The Glass Bees Quotes

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The Glass Bees The Glass Bees by Ernst Jünger
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The Glass Bees Quotes (showing 1-30 of 34)
“Today only the person who no longer believes in a happy ending, only he who has consciously renounced it, is able to live. A happy century does not exist; but there are moments of happiness, and there is freedom in the moment.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“I came to realize that one single human being, comprehended in his depth, who gives generously from the treasures of his heart, bestows on us more riches than Caesar or Alexander could ever conquer. Here is our kingdom, the best of monarchies, the best republic. Here is our garden, our happiness.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“All the systems which explain so precisely why the world is as it is and why it can never be otherwise, have always called forth in me the same kind of uneasiness one has when face to face with the regulations displayed under the glaring lights of a prison cell. Even if one had been born in prison and had never seen the stars or seas or woods, one would instinctively know of timeless freedom in unlimited space.

My evil star, however, had fated me to be born in times when only the sharply demarcated and precisely calculable where in fashion.... "Of course, I am on the Right, on the Left, in the Centre; I descend from the monkey; I believe only what I see; the universe is going to explode at this or that speed" - we hear such remarks after the first words we exchange, from people whom we would not have expected to introduce themselves as idiots. If one is unfortunate enough to meet them again in five years, everything is different except their authoritative and mostly brutal assuredness. Now they wear a different badge in their buttonhole; and the universe now shrinks at such a speed that your hair stands on end.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“We do not escape our boundaries or our innermost being. We do not change. It is true we may be transformed, but we always walk within our boundaries, within the marked-off circle.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“A work of art wastes away and becomes lustreless in surroundings where it has a price but not a value. It radiates only when surrounded by love. It is bound to wilt in a world where the rich have no time and the cultivated no money. But it never harmonizes with borrowed greatness.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Human perfection and technical perfection are incompatible. If we strive for one, we must sacrifice the other: there is, in any case, a parting of the ways. Whoever realises this will do cleaner work one way or the other.

Technical perfection strives towards the calculable, human perfection towards the incalculable. Perfect mechanisms - around which, therefore, stands an uncanny but fascinating halo of brilliance - evoke both fear and Titanic pride which will be humbled not by insight but only by catastrophe.

The fear and enthusiasm we experience at the sight of perfect mechanisms are in exact contrast to the happiness we feel at the sight of a perfect work of art. We sense an attack on our integrity, on our wholeness. That arms and legs are lost or harmed is not yet the greatest danger.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“How can one explain this trend towards a more colorless and shallow life? Well, the work was easier, if less healthy, and it brought in more money, more leisure, and perhaps more entertainment. A day in the country is long and hard. And yet the fruits of their present life were worthless compared to a single coin of their former life: a rest in the evening and a rural festivity. That they no longer knew the old kind of happiness was obvious from the discontentment which spread over their features. Soon dissatisfaction, prevailing over all their other moods, became their religion.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“It is a great priviledge to hear from the mouth of an initiate what struggles we are ensnared in and what the meaning is of the sacrifices we are required to make before veiled images. Even if we should hear something evil, it would still be a blessing to see our task as something beyond a senseless cycle of recurrence.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Unfortunately robots capable of manufacturing robots do not exist. That would be the philosopher's stone, the squaring of the circle.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“The struggle for power had reached a new stage; it was fought with scientific formulas. The weapons vanished in the abyss like fleeting images, like pictures one throws into the fire....

When new models were displayed to the masses at the great parades on Red Square in Moscow or elsewhere, the crowds stood in reverent silence and then broke into jubilant shouts of triumph....

Though the display was continual, in this silence and these shouts something evil, old as time, manifested itself in man, who is an outsmarter and setter of traps. Invisible, Cain and Tubalcain marched past in the parade of phantoms.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“My unlucky star had destined me to be born when there was much talk about morality and, at the same time, more murders than in any other period. There is, undoubtedly, some connection between these phenomena. I sometime ask myself whether the connection was a priori, since these babblers are cannibals from the start - or a connection a posteriori, since they inflate themselves with their moralizing to a height which becomes dangerous for others.

However that may be, I was always happy to meet a person who owed his touch of common sense and good manners to his parents and who didn't need big principles. I do not claim more for myself, and I am a man who for an entire lifetime has been moralized at to the right and the left - by teachers and superiors, by policemen and journalists, by Jews and Gentiles, by inhabitants of the Alps, of islands, and the plains, by cut-throats and aristocrats - all of whom looked as if butter wouldn't melt in their mouths.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“A great physicist is always a metaphysicist as well; he has a higher concept of his knowledge and his task.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“In this place a mind was at work to negate the image of a free and intact man. It intended to rely on man power in the same way that it had relied on horsepower. It wanted units to be equal and divisable, and for that purpose man had to be destroyed as the horse had already been destroyed.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Today the man who has the courage to build himself a house constructs a meeting place for the people who will descend upon him on foot, by car, or by telephone. Employees of the gas, the electric, and the water- works will arrive; agents from life and fire insurance companies; building inspectors, collectors of radio tax; mortgage creditors and rent assessors who tax you for living in your own home.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Prognoses which have been made contend that our technology will terminate in pure necromancy. If so, everything we now experience would be only a departure and mechanics would become refined to a degree that would no longer require any crude embodiment. Lights, words, yes even thoughts would be sufficient. (1957)”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“There are, of course, things from which we more or less recover, although some of them are too harsh even for saints. But that is no reason to accuse God. Even if there are reasons to doubt him, the fact that he did not arrange the world like a well-ordered parlor is not one of them. It rather speaks in his favor.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“We ourselves are the last to notice that we are not making any headway. It is brought to our notice from the outside; former students suddenly emerge as our superiors. As we grow older, the respect we receive diminishes: the disproportion between our age and our position becomes evident, first to other people and finally to ourselves. Then it is time to retreat.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“When we come under the spell of the deeper domain of technology, its economic character and even its power aspect fascinate us less than its playful side. Then we realize we that we are involved in a play, a dance of the spirit, which cannot be grasped by calculation. What is ultimately left for science is intuition alone - a call of destiny.

This playful feature manifests itself more clearly in small things than in the gigantic works of our world. The crude observer can only be impressed by large quantities - chiefly when they are in motion - and yet there are as many organs in a fly as in a leviathan.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“A critical attitude, like activity, is one of the fundamental characteristics of our time. Both are interdependent. If the critical attitude should dwindle, there would be more peace and less intelligence, to the benefit of the essential. Neither criticism nor activity, however, can steer the course in such a direction - this means that higher forces are involved.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“We had proudly worn our handsome and colorful uniforms, which could be seen glittering from a distance, yet we could no longer see our opponent. Invisible marksmen took aim from long range and unhorsed us. If we managed to reach them, we found them bedded in a web of wires, which cut through the fetlocks of the horses and was impossible to jump. This was the end of the cavalry. We had to dismount.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“There is only one kind of land reform today: expropriation.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“These inventions became, incidentally, increasingly revolting to me, for I was ineradicably marked by a touch of the old cavalryman's primitive evaluation. I admit that in the earliest times the horseman had a considerable advantage over the foot soldier. (On the other hand considerably higher expenses were involved.) But the advantage was balanced by the invention of gunpowder, so rightly lamented by Ariosto. It was the end of glorious armies like those led by Charles the Bold. Cavalry charges still took place of course – and I cannot consider it unfair for the infantryman to load and fire two or three times before he received his comeuppance – but after that, death came to the cavalry.

The old Centaurs were overpowered by the new Titan. I had seen my own conqueror at close hand when I lay bleeding on the grass. He had unhorsed me – a sickly fellow, a pimply lad from the suburbs, some cutler from Sheffield or weaver from Manchester. He cowered behind his rubble heap, one eye shut, the other aiming at me across the machine gun, which did the damage. In a pattern of red and gray, he wove an evil cloth. This was the new Polyphemus or, rather, one of his lowest messenger boys with a wire mask before his one-eyed face. This was how the present masters looked. The beauty of the forests was past.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“In order to penetrate the subject matter there must be, in addition, the love of teaching and the love of learning, the give and take between teacher and student, example and imitation. Beyond the technical problem, there is a personal encounter similar to that of a savage training his sons in the use of bow and arrow, or of an animal guiding its young. I am firmly convinced that one of the high orders of the universe is a pedagogical order.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Governments change, files remain. The paradox remained: in the dossiers of the State the fact that I had risked my neck for it was simultaneously listed forever as treason. When my name was mentioned, the exalted file clerks in the government offices, who sat on their chairs only because I and people like me allowed them to, made a wry face.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Of course, differences existed between military service under Henry IV, Louis XIII, or Louis XIV, but one always served on horseback. Today these magnificent creatures were doomed. They had disappeared from the fields and streets, from the villages and towns, and for years they had not been seen in combat. Everywhere they had been replaced by automatons. Corresponding to this change was a change in men: they became more mechanical, more calculable, and often you hardly felt that you were among human beings. Only at rare moments did I still hear a sound from the past – the sound of bugles at sunrise and the neighing of horses, which made our hearts tremble. All that has gone.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“But that evening, driving back to the plant in the little underground train, I firmly believed my bad luck was over. One of the cars I had admired that morning took me back to the city. Fortunately some shops were still open here and there; I could buy myself a new suit. For Teresa I bought a nice summer dress with red stripes, which reminded me of the one in which I had seen her for the first time. It fitted to perfection – I knew her measurements. She had shared many hours with me, mainly bitter ones.

We went out for dinner; it was one of the days one never forgets. Quite soon the happenings in Zapparoni's garden began to fade in my memory. There is much that is illusory in techniques. But I never forgot Teresa's words, and her smile when she spoke. Now she was happy about me. This smile was more powerful than all the automatons – it was a ray of reality.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“I had always been man enough to ruin myself without help.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“When I saw several thugs attack a lone man, or a larger man a small one, or even when a mastiff attacked a toy Pomeranian, not virtue but plain disgust upset my insides. This early variety of defeatism later became an obsolete trait—damaging me in today's world.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“Together with a great number of others I had twice paid the piper for inefficient governments. We had carried off neither pay nor glory – just the opposite.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees
“The lazy flesh disappeared. Our muscles became hard as steel, refined on the anvil of an experienced blacksmith. Even our faces changed. Among other things, we learned to ride, to fence, to take a fall. And these we learned for life.”
Ernst Jünger, The Glass Bees

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