Night Train to Lisbon Quotes

Rate this book
Clear rating
Night Train to Lisbon Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier
16,938 ratings, 3.73 average rating, 1,814 reviews
Open Preview
Night Train to Lisbon Quotes Showing 1-30 of 148
“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“A feeling is no longer the same when it comes the second time. It dies through the awareness of its return. We become tired and weary of our feelings when they come too often and last too long.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Life is not what we live; it is what we imagine we are living.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“In the years afterward, I fled whenever somebody began to understand me. That has subsided. But one thing remained: I don't want anybody to understand me completely. I want to go through life unknown. The blindness of others is my safety and my freedom.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Given that we can live only a small part of what there is in us -- what happens with the rest?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Sometimes, we are afraid of something because we're afraid of something else. ”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“SOLIDAO, LONELINESS.
What is it that we call loneliness. It can't simply be the absence of others, you can be alone and not lonely, and you can be among people and yet be lonely. So what is it? ... it isn't only that others are there, that they fill up the space next to us. But even when they celebrate us or give advice in a friendly conversation, clever, sensitive advice: even then we can be lonely. So loneliness is not something simply connected with the presence of others or with what they do. Then what? What on earth?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“To understand yourself: Is that a discovery or a creation?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“To live for the moment: it sounds so right and so beautiful. But the more I want to, the less I understand what it means.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Human beings can't bear silence. It would mean that they would bear themselves.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“That words could cause something in the world, make someone move or stop, laugh or cry: even as a child he had found it extraordinary and it never stopped impressing him. How did words do that? Wasn't it like magic?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“So, the fear of death might be described as the fear of not being able to become whom one had planned to be.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Isn't it true that it's not people who meet, but rather the shadows cast by their imaginations?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“It wasn't only that you didn't see him anymore, meet him anymore. You saw his absence and encountered it as something tangible. His not being there was like the sharply outlined emptiness of a photo with a figure cut out precisely with scissors and now the missing figure is more important, more dominant than all others.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“When we talk about ourselves, about others, or simply about things, we want- it could be said – to reveal ourselves in our words: We want to show what we think and feel. We let other have a glimpse into our soul.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Disappointment is considered bad. A thoughtless prejudice. How, if not through disappointment, should we discover what we have expected and hoped for? And where, if not in this discovery, should self-knowledge lie? So how could one gain clarity about oneself without disappointment?
...
One could have the hope that he would become more real by reducing expectations, shrink to a hard, reliable core and thus be immune to the pain of disappointment. But how would it be to lead a life that banished every long, bold expectation, a life where there were only banal expectations like "the bus is coming"?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“I love tunnels. They 're the symbol of hope: sometime it will be bright again.
If by chance it is not night.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
tags: hope
“Don't waste your time, do something worthwhile with it."
But what can that mean: worthwhile? Finally to start realizing long-cherished wishes. To attack the error that there will always be time for it later....Take the long-dreamed-of trip, learn this language, read those books, buy yourself this jewelry, spend a night in that famous hotel. Don't miss out on yourself.
Bigger things are also part of that: to give up the loathed profession, break out of a hated milieu. Do what contributes to making you more genuine, moves you closer to yourself.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“NOBREZA SILENCIOSA. SILENT NOBILITY. It is a mistake to believe that the crucial moments of a life when its habitual direction changes forever must be loud and shrill dramatics, washed away by fierce internal surges. This is a kitschy fairy tale started by boozing journalists, flashbulb-seeking filmmakers and authors whose minds look like tabloids. In truth, the dramatics of a life-determining experience are often unbelievably soft. It has so little akin to the bang, the flash, of the volcanic eruption that, at the moment it is made, the experience is often not even noticed. When it deploys its revolutionary effect and plunges a life into a brand-new light giving it a brand-new melody, it does that silently and in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Loyalty... A will, a decision, a resolution of the soul.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“I would not like to live in a world without cathedrals. I need their beauty and grandeur. I need their imperious silence. I need it against the witless bellowing of the barracks yard and the witty chatter of the yes-men. I want to hear the rustling of the organ, this deluge of ethereal notes. I need it against the shrill farce of marches.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“There were people who read and there were the others. Whether you were the a reader or a non-reader was soon apparent. There was no greater distinction between people.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“I am still there, at that distant place in time, I never left it, but live expanded in the past, or out of it.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Then there was a silence he had never before experienced: in it, you could hear the years.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“O VENENO ARDENTE DO DESGOSTO. THE WHITE HOT POISON OF ANGER.
When others make us angry at them- at their shamelessness, injustice, inconsideration- then they exercise power over us, they proliferate and gnaw at our soul, then anger is like a white-hot poison that corrods all mild, noble and balanced feelings and robs us of sleep. Sleepless, we turn on the light and are angry at the anger that has lodged like a succubus who sucks us dry and debilitates us. We are not only furious at the damage, but also that it develops in us all by itself, for while we sit on the edge of the bed with aching temples, the distant catalyst remains untouched by the corrosive force of the anger that eats at us. On the empty internal stage bathed in the harsh light of mute rage, we perform all by ourselves a drama with shadow figures and shadow words we hurl against enemies in helpless rage we feel as icy blazing fire in our bowels. And the greater our despair that is only a shadow play and not a real discussion with the possibility of hurting the other and producing a balance of suffering, the wilder the poisonous shadows dance and haunt us even in the darkest catacombs of our dreams. (We will turn the tables, we think grimly, and all night long forge words that will produce in the other the effect of a fire bomb so that now he will be the one with the flames of indignation raging inside while we, soothed by schadenfreude, will drink our coffee in cheerful calm.)
What could it mean to deal appropriately with anger? We really don't want to be soulless creatures who remain thoroughly indifferent to what they come across, creatures whose appraisals consist only of cool, anemic judgments and nothing can shake them up because nothing really bothers them. Therefore, we can't seriously wish not to know the experience of anger and instead persist in an equanimity that wouldn't be distinguished from tedious insensibility. Anger also teaches us something about who we are. Therefore this is what I'd like to know: What can it mean to train ourselves in anger and imagine that we take advantage of its knowledge without being addicted to its poison?
We can be sure that we will hold on to the deathbed as part of the last balance sheet- and this part will taste bitter as cyanide- that we have wasted too much, much too much strength and time on getting angry and getting even with others in a helpless shadow theater, which only we, who suffered impotently, knew anything about. What can we do to improve this balance sheet? Why did our parents, teachers and other instructors never talk to us about it? Why didn't they tell something of this enormous significance? Not give us in this case any compass that could have helped us avoid wasting our soul on useless, self-destructive anger?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Why do we feel sorry for people who can't travel? Because, unable to expand externally, they are not able to expand internally either, they can't multiply and so they are deprived of the possibility of undertaking expansive excursions in themselves and discovering who and what else they could have become.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“[Vanity's] an unrecognized form of stupidity... you have to forget the cosmic meaninglessness of all our acts to be able to be vain and that’s a glaring form of stupidity.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“We are all patchwork, and so shapeless and diverse in composition that each bit, each moment, plays its own game. And there is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“But when we set out to understand somebody’s inside? Is that a trip that ever ends? Is the soul a place of facts? Or are the alleged facts only the deceptive shadows of our stories?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon
“Encounters between people, it often seems to me, are like trains passing at breakneck speed in the night. We cast fleeting looks at the passengers sitting behind dull glass in dim light, who disappear from our field of vision almost before we perceive them. Was it really a man and a woman who flashed past like phantoms, who came out of nothing into the empty dark, without meaning or purpose? Did they know each other? Did they talk? Laugh? Cry? People will say: That's how it is when strangers pass one another in rain and wind and there might be something in the comparison. But we sit opposite people for longer, we eat and work together, lie next to each other, live under the same roof. Where is the haste? Yet everything that gives the illusion of permanence, familiarity, and intimate knowledge: isn't it a deception invented to reassure, with which we try to conceal and ward off the flickering, disturbing haste because it could be impossible to live with all the time. Isn't every exchange of looks between people like the ghostly brief meeting of eyes between travellers passing one another, intoxicated by the inhuman speed and the shock of air pressure that makes everything shudder and clatter? Don't our looks bounce off others, as in the hasty encounter of the night, and leave us with nothing but conjectures, slivers of thoughts and imagined qualities? Isn't it true that it's not people who meet, but rather the shadows cast by their imaginations?”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

« previous 1 3 4 5