Best 156 quotes in «existential quotes» category

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    Love is a sensible phenomenon, but not intelligible. You cannot know whether you love or not; you can only feel it in your heart and soul. Love as a knowable phenomenon is not an act of love itself, but a rational 'illusory' design of the intellect, an act of psychological adaptation to the environment. To support the existential meaning of your being in this environment, your intellect provides you with an artificial mental programming system.

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    Love transports mortal beings to the existential plane of spiritual eternity transcending the emotional, mental, and physical limitations of an inaccurately perceived finite existence.

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    Mais les enfants ne connaissent point ce bris de prison qu'on nomme le suicide

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    She laughed. 'It won't last. Nothing lasts. But I'm happy now.' 'Happy,' I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don't have much faith in them and I am no exception--especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they're scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.

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    Might it have been nothing but life itself? Life; this limitless complex sea, filled with assorted flotsam, brimming with capricious, violent, and yet eternally transparent blues and greens.

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    My Life had stood-- a Loaded Gun

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    [...] nothing is ever only good and nothing is ever only bad. Everything is somewhere in the middle.

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    Oh, Karamazov, I am deeply unhappy.

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    o There’s no way to really preserve a person when they’ve gone and that’s because whatever you write down it’s not the truth, it’s just a story. Stories are all we’re ever left with in our head or on paper: clever narratives put together from selected facts, legends, well edited tall tales with us in the starring roles.

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    Out of the decisions that we make in life, our Self emerges. What we choose in life is not the thing chosen out there, but oneself.

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    Pedal the cycle of character, dismiss the people of sheep, savor the zealot they weep

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    Quand l'immanence surplombant sur nous, ciel, gouffre, vie, tombeau, éternité, apparaît patente, c'est alors que nous sentons tout inaccessible, tout défendu, tout muré. Quand l'infini s'ouvre, pas de fermeture plus formidable.

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    Shukhov stared at the ceiling and said nothing. He no longer knew whether he wanted to be free or not...it had gradually dawned on him that people like himself were not allowed to go home but were packed off into exile. And there was no knowing where the living was easier – here or there. The one thing he might want to ask God for was to let him go home. But they wouldn't let him go home.

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    Still, somewhere in the depths of ourselves we all harbor an ashamed, unsatisfied melancholy that quietly awaits a funeral.

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    Some ideas are existential luxury.

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    Stars, spattered out through lifeless night from end to end, like jewels scattered in a dead king's grave, tease, torment my wits toward meaningful patterns that do not exist.

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    So, here we are, all of us poor bewildered darlings, wandering adrift in a universe too big and too complex for us, clasping and ricochetting off other people too different and too perplexing for us, and seeking to satisfy myriad, shifting, vague needs and desires, both mean and exalted. And sometimes we mesh. Don't we? - Attributed to James Flynn, Ph.D.

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    Sometimes when I think about entities—like in “separate entities”—it gets mighty grim. I start thinking, and I nearly go to pieces. …For instance, say you’re riding on the subway. And there are dozens of people in the car. Mere “passengers” you’d have to call them, as a rule. “Passengers” being conveyed from Aoyama 1-chome to Akasakamitsuke. Sometimes, though, it’ll strike you, that each and every one of those passengers is a distinct individual entity. Like, what does this one do? Or why on earth do you suppose that one’s riding the Ginza Line? Or whatever. By then it’s too late. You let it get to you and you’re a goner.

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    There was something heartbreakingly beautiful about the lights of distant ships, I thought. It was something that touched both on human achievement and the vastness against which those achievements seemed so frail. It was the same thing whether the lights belonged to a caravel battling the swell on a stormy horizon or a diamond-hulled starship which had just sliced its way through interstellar space.

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    Take fireflies for example. Try to imagine their beauty, the evanescent beauty of their lives, which don't even last a week. Female fireflies flash their lights only to have intercourse with the males; males twinkle just to have intercourse with the females. And once their mating has finished, they die. In short, their reproductive instinct is the single, absolute reason for fireflies to live. In that simple instinct and their simple world, no kind of sadness can intervene. This is precisely why fireflies are so fleetingly beautiful.

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    ...the existential paradox we all experience; we feel that we are immortal, yet we know that we will die.

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    Then there are also the quiet deaths. How about the day you realized you weren't going to be an astronaut or the queen of Sheba? Feel the silent distance between yourself and how you felt as a child, between yourself and those feelings of wonder and splendor and trust. Feel the mature fondness for who you once were, and your current need to protect innocence wherever you make might find it. The silence that surrounds the loss of innocence is a most serious death, and yet it is necessary for the onset of maturity. What about the day we began working not for ourselves, but rather with the hope that our kids have a better life? Or the day we realize that, on the whole, adult life is deeply repetitive? As our lives roll into the ordinary, when our ideals sputter and dissipate, as we wash the dishes after yet another meal, we are integrating death, a little part of us is dying so that another part can live.

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    There had to be something wrong with my life. I should have been born a Yugoslavian shepherd who looked up at the Big Dipper every night. No car, no car stereo, no silver bracelets, no shuffling, no dark blue tweed suits.

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    There was something vaguely sad about the rock. It was as old as it looked, standing weathered and lonely amidst the stretch of sand, and its thoughts were quiet as it listened to the waves.

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    The sea was no stranger to the rock on the beach. The sea came often to the rock, rushing up wetly against its warm grey, and always as it swept away it took an infinitesimal part of the rock with it. The rock had known the waves for a long time, and learned it was in its nature to erode.

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    These solitary ones who are free in spirit know thatin one thing or another they must constantly put on an appearance that is different from the way they think; although they want nothing but truth and honesty, they are entangled in a web of misunderstandings. And despite their keen desire, they cannot prevent a fog of false opinions, of accommodation, of halfway concessions, of indulgent silence, of erroneous interpretation from settling on everything they do. And so a cloud of melancholy gathers around their brow, for such natures hate the necessity of appearances more than death, and their persistent bitterness about this makes them volatile and menacing. From time to time they take revenge for their violent selfconcealment, for their coerced constraint. They emerge from their caves with horrible expressions on their faces; at such times their words and deeds are explosions, and it is even possible for them to destroy themselves.

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    The human psyche evolved in order to defend itself against seeing the truth. To prevent us from catching sight of the mechanism. The psyche is our defense system - it makes sure we'll never understand what's going on around us. Its main task is to filter information, even though the capabilities of our brains are enormous. For it would be impossible for us to carry the weight of this knowledge. Because every tiny particle of the world is made of suffering.

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    The question of being is the darkest in all philosophy.

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    These colorful polaroids Are like magical portals Leading to places, emotions, and people Who had slipped into the midst of the forgotten, Into the odd ether of willful omittance.

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    They claimed no allegiance to any flag and valued no currency but luck and good contacts.

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    They say I don’t exist. They say I am an extension, an indulgence, imagination of a schizophrenic person.

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    This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in--an interesting hole I find myself in--fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, it's still frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be all right, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch-out for. We all know that at some point in the future the universe will come to an end, and at some other point, considerably in advance from that but still not immediately pressing, the sun will explode. We feel there's plenty of time to worry about that, but on the other hand that's a very dangerous thing to say... I think that we need to take a larger perspective on who we are and what we are doing here if we are going to survive in the long term.

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    What are people but deaths that haven't happened yet?

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    This is what it means to be human: slaughtering the people we might have been. Metaphor or reality, abstract quantum formalism or flesh-and-blood truth, there’s nothing I can do to change it.

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    Unseen in their flight, wild geese faintly call, passing high overhead, in the depths of night. Instinctive travelers, on invisible highways. I envy their lack of lostness.

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    We are snowflakes, melting on the tongue of the universe.

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    We believe because it gives us faith. It gives us the willingness to go through our day, to keep the existentialist threat of meaninglessness away. We believe because we crave to be seen, to be known, to be understood. We believe because that is the only thing we can do. If there is no one to judge us - to tell us that we are good, and that if we are bad, we can be redeemed - why bother living at all? Why bother being good at all? If there is no one to look after us, and we are truly alone in this universe, what purpose do we have? We have nothing but the present moment, and only temporariness.

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    We co-existed in peaceful detachment

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    Welcome to Planet Earth, find your existential avant-garde.

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    We're really endless in a way. If time goes on forever, then any way you divide it is also forever. A tenth of infinity is infinity. It's only us that think the time is gone. It isn't. We're still there. Still at our wedding. Still on honeymoon. All the good times are still happening. Even in the middle of the bad times to come, we'll still be together. Forever, in a way.

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    We've been dead for thousands and thousands of years. Dead or sleeping, depends on how you feel about it at any given moment. But that's okay. The trouble starts when you are born, then everything becomes taxing and temporary. When they pulled us into awareness, they killed us. Then we get saddled with a seven minute relay, at best. A soft limbo that's only palliative and comforting in theory. A momentary respite that's a cosmic joke of course and still resented by the divine. A petty haggling of which we weren't even a part of. When forced into an existence, we turned into the ward of all that breathes, subjected to the known universe, and though always partial to the unknown, which wasn't really found and never understood, is lost to us.

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    What mattered to me in my dispeopled kingdom, that in regard to which the disposition of my carcass was the merest and most futile of accidents, was supineness in the mind, the dulling of the self and of that residue of execrable frippery known as the non-self and even the world, for short. But man is still today, at the age of twenty-five, at the mercy of an erection, physically too, from time to time, it’s the common lot, even I was not immune, if that may be called an erection. It did not escape her naturally, women smell a rigid phallus ten miles away and won­der, How on earth did he spot me from there? One is no longer oneself, on such occasions, and it is painful to be no longer oneself, even more painful if possible than when one is. For when one is one knows what to do to be less so, whereas when one is not one is any old one irredeemably. What goes by the name of love is banishment, with now and then a postcard from the homeland, such is my considered opinion, this evening.

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    What mattered to me in my dispeopled kingdom, that in regard to which the disposition of my carcass was the merest and most futile of accidents, was supineness in the mind, the dulling of the self and of that residue of execrable frippery known as the non-self and even the world, for short. But man is still today, at the age of twenty-five, at the mercy of an erection, physically too, from time to time, it’s the common lot, even I was not immune, if that may be called an erection. It did not escape her naturally, women smell a [23] rigid phallus ten miles away and won­der, How on earth did he spot me from there? One is no longer oneself, on such occasions, and it is painful to be no longer oneself, even more painful if possible than when one is. For when one is one knows what to do to be less so, whereas when one is not one is any old one irredeemably. What goes by the name of love is banishment, with now and then a postcard from the homeland, such is my considered opinion, this evening.

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    When existence reveals itself as existentially intolerable, thinking collapses in on itself. In such situations—in the depths—it's noticing, not thinking, that does the trick.

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    When I arrived the News was three years old and Ed Lotterman was on the verge of a breakdown. To hear him talk you would think he'd been sitting at the very cross-corners of the earth, seeing himself as a combination of God, Pulitzer and the Salvation Army. He often swore that if all the people who had worked for the paper in those years could appear at one time before the throne of The Almighty--if they all stood there and recited their histories and their quirks and their crimes and their deviations--there was no doubt in his mind that God himself would fall down in a swoon and tear his hair.

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    When it has finished saying it, it no longer is. The longer it is in saying it, the more it can say it at length, the more slowly it melts, the better quality it is.

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    Whether it is rational or empirical, your approach to life must always be empathetic. Emotional intelligence is acquired when knowledge and empathy are combined and applied to situations regularly in everyday life.

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    Who cares what we dream about? Just getting through each day is hard enough.

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    You think it’s a game? Unintelligible? Ha! Envision no spoons. This is serious. It is a matter of joy versus emptiness.

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    Will I stick to the eternity Of never trying? Or will I challenge the uncertainty Of what can happen If I see you again?