sleeper, that stillness grew more and more accessible and acceptable to the human soul. Surely that Sabbath peace lay over the whole of the German fatherland, and in a sudden uprush of yearning the Major thought of his wife and children whom he saw walking over the sunset fields. "I wish this were all over and done with," and Esch could not find any word of comfort for him. Hopeless and dreary this life seemed to both of them, its sole meagre return a walk in the evening landscape which they were both contemplating. It's like a reprieve, thought Esch. And so they went on in silence.”
“It is as if Protestantism by clinging to the Scripture wished to preserve the last faint echoes of God’s Word in a world that has fallen silent, a world where only things speak dumbly, a world delivered over to the silence and ruthlessness of the Absolute, - and in his fear of God the Protestant has realized that it is his own goal before which he cowers. For in excluding all other values, in casting himself in the last resort on an autonomous religious experience, he has assumed a final abstraction of a logical rigour that urges him unambiguously to strip all sensory trappings from his faith, to empty it of all content but the naked Absolute, retaining nothing but the pure form, the pure, empty and neutral form of a 'religion in itself', a 'mysticism in itself'.”
“As she wanders along the river like this, one hand on her hip and the other clutching a mark to defray her expenses, she is in well-known country.”
“A man who sacrifices himself must be a decent chap.”
“The unreal is the illogical. And this age seems to have a capacity for surpassing even the acme of illogicality, of anti-logicality: it is as if the monstrous reality of the war had blotted out the reality of the world. Fantasy has become logical reality, but reality evolves the most a-logical phantasmagoria. An age that is softer and more cowardly than any preceding age suffocates in waves of blood and poison-gas; nations of bank clerks and profiteers hurl themselves upon barbed wire; a well-organized humanitarianism avails to hinder nothing, but calls itself the Red Cross and prepares artificial limbs for the victims; towns starve and coin money out of their own hunger; spectacled school-teachers lead storm-troops; city dwellers live in caves; factory hands and other civilians crawl out on their artificial limbs once more to the making of profits. Amid a blurring of all forms, in a twilight of apathetic uncertainty brooding over a ghostly world, man like a lost child gropes his way by the help of a small frail thread of logic through a dream landscape that he calls reality and that is nothing but a nightmare to him.
The melodramatic revulsion which characterizes this age as insane, the melodramatic enthusiasm which calls it great, are both justified by the swollen incomprehensibility and illogicality of the events that apparently make up its reality. Apparently! For insane or great are terms that can never be applied to an age, but only to an individual destiny. Our individual destinies, however, are as normal as they ever were. Our common destiny is the sum of our single lives, and each of these single lives is developing quite normally, in accordance, as it were, with its private logicality. We feel the totality to be insane, but for each single life we can easily discover logical guiding motives. Are we, then, insane because we have not gone mad?”
“For the direct, lawful, immediate fruit of consciousness is inertia – that is, a conscious sitting with folded arms. I’ve already mentioned this above. I repeat, I emphatically repeat: ingenuous people and active figures are all active simply because they are dull and narrow minded. How to explain it? Here’s how: as a consequence of their narrow-mindedness, they take the most immediate and secondary causes for the primary ones, and thus become convinced more quickly and easily than others that they have found an indisputable basis for their doings, and so they feel at ease; and that, after all, is the main thing. For in order to begin to act, one must first be completely at ease, so that no more doubts remain. Well, and how am I, for example, to set myself at ease? Where are the primary causes on which I can rest, where are my bases? Where am I going to get them? I exercise thinking, and, consequently, for me every primary cause immediately drags with it yet another, still more primary one, and so on ad infinitum. Such is precisely the essence of all consciousness and thought. So,”
“Change came so slowly you never noticed it creeping up on you, or far too fast for comfort, but it came.”
“Sandry: "I am silly, now and then. My mother said I was, anyway."
Daja: "If you know, you can stop it."
Sandry: "Then you've never been silly or you'd know it just creeps up without any warning.”
“Hell couldn't be all bad if it had jewelry.”
“And yes, when he kisses you, the rest of the world disappears and your brain shuts off and all you can feel are his lips and nothing else matters.”
BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.
We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.
Founded in 2018, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.