The Ethics of Ambiguity Quotes

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The Ethics of Ambiguity The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir
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The Ethics of Ambiguity Quotes (showing 1-23 of 23)
“Regardless of the staggering dimensions of the world about us, the density of our ignorance, the risks of catastrophes to come, and our individual weakness within the immense collectivity, the fact remains that we are absolutely free today if we choose to will our existence in its finiteness, a finiteness which is open on the infinite. And in fact, any man who has known real loves, real revolts, real desires, and real will knows quite well that he has no need of any outside guarantee to be sure of his goals; their certitude comes from his own drive.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Today, however, we are having a hard time living because we are so bent on outwitting death.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“A freedom which is interested only in denying freedom must be denied. And it is not true that the recognition of the freedom of others limits my own freedom: to be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future; the existence of others as a freedom defines my situation and is even the condition of my own freedom. I am oppressed if I am thrown into prison, but not if I am kept from throwing my neighbor into prison.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“As long as there have been men and they have lived, they have all felt this tragic ambiguity of their condition, but as long as there have been philosophers and they have thought, most of them have tried to mask it.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“To will oneself moral and to will oneself free are one and the same decision.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“I should like to be the landscape which I am contemplating, I should like this sky, this quiet water to think themselves within me, that it might be I whom they express in flesh and bone, and I remain at a distance. But it is also by this distance that the sky and the water exist before me. My contemplation is an excruciation only because it is also a joy. I can not appropriate the snow field where i slide. It remains foreign, forbidden, but I take delight in this very effort toward an impossible possession. I experience it as a triumph, not as a defeat.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Therefore the misfortune which comes to man as a result of the fact that he was a child is that his freedom was first concealed from him and that all his life he will be nostalgic for the time when he did not know it's exigencies.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“The characteristic feature of all ethics is to consider human life as a game that can be won or lost and to teach man the means of winning.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Every war, every revolution, demands the sacrifice of a generation, of a collectivity, by those who undertake it.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Man must not attempt to dispel the ambiguity of his being but, on the contrary, accept the task of realizing it.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Freedom is the source from which all significations and all values spring. It is the original condition of all justification of existence.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“I should like this sky, this quiet water, to think themselves within me, that it might be I whom they express in flesh and bone, and I remain at a distance. But it is also by this distance that the sky and the water exist before me.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“My contemplation is an excruciation only because it is also a joy.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Ethics is the triumph of freedom over facticity.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Life is occupied in both perpetuating itself & in surpassing itself; if all it does is maintain itself, then living is only not dying, & human existence is indistinguishable from an absurd vegetation; a life justifies itself only if its effort to perpetuate itself is integrated into its surpassing & if this surpassing has no other limits than those which the subject assigns himself.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“But this element of failure is a very condition of his life; one can never dream of eliminating it without immediately dreaming of death. This does not mean that one should consent to failure, but rather one must consent to struggle against it without respite.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“To re-establish man at the heart of his destiny is, they claim, to repudiate all ethics. However, far from God's absence authorizing all license, the contrary is the case, because man is abandoned on the earth, because his acts are definitive, absolute engagements. He bears the responsibility for a world which is not the work of a strange power, but of himself, where his defeats are inscribed, & his victories as well.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“The notion of ambiguity must not be confused with that of absurdity. To declare that existence is absurd is to deny that it can ever be given a meaning; so to say it is ambiguous is to assert that it's meaning is never fixed, that it must be constantly won. Absurdity challenges every ethics; but also the finished rationalization of the real would leave no room for ethics; it is because man's condition is ambiguous that he seeks, through failure & outrageousness, to save his existence.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Some men, instead of building their existence upon the indefinite unfolding of time, propose to assert it in its eternal aspect & to achieve it as an absolute. They hope, thereby, to surmount the ambiguity of their condition. Thus, many intellectuals seek their salvation in either in critical thought or creative activity.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“The present is a transitory existence which is made in order to be abolished: it retrieves itself only by transcending itself toward the permanence of future being; it is only as an instrument, as a means, it is only by it's efficacy with regard to the coming of the future that the present is validly realized: reduced to itself it is nothing , one may dispose of it as he pleases.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“Nature asserts itself in the face of Spirit which it denies while assuming it; the individual is again found in the collectivity within which he is lost; & each man's death is fulfilled by being cancelled out into the Life of Mankind.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“But an action which wants to serve man ought to be careful not to forget him on the way, if it chooses to fulfill itself blindly, it will lose its meaning or will take on an unforeseen meaning; for the goal is not fixed once & for all; it is defined all along the road which leads up to it.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity
“This privilege, which he alone possesses, of being a sovereign and unique subject amidst a universe of objects, is what he shares with all his fellow-men. In turn an object for others, he is nothing more than an individual in the collectivity on which he depends.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Ethics of Ambiguity

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