I begin with the principle that all men are bores. Surely no one will prove himself so great a bore as to contradict me in this.

Be that self which one truly is.

Your own tactic is to train yourself in the art of becoming enigmatic to everybody. My young friend, suppose there was no one who troubld himself to guess your riddle--what joy, then, would you have in it?

My soul always reverts to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. There at least one feels that it's human beings talking. There people hate, people love, people murder their enemy and curse his descendants through all generations, there people sin.

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.

A man who as a physical being is always turned toward the outside, thinking that his happiness lies outside him, finally turns inward and discovers that the source is within him.

Wat voor goed zou het me doen als de waarheid voor me stond, koud en naakt, en er niet om gaf of ze door mij werd herkend of niet.

So the merman cannot belong to Agnes unless, after having made the infinite movement, the movement of repentance, he makes still one more movement by virtue of the absurd.

For as the Good is only a single thing, so all ways lead to the Good, even the false ones: when the repentant one follows the same way back.

Anxiety can be replaced only by the freedom whose harsh requirements are its cause. Being free requires us to release the brakes that anxiety represents in order to accept and appropriate our proper spiritual fulfillment or perhaps even to recognize, if that is what we in the end believe, that no such prospect is in store.

Life's existential tasks have lost the interest of reality; illusion cannot build a sanctuary for the divine growth of inwardness which ripens to decisions. One man is curious about another, every one is undecided, and their way of escape is to say that some one must come who will do something--and then they will bet on him.

For the sadness in legitimate humour consists in the fact that honestly and without deceit it reflects in a purely human way upon what it is to be a child.

Philosophy cannot and should not give us an account of faith, but should understand itself and know just what it has indeed to offer, without taking anything away, least of all cheating people out of something by making them think it is nothing.

Many and various are the things to which a man may feel himself drawn, but one thing there is to which no man ever felt himself drawn in any way, that is, to suffering and humiliation. This we men think we ought to shun as far as possible, and in any case that we must be compelled to it.

To be lost in spiritlessness is the most terrible thing of all.

If anything is to be done, one must try to introduce Christianity into Christendom.

Do you not know that there comes a midnight hour when every one has to throw off his mask? Do you believe that life will always let itself be mocked? Do you think you can slip away a little before midnight to avoid this?

Since my earliest childhood a barb of sorrow has lodged in my heart. As long as it stays I am ironic if it is pulled out I shall die.

Love is the expression of the one who loves, not of the one who is loved. Those who think they can love only the people they prefer do not love at all. Love discovers truths about individuals that others cannot see.

I have only one friend, and that is echo. Why is it my friend? Because I love my sorrow, and echo does not take it away from me. I have only one confidant, and that is the silence of night. Why is it my confidant? Because it remains silent.

Therefore, truth is not a matter of knowing this or that but of being in the truth.

No one may pride himself at being more than an individual, and no one despondently think that he is not an individual...

I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it...but by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill.

People say the good Lord fills the stomach before the eyes. I haven't noticed; my eyes have had enough and I am weary of everything, and yet I hunger.

In eternity it will be asked whether you may not have damaged a good thing, in order that you also might judge with them that did not know how to judge, but who possessed the crowd's strength, which in the temporal sense is significant, but to which eternity is wholly indifferent.

People hardly ever make use of the freedom which they have, for example, freedom of thought; instead they demand freedom of speech as compensation.

In a theater, it happened that a fire started offstage. The clown came out to tell the audience. They thought it was a joke and applauded. He told them again, and they became still more hilarious. This is the way, I suppose, that the world will be destroyed-amid the universal hilarity of wits and wags who think it is all a joke.

I have only one confidant, and that is the silence of night.

So it isn't I who am master of my life, I am just one of the threads to be woven into life's calico! Well then, even if I cannot spin, I can at least cut the thread in two.

It is modest of the nightingale not to require anyone to listen to it; but it is also proud of the nightingale not to care whether any one listens to it or not.

Love is the unfathomable ground that is hidden in darkness, but the resolution is the triumphant victor who, like Orpheus, fetches the infatuation of falling in love to the light of day, for the resolution is the true form of love, the true explanation and transfiguration.

Subjectivity is truth and if subjectivity is in existing, then, if I may put it this way, Christianity is a perfect fit.

Adversity draws men together and produces beauty and harmony in life's relationships, just as the cold of winter produces ice-flowers on the window-panes, which vanish with the warmth.

The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic. It is only by the deepest suffering that one acquires true authority in the use of the comic, an authority which by one word transforms as by magic the reasonable creature one calls man into a caricature.

What looks like politics, and imagines itself to be political, will one day unmask itself as a religious movement.

I have just now come from a party where I was its life and soul; witticisms streamed from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me, but I went away — yes, the dash should be as long as the radius of the earth's orbit — and wanted to shoot myself.

The reward of the good man is to be allowed to worship in truth.

Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.

It is very important in life to know when your cue comes.

It takes a purely human courage to renounce the whole temporal realm in order to gain eternity, but this I do gain and in all eternity can never renounce—it is a self-contradiction. But it takes a paradoxical and humble courage to grasp the whole temporal realm now by virtue of the absurd, and this is the courage of faith.

If the ethical - that is, social morality - is the highest and if there is in a person no residual incommensurability in some way such that this incommensurability is not evil then no categories are needed other than what Greek philosophy had... and what their wisdom amounts to is the beautiful proposition that basically everything is the same.

That instant he dies – for one who does not understand that the whole power of the spirit is required for dying, and that the hero always dies before he dies, that man will not get so very far with his conception of life.

If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the foundation of all there lay only a wildly seething power which writhing with obscure passions produced everything that is great and everything that is insignificant, if a bottomless void never satiated lay hidden beneath all–what then would life be but despair?

Thus our own age is essentially one of understanding, and on the average, perhaps, more knowledgeable than any former generation, but it is without passion. Every one knows a great deal, we all know which way we ought to go and all the different ways we can go, but nobody is willing to move.

With respect to love we speak continually about perfection and the perfect person. With respect to love Christianity also speaks continually about perfection and the perfect person. Alas, but we men talk about finding the perfect person in order to love him. Christianity speaks about being the perfect person who limitlessly loves the person he sees.

What is youth? A dream. What is love? The dream's content.

Don't you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?

Nothing is as heady as the wine of possibility.

Battle day and night against the guile of oblivion...