Futility Quotes

Quotes tagged as "futility" Showing 1-30 of 172
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

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

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“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

Emil M. Cioran
“The same feeling of not belonging, of futility, wherever I go: I pretend interest in what matters nothing to me, I bestir myself mechanically or out of charity, without ever being caught up, without ever being somewhere. What attracts me is elsewhere, and I don’t know where that elsewhere is.”
Emil M. Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born

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

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.”
Soren Kierkegaard

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

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

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“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

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

Betty  Smith
“It's come at last," she thought, "the time when you can no longer stand between your children and heartache. When there wasn't enough food in the house you pretended that you weren't hungry so they could have more. In the cold of a winter's night you got up and put your blanket on their bed so they wouldn't be cold. You'd kill anyone who tried to harm them - I tried my best to kill that man in the hallway. Then one sunny day, they walk out in all innocence and they walk right into the grief that you'd give your life to spare them from.”
Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

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

John  Williams
“He had come to that moment in his age when there occurred to him, with increasing intensity, a question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it. He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been. It was a question, he suspected, that came to all men at one time or another; he wondered if it came to them with such impersonal force as it came to him. The question brought with it a sadness, but it was a general sadness which (he thought) had little to do with himself or with his particular fate; he was not even sure that the question sprang from the most immediate and obvious causes, from what his own life had become. It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter.”
John Williams, Stoner

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

“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

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

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

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

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

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 Jr.
“...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

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

“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

Emil M. Cioran
“The same feeling of not belonging, of futility, wherever I go: I pretend interest in what matters nothing to me, I bestir myself mechanically or out of charity, without ever being caught up, without ever being somewhere. What attracts me is somewhere else, and I don’t know what that elsewhere is.”
Emil Cioran, The Trouble with Being Born

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

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
“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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