A true opium of the people is a belief in nothingness after death - the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged.
Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone.
Vulgarized knowledge characteristically gives birth to a feeling that everything is understandable and explained. It is like a system of bridges built over chasms. One can travel boldly ahead over these bridges, ignoring the chasms. It is forbidden to look down into them; but that, alas, does not alter the fact that they exist.
All over the world people are now sleeping in their beds, or perhaps they are engaged in some idiotic pastime; and one might easily believe that each in his own way is doing his best to deserve destruction. But that destruction will bring no freedom.
Grow your tree of falsehood from a small grain of truth. Do not follow those who lie in contempt of reality. Let your lie be even more logical than the truth itself, so the weary travelers may find repose.
You who think of us: they lived only in delusion... Know that we the People of the Book, will never die!
The creative act of the artist lifts him above himself by demanding full surrender. No one puts words on paper or paint on canvas, doubting. If one doubts, one does so five minutes later...
Probably only those things are worth while which can preserve their validity in the eyes of a man threatened with instant death.
When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.
The worst possible sexual education: a taboo imposed by the Catholic church plus romantic literature elevating love to unreal heights plus the obscene language of my peers. After all, I was nearly born in the nineteenth century, and I have no tender feelings for it.
In 1942 in Warsaw, we were living without hope, or rather on a hope we knew to be a delusion.
The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them.
Love means to learn to look at yourself the way one looks at distant things for you are only one thing among many.
The real, by which I mean God, continues to remain unfathomable.
Misfortune simply is. And when you wall it off, you do not have a clear conscience, because perhaps you are supposed to dedicate all your efforts and all your attention to it. And all you can say in your own defense is 'I want to live.
Sceptical Ketman is widely disseminated throughout intellectual circles. One argues that humanity does not know how to handle its knowledge or how to resolve the problems of production and division of goods.
Contradiction is an inseparable part of the human condition, and that suffices as a source of miraculousness.
I still think too much about the mothers And ask what is man born of woman. He curls himself up and protects his head While he is kicked by heavy boots; on fire and running, He burns with bright flame; a bulldozer sweeps him into a clay pit. Her child. Embracing a teddy bear. Conceived in ecstasy.
At every sunrise I renounce the doubts of night and greet the new day of a most precious delusion.
All was taken away from you: white dresses, wings, even existence.
I was left behind with the immensity of existing things. A river, suffering because reflections of clouds and tress and not clouds and trees.
The purpose of poetry is to remind us / how difficult it is to remain just one person...
It is sweet to think I was a companion in an expedition that never ends.
The work of human thought should withstand the test of brutal, naked reality. If it cannot, it is worthless. Probably only those things are worthwhile which can preserve their validity in the eyes of a man threatened with instant death.
Learning. To believe you are magnificent. And gradually to discover that you are not magnificent. Enough labor for one human life.
It is impossible to communicate to people who have not experienced it the undefinable menace of total rationalism.
To tell the truth we should not exist. We, not any collective plural, just you and me.
The voice of passion is better than the voice of reason. The passionless cannot change history.
If the world is divided between Fascism and Communism, obviously Fascism must lose since it is the last, desperate refuge of the bourgeoisie.
We are an echo that runs, skittering, through a train of rooms.
Human material seems to have one major defect: it does not like to be considered merely as human material. It finds it hard to endure the feeling that it must resign itself to passive acceptance of changes introduced from above.
I am composed of contradictions, which is why poetry is a better form for me than philosophy.
The divinization of Man, when one abhors the order of the world as essentially evil, is a risky and self-contradictory venture.
Alas, our fundamental experience is duality: mind and body, freedom and necessity, evil and good, and certainly world and God. It is the same with our protest against pain and death. In the poetry I select I am not seeking an escape from dread but rather proof that dread and reverence can exist within us simultaneously.
At the entrance, my bare feet on the dirt floor, Here, gusts of heat; at my back, white clouds. I stare and stare. It seems I was called for this: To glorify things just because they are.
All of us yearn for the highest wisdom, but we have to rely on ourselves in the end.
Men will clutch illusions when they have nothing else to hold onto.
In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent; A thing brought forth that we didn't know we had in us, So we blink our eyes, as if a tiger had sprung out And stood in the light, licking its tail.