Futility Quotes

Quotes tagged as "futility" (showing 1-30 of 134)
Haruki Murakami
“Listen up - there's no war that will end all wars.”
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Henry David Thoreau
“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

William Shakespeare
“Life ... is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
William Shakespeare, Macbeth

“The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”

Kurt Vonnegut
“If there really had been a Mercutio, and if there really were a Paradise, Mercutio might be hanging out with teenage Vietnam draftee casualties now, talking about what it felt like to die for other people's vanity and foolishness.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus

Arthur Conan Doyle
“I am somewhat exhausted; I wonder how a battery feels when it pours electricity into a non-conductor?”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Dying Detective

Søren Kierkegaard
“I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.”
Søren Kierkegaard

W.B. Yeats
“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats

Erich Maria Remarque
“How senseless is everything that can ever be written, done, or thought, when such things are possible. It must be all lies and of no account when the culture of a thousand years could not prevent this stream of blood being poured out, these torture-chambers in their hundreds of thousands. A hospital alone shows what war is.”
Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front

Michael Chabon
“Man makes plans . . . and God laughs.”
Michael Chabon

Kurt Vonnegut
“He was talking about the sign that said 'THE COMPLICATED FUTILITY OF IGNORANCE.'
'All knew was that I didn't want my daughter or anybody's child to see a message that negative every time she comes into the library,' he said. 'And then I found out it was you who was responsible for it.'
'What's so negative about it?' I said.
'What could be a more negative word than "futility"?' he said.
'"Ignorance,"' I said.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus

Derek Landy
“Talking about one's feelings defeats the purpose of having those feelings. Once you try to put the human experience into words, it becomes little more than a spectator sport. Everything must have a cause, and a name. Every random thought must have a root in something else.”
Derek Landy, Death Bringer

H. Rider Haggard
“Ah! how little knowledge does a man acquire in his life. He gathers it up like water, but like water it runs between his fingers, and yet, if his hands be but wet as though with dew, behold a generation of fools call out, 'See, he is a wise man!' Is it not so?”
H. Rider Haggard, She: A History of Adventure

Stanisław Lem
“Each of us is aware he's a material being, subject to the laws of physiology and physics, and that the strength of all our emotions combined cannot counteract those laws. It can only hate them. The eternal belief of lovers and poets in the power of love which is more enduring that death, the finis vitae sed non amoris that has pursued us through the centuries is a lie. But this lie is not ridiculous, it's simply futile. To be a clock on the other hand, measuring the passage of time, one that is smashed and rebuilt over and again, one in whose mechanism despair and love are set in motion by the watchmaker along with the first movements of the cogs. To know one is a repeater of suffering felt ever more deeply as it becomes increasingly comical through a multiple repetitions. To replay human existence - fine. But to replay it in the way a drunk replays a corny tune pushing coins over and over into the jukebox?”
Stanisław Lem, Solaris

Denis Healey
“Healey’s First Law Of Holes: When in one, stop digging.”
Denis Healey

Kelli Jae Baeli
“You can bail water 24/7, and no matter how good you are at not sinking, you still have a hole in your boat.”
Kelli Jae Baeli, Crossing Paths

“How quickly people changed, with their interests, their feelings. Well-made phrases replaced by well-made phrases, time is a flow of words coherent only in appearance, the one who piles up the most is the one who wins.”
Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name

Bruce Sterling
“(He) mourned mankind, and the blindness of men, who thought that the Kosmos had rules and limits that would shelter them from their own freedom. There were no shelters. There were no final purposes. Futility, and freedom, were Absolute”
Bruce Sterling, Schismatrix

Vera Nazarian
“The difficulty in dealing with a maze or labyrinth lies not so much in navigating the convolutions to find the exit but in not entering the damn thing in the first place.

Or, at least not yet again.

As a creature of free will, do not be tempted into futility.”
Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

P.D. James
“Without the hope of posterity, for our race if not for ourselves, without the assurance that we being dead yet live, all pleasures of the mind and senses sometimes seem to me no more than pathetic and crumbling defences shored up against our ruin.”
P.D. James, The Children of Men

Kurt Vonnegut
“...we took the 10 machines we agreed were the most beguiling, and we put them on permanent exhibit in the foyer of this library underneath a sign whose words can surely be applied to this whole ruined planet nowadays: THE COMPLICATED FUTILITY OF IGNORANCE”
Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus

J.R.R. Tolkien
“Indeed if fish had fish-lore and Wise-fish, it is probable that the business of anglers would be very little hindered.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, Morgoth's Ring

Anita Brookner
“[…] as if the next thing must quickly come along to occupy her, or the abyss might open. What abyss? The abyss that waits for all of us, when all our actions seem futile, when the ability to fill the day seems stalled, and the waiting takes on an edge of dread. ”
Anita Brookner, Latecomers

“For many, the search for Jesus is initiated from experiencing an event in life so powerful, it awakens the dragons of faith; from pain so deep, it calls on the hidden fears of the soul in an effort to survive. For others it means a serious personal life survey that ultimately forces the confrontation with the futility, anesthetics, and despair in their lives.”
W. Scott Lineberry, Tragedy and Loss and the Search for Jesus

Kelli Jae Baeli
“That's like leaping off a precipice and trying to knit yourself a parachute on the way down.”
Kelli Jae Baeli, Also Known as Armchair Detective

Thomas Ligotti
“All social orders command their members to imbibe in pipe dreams of posterity, the mirage of immortality, to keep them ahead of the extinction that would ensue in a few generations if the species did not replenish itself. This is the implicit, and most pestiferous, rationale for propagation: to become fully integrated into a society, one must offer it fresh blood. Naturally, the average set of parents does not conceive of their conception as a sacrificial act. These are civilized human beings we are talking about, and thus they are quite able to fill their heads with a panoply of less barbaric rationales for reproduction, among them being the consolidation of a spousal relationship; the expectation of new and enjoyable experiences in the parental role; the hope that one will pass the test as a mother or father; the pleasing of one’s own parents, not to forget their parents and possibly a great-grandparent still loitering about; the serenity of taking one’s place in the seemingly deathless lineage of a familial enterprise; the creation of individuals who will care for their paternal and maternal selves in their dotage; the quelling of a sense of guilt or selfishness for not having done their duty as human beings; and the squelching of that faint pathos that is associated with the childless. Such are some of the overpowering pressures upon those who would fertilize the future. These pressures build up in people throughout their lifetimes and must be released, just as everyone must evacuate their bowels or fall victim to a fecal impaction. And who, if they could help it, would suffer a building, painful fecal impaction? So we make bowel movements to relieve this pressure. Quite a few people make gardens because they cannot stand the pressure of not making a garden. Others commit murder because they cannot stand the pressure building up to kill someone, either a person known to them or a total stranger. Everything is like that. Our whole lives consist of metaphorical as well as actual bowel movements, one after the other. Releasing these pressures can have greater or lesser consequences in the scheme of our lives. But they are all pressures, all bowel movements of some kind. At a certain age, children are praised for making a bowel movement in the approved manner. Later on, the praise of others dies down for this achievement and our bowel movements become our own business, although we may continue to praise ourselves for them. But overpowering pressures go on governing our lives, and the release of these essentially bowel-movement pressures may once again come up for praise, congratulations, and huzzahs of all kinds.”
Thomas Ligotti, The Conspiracy Against the Human Race

Marin Sorescu
“Uite, daca-mi strang sufletul, nu se prinde nimic in el. Oricum, am ajuns departe, foarte departe. O mai fi ceva? Arborii cresc, le dau mugurii, le pica frunzele si se intreaba: o mai fi ceva? Oamenii iubesc, stau de vorba si mor. O mai fi ceva? Mortii tac. Scruteaza vesnicia si tac. Lasa iarba sa-i faca optimisti pana in toamna. Atunci mor din nou peste moartea lor veche, gramada. Si tac, si tac, si tac.”
Marin Sorescu, Thirst of the Salt Mountain: Trilogy of Plays

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
“It is a human characteristic, which has been richly exploited in every era, that while hope of survival is still alive in a man, while he still believes his troubles will have a favorable outcome, and while he still has the chance to unmask treason or to save someone else by sacrificing himself, he continues to cling to the pitiful remnants of comfort and remains silent and submissive. When he has been taken and destroyed, when he has nothing more to lose, and is, in consequence, ready and eager for heroic action, his belated rage can only spend itself against the stone walls of solitary confinement. Or the breath of the death sentence makes him indifferent to earthly affairs.”
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The First Circle

Kurt Vonnegut
“Człowiek jest zły i cała jego działalność polega na robieniu niepotrzebnych rzeczy i gromadzeniu niepotrzebnej wiedzy.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

Kurt Vonnegut
“Na początku Bóg stworzył Ziemię i oglądał ją z wyżyn swojej kosmicznej samotności.
I rzekł Pan: Ulepmy z gliny żywe stworzenia, aby glina mogła zobaczyć, co uczyniliśmy. I ulepił Bóg wszelkie zwierzęta, jakie żyją na Ziemi, a pośród nich i człowieka. Jedynie glina w postaci człowieka potrafiła mówić. Bóg pochylił się nisko, kiedy glina w postaci człowieka powstała, rozejrzała się dokoła i przemówiła. Człowiek zamrugał i grzecznie spytał: Jaki jest sens tego wszystkiego?
- Czy wszystko musi mieć jakiś sens? - spytał Bóg.
- Oczywiście - odpowiedział człowiek.
- W takim razie pozostawiam tobie znalezienie sensu tego wszystkiego - powiedział Bóg.
I odszedł.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle

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