I live always in the present. I know nothing of the future and no longer have a past. The former weighs me down with a thousand possibilities, the latter with the reality of nothingness.
The weariness of all illusions and of everything that illusions involve — the loss of them, the pointlessness of having them, the anticipatory weariness of having to have them in order to lose them, the pain of having had them, the intellectual shame of having had them knowing how they would end.
Each us is more than one person, many people, a proliferation of our one self. That's why the same person who scorns his surroundings is different from the person who is gladdened or made to suffer by them. In the vast colony of our being there are many different kinds of people, all thinking and feeling differently.
No intelligent idea can gain general acceptance unless some stupidity is mixed in with it.
Money can't buy everything, but the personal magnetism that enables a man to make lots of money can, indeed, obtain most things.
I have all the conditions for happiness, save happiness. The conditions are detached from one another.
In sexual love we seek our own pleasure via another body. In non-sexual love, we seek our own pleasure via our own idea. The masturbator may be abject, but in point of fact he's the perfect logical expression of the lover. He's the only one who doesn't feign and doesn't fool himself.
We were so tenuous and slight that the wind's passing left us prostrate, and time's passage caressed us like a breeze grazing the top of a palm.
The essence of pleasure lies in splitting yourself into more than one person.
Everything comes from humanity and humanity is always the same — changeable but incapable of perfection, vacillating but incapable of progress.
The higher a man rises, the more things he must do without. There's no room on the pinnacle except for the man himself. The more perfect he is, the more complete; and the more complete, the less other.
Two people say ‘I love you' or mutually think it and feel it, and each has in mind a different idea, a different life, perhaps even a different colour or fragrance, in the abstract sum of impressions that constitute the soul's activity.
For days we slept wakefully, content to be nothing, to have no desires or hopes, to have forgotten the color of love or the taste of hatred.
Action disconcerts us, partly because of our physical incompetence, but mainly because it offends our moral sensibility. We consider it immoral to act. It seems to us that every thought is debased when expressed in words, which transform the thought into the property of others, making it understandable to anyone who can understand it.
There's something vile (and all the more vile because ridiculous) in the tendency of feeble men to make universal tragedies out of the sad comedies of their private woes.
And when the lie begins to give us pleasure, let us speak the truth in order to lie to the lie.
And in the depths of my soul — the only reality of the moment — there is an intense, invisible pain, a sadness like the sound of someone weeping in a dark room.
Does dreaming of princesses serve a better purpose than dreaming of the front door to the office?
I cultivate hatred of action like a greenhouse flower. I'm proud of myself for dissenting from life.
I do not even abdicate from the banal gestures of life from which I so wish I could abdicate. Abdication takes effort, and I do not have enough soul to make that effort.
Like all men endowed with great mental mobility, I have an irrevocable, organic love of settledness. I abhor new ways of life and unfamiliar places.
It was just a moment, and I saw myself. I can no longer even say what I was. And now I'm sleepy, because I think – I don't know why – that the meaning of it all is to sleep.
Lord, may the pain be ours, And the weakness that it brings, But at least give us the strength, Of not showing it to anyone!
Revolution? Change? What I really want, with all my heart, is for the atonic clouds to stop greyly lathering the sky. What I want is to see the blue emerge, a truth that is clear and sure because it is nothing and wants nothing.
To attain the satisfactions of the mystic state without having to endure its rigours; to be the ecstatic follower of no god, the mystic or epopt* with no initiation; to pass the days meditating on a paradise you don't believe in – all of this tastes good to the soul that knows what it means to know nothing.
A disdain full of disgust for those who don't realize that the only reality is each man's soul, and that everything else - the exterior world and other people - is but an unaesthetic nightmare.
It seems that what's artificial has become natural, and what's natural is now strange. Or rather, it's not that what's artificial has become natural; it's simply that what's natural has changed.
The things we achieve, whether empires or sentences, have (because they've been achieved) that fatal defect of real things: the fact they're perishable.
Those who really suffer don't form groups, don't go around in a gang. Those who suffer suffer alone.
Every spoken word double-crosses us. The only tolerable form of communication is the written word, since it isn't a stone in a bridge between souls but a ray of light between stars.
Everything wearies me, even those things that don't. My joy is as painful as my grief.
Caesar gave the ultimate definition of ambition when he said: ‘Better to be the chief of a village than a subaltern in Rome'.
The lack of respect between men, the indifference that allows them to kill others without compunction (as murderers do) or without thinking that they are killing (as soldiers do), comes from the fact that no one pays due attention to the apparently abstruse idea that other people have souls too.
If only the day and happiness would never come! If only hopes could at least not suffer the disappointment of coming true!
The only intellectual attitude worthy of a superior creature is a feeling of calm, cool compassion for everything that is not himself.
I want to feel the approach of sleep as if it were a promise of life, not rest.
Let us sculpt in hopeless silence all our dreams of speaking.
I'd like the reading of this book to leave you with the impression that you've traversed a sensual nightmare.