Existential Quotes

Quotes tagged as "existential" Showing 1-30 of 300
Neil Gaiman
“You don't have to stay anywhere forever.”
Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

Hermann Hesse
“I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.”
Hermann Hesse, Demian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

James Baldwin
“I thought of the people before me who had looked down at the river and gone to sleep beneath it. I wondered about them. I wondered how they had done it--it, the physical act.

I simply wondered about the dead because their days had ended and I did not know how I would get through mine.”
James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“All that is transitory is but a metaphor.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Franz Kafka
“If a man has his eyes bound, you can encourage him as much as you like to stare through the bandage, but he'll never see anything.”
Franz Kafka, The Castle

Jean-Paul Sartre
“I'd come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clear-cut language.”
Jean-Paul Satre

Philip K. Dick
“We are all insects. Groping towards something terrible or divine.”
Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

Heinrich Böll
“I am a clown...and I collect moments.”
Heinrich Böll, The Clown

Søren Kierkegaard
“With every increase in the degree of consciousness, and in proportion to that increase, the intensity of despair increases: the more consciousness the more intense the despair”
Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

Hunter S. Thompson
“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.”
Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

Phoebe Stone
“Not belonging is a terrible feeling. It feels awkward and it hurts, as if you were wearing someone else's shoes.”
Phoebe Stone, The Romeo and Juliet Code

Milan Kundera
“Yes, the essence of every love is a child, and it makes no difference at all whether it has ever actually been conceived or born. In the algebra of love a child is the symbol of the magical sum of two beings.”
Milan Kundera, Immortality

“I close my eyes
Only for a moment,
then the moment's gone
All my dreams
Pass before my eyes, a curiosity...

Same old song
Just a drop of water in an endless sea
All we do
Crumbles to the ground,
though we refuse to see...

Now, don't hang on
Nothing lasts forever
but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money
won't another minute buy...

Dust in the wind
All we are is dust in the wind."

(Kansas guitarist Kerry Livgren wrote this after reading a book of Native American poetry. The line that caught his attention was "For All We Are Is Dust In The Wind.")”

Richard Kadrey
“The universe is a meat grinder and we're just pork in designer shoes, keeping busy so we can pretend we're not all headed for the sausage factory. Maybe I've been hallucinating this whole time and there is no Heaven and Hell. Instead of having to choose between God and the devil, maybe our only real choice comes down to link or patty?”
Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

Javier Marías
“We lose everything because everything remains except us. And therefore any form of posterity may be an affront, and perhaps any memory, as well.”
Javier Marias

Leah Raeder
“I leaned back on my palms, looking at the Milky Way spilling in modest grandeur across the sky. A fountain of stars frothing over, surrounded by a mist of stardust. It looked like raw magic, like the glimmer I’d spy in a shadowy corner where the sun skimmed off invisible particles, reminding me there was a whole hidden world tucked inside this ordinary one. And it was up there every night, offering its mute beauty while we sat here with our heads down, tragically terrestrial.”
Leah Raeder, Unteachable

Friedrich Nietzsche
“Healthy introspection, without undermining oneself; it is a rare gift to venture into the unexplored depths of the self, without delusions or fictions, but with an uncorrupted gaze.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Unpublished Writings from the Period of Unfashionable Observations

Dag Hammarskjöld
“Acts of violence-- Whether on a large or a small scale, the bitter paradox: the meaningfulness of death--and the meaninglessness of killing.”
Dag Hammarskjöld, Markings

Rob Ryser
“At the end of time I want my art to stand up and my soul to bow down.”
Rob Ryser, Great Desires for Absent Things

Justin Cronin
“I have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.' That's T.S. Eliot, in case you were wondering. An oldie but a goodie. When it came to existential exhaustion, the man was one smart cookie.”
Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors

Antonio Porchia
“They have stopped deceiving you, not loving you. And it seems to you that they have stopped loving you.”
Antonio Porchia, Voices

Italo Calvino
“...And meanwhile the Galaxy ran through space and left behind those signs old and new and I still hadn't found mine.”
Italo Calvino, Cosmicomics

Jack Kerouac
“At night I closed my eyes and saw my bones threading the mud of my grave.”
Jack Kerouac, Maggie Cassidy

Leïla Slimani
“She had been in one of those sleeps so heavy they leave you feeling sad, disorientated, your stomach full of tears. A sleep so deep, so dark, that you see yourself dying, that you wake up soaked with cold sweat, paradoxically exhausted.”
Leïla Slimani, The Perfect Nanny

Julie Powell
“There, I was just a secretary-shaped confederation of atoms, fighting the inevitability of mediocrity and decay. But here, in the Juliaverse... energy was never lost, merely converted from one form to another. Here, I took butter and cream and meat and eggs and I made delicious sustenance.”
Julie Powell, Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

Christos Yannaras
“In humans (and humans alone), sexuality is embodied in desire--in the primordial desire for life-as-relation. That the sex drive serves the vital desire for relation--that on the level of the primordial process, the desire for life-in-itself clothes itself in the sex drive--belongs to the particularity of being human.”
Christos Yannaras, Relational Ontology

“It's fun to think that one day our great, great grandchildren may get that much closer to understanding what the hell creation is doing here in the first place, and glimpsing the underlying structure and nature of matter itself. Hopefully they won't live with the same existential horrors we all quietly face today in our own lives. 
There is a kind of bravery to our condition, I reckon: brought into being without an explanation, in a potentially infinite and apparently dead universe, and expected to just get on with it as though nothing strange is going on. Well it fucking is. And it's all right to have a meltdown about the whole affair from time to time, faced with the pressures of modern existence, trying to be a good human and a good worker and a good son/daughter/parent, trying to be a good citizen, trying to be wise without condescension but uninhibited without recklessness, trying to just muddle through without making any silly decisions, trying to align with the correct political opinions, trying to stay thin, trying to be attractive, trying to be smart, trying to find the ideal partner, trying to stay financially secure, trying to just find some modest corner of meaning and belonging and sanity to go and sit in, and all the while living on the edge of dying forever. 
We're all in the same strange boat, grappling with the same strange condition. But it isn't quite so scary if we all do it together. So let's do it together.”
Exurb1a, The Prince of Milk

David Mazzucchelli
“The way the function dictates the form... elegant lines... nothing extraneous... this shoe perfectly expresses the essence of shoeness.”
David Mazzucchelli, Asterios Polyp

Saul Bellow
“God may save all, but human rescue is only for a few.”
Saul Bellow, The Adventures of Augie March

Dan Simmons
“I doubt if he ever confronted and acknowledged his own deeper motivations, except when they were as pure as spring water.”
Dan Simmons, Drood

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