The thing that cowardice fears most is decision.
Jurists say that a capital crime submerges all lesser crimes; and so it is with faith. Its absurdity makes all petty difficultiesvanish.
Christ has not only spoken to us by his life, but has also spoken for us by his death.
The thinker without a paradox is like a lover without a feeling: a paltry mediocrity.
The more a person limits himself, the more resourceful he becomes.
Out of love for mankind, and out of despair at my embarrassing situation, seeing that I had accomplished nothing and was unable to make anything easier than it had already been made, and moved by a genuine interest in those who make everything easy, I conceived it as my task to create difficulties everywhere.
The paradox in Christian truth is invariably due to the fact that it is the truth that exists for God. The standard of measure and the end is superhuman; and there is only one relationship possible: faith.
If I were a physician, and if I were allowed to prescribe just one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence. For even if the Word of God were proclaimed in the modern world, how could one hear it with so much noise? Therefore, create silence.
Take a chance and you may lose. Take not a chance and you have lost already.
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.
How could it occur to anyone to demonstrate that God exists unless one has already allowed Himself to ignore Him? A king's existence is demonstrated by way of subjection and submissiveness. Do you want to try and demonstrate that the king exists? Will you do so by offering a string of proofs, a series of arguments? No. If you are serious, you will demonstrate the king's existence by your submission, by the way you live. And so it is with demonstrating God's existence. It is accomplished not by proofs but by worship. Any other way is but a thinker's pious bungling.
Beware false prophets come to you in wolf's clothing but inwardly are sheep.
Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God.
I have only one confidant, and that is the silence of night.
Do it or don't do it -- you will regret both.
In actuality, no one ever sank so deep that he could not sink deeper, and there may be one or many who sank deeper. So it is always possible to be happy and grateful that things are not worse!
In order to learn true humility (I use this expression to describe the state of mind under discussion), it is good for a person to withdraw from the turmoil of the world (we see that Christ withdrew when the people wanted to proclaim him king as well as when he had to walk the thorny path), for in life either the depressing or the elevating impression is too dominant for a true balance to come about. Here, of course, individuality is very decisive.
One should engage in all sorts of breadless arts.
The deepest form of despair is to choose to be another than himself.
You wanted God's ideas about what was best for you to coincide with your ideas, but you also wanted him to be the almighty Creator of heaven and earth so that he could properly fulfill your wish. And yet, if he were to share your ideas, he would cease to be the almighty Father.
The crowd, in fact, is composed of individuals; it must therefore be in every man's power to become what he is, an individual. From becoming an individual no one, no one at all, is excluded, except he who excludes himself by becoming a crowd.
The crowd, in fact, is composed of individuals; it must therefore be in every man's power to become what he is, an individual. From becoming an individual no one, no one at all, is excluded, except he who excludes himself by becoming a crowd. To become a crowd, to collect a crowd about one, is on the contrary to affirm the distinctions of human life. The most well-meaning person who talks about these distinctions can easily offend an individual. But then it is not the crowd which possesses power, influence, repute, and mastery over men, but it is the invidious distinctions of human life which despotically ignore the single individual as the weak and impotent, which in a temporal and worldly interest ignore the eternal truth- the single individual.
Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do.
Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do. He who does not understand irony and has no ear for its whispering lacks of what might called the absolute beginning of the personal life. He lacks what at moments is indispensable for the personal life, lacks both the regeneration and rejuvenation, the cleaning baptism of irony that redeems the soul from having its life in finitude though living boldly and energetically in finitude.
Dread is a sympathetic antipathy and an antipathetic sympathy.
People commonly travel the world over to see rivers and mountains, new stars, garish birds, freak fish, grotesque breeds of human; they fall into an animal stupor that gapes at existence and they think they have seen something.
Let others mock at you, oppose you, when you are under the influence of any passion; do not be in the least offended with those who mock at or oppose you, for they do you good; crucify your self-love and acknowledge the wrong, the error of your heart. But have the deepest pity for those who mock at words and works of faith and piety, of righteousness; for those who oppose the good which you are doing... God preserve you -- getting exasperated at them.
This is what is sad when one contemplates human life, that so many live out their lives in quiet lostness...they live, as it were, away from themselves and vanish like shadows. Their immortal souls are blown away, and they are not disquieted by the question of its immortality, because they are already disintegrated before they die.
Our age is essentially one of understanding and reflection, without passion, momentarily bursting into enthusiasm and shrewdly relapsing into repose.
It takes moral courage to grieve; it requires religious courage to rejoice.
You train yourself in the art of being mysterious to everyone. My dear friend! What if there were no one, who cared about guessing your riddle, what pleasure would you then take in it?
If the ethical -- that is, social morality- is the highest ... then no categories are needed other than the Greek philosophical categories.
The conclusions of passion are the only reliable ones.
Nowadays not even a suicide kills himself in desperation. Before taking the step he deliberates so long and so carefully that he literally chokes with thought. It is even questionable whether he ought to be called a suicide, since it is really thought which takes his life. He does not die with deliberation but from deliberation.
Christ was crucified because he would have nothing to do with the crowd (even though he addressed himself to all). He did not want to form a party, an interest group, a mass movement, but wanted to be what he was, the truth, which is related to the single individual. Therefore everyone who will genuinely serve the truth is by that very fact a martyr. To win a crowd is no art; for that only untruth is needed, nonsense, and a little knowledge of human passions. But no witness to the truth dares to get involved with the crowd.
I am convinced that God is love, this thought has for me a primitive lyrical validity. When it is present to me, I am unspeakably blissful, when it is absent, I long for it more vehemently than does the lover for his object.
A good decision is our will to do everything we can within our power. It means to serve God with all we've got, be it little or much. Every person can do that.
My scholarly expectation is then that I may succeed in becoming clever in philosophy in spite of my stupidity.
It is the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something besides God.
What is existence for but to be laughed at if men in their twenties have already attained the utmost?
And then the spirit brings hope, hope in the strictest Christian sense, hope which is hoping against hope. For an immediate hope exists in every person; it may be more powerfully alive in one person than in another; but in death every hope of this kind dies and turns into hopelessness. Into this night of hopelessness (it is death that we are describing) comes the life-giving spirit and brings hope, the hope of eternity. It is against hope, for there was no longer any hope for that merely natural hope; this hope is therefore a hope contrary to hope.
What looks like politics, and imagines itself to be political, will one day unmask itself as a religious movement.
For like a poisonous breath over the fields, like a mass of locusts over Egypt, so the swarm of excuses is a general plaque, a ruinous infection among men, that eats off the sprouts of the Eternal.
The reason for this age's anxiety and unrest is because in one direction, 'truth' increases in scope and quantity -- via science and technology -- while in the other, certainty and confidence steadily decline. Our age is a master in developing truths while being wholly indifferent to certitude. It lacks confidence in the good.
I am so stupid that I cannot understand philosophy; the antithesis of this is that philosophy is so clever that it cannot comprehend my stupidity. These antitheses are mediated in a higher unity; in our common stupidity.
Ulysses was not comely, but he was eloquent,
Yet he fired two goddesses of the sea with love.
Marriage brings one into fatal connection with custom and tradition, and traditions and customs are like the wind and weather, altogether incalculable.
Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown.
A 'no' does not hide anything, but a 'yes' very easily becomes a deception.
As the arrow, loosed from the bow by the hand of the practiced archer, does not rest till it has reached the mark, so men pass from God to God. He is the mark for which they have been created, and they do not rest till they find their rest in him.
During the first period of a man's life the greatest danger is not to take the risk.
During the first period of our lives the greatest danger is not to take the risk. When once the risk has been taken, then the greatest danger is to risk too much. By not risking at first one turns aside and serves trivialities; in the second case, by risking too much, one turns aside to the fantastic and perhaps to presumption.
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.
In a mathematical proposition, for example, the objectivity is given, but therefore its truth is also an indifferent truth.
Christ did not appoint professors, but followers. If Christianity ... is not reduplicated in the life of the person expounding it, then he does not expound Christianity, for Christianity is a message about living and can only be expounded by being realized in men's lives.
Pleasure disappoints; possibility never.
Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, who so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility.
Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor.
Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past 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.
It occurs to me that artists go forward by going backward, something which I have nothing against intrinsically when it is a reproduced retreat -- as is the case with the better artists.
When you say 'Yes' or promise something, you can very easily deceive yourself and others also, as if you had already done what you promised. It is easy to think that by making a promise you have at least done part of what you promised to do, as if the promise itself were something of value. Not at all! In fact, when you do not do what you promise, it is a long way back to the truth.
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?
Irony is the cultivation of the spirit and therefore follows next after immediacy; then comes the ethicist, then the humourist, then the religious person.
The meaning lies in the appropriation.
A curiously interested observer sees a great deal, a scientifically interested observer is worthy of all honor, and anxiously interested observer sees what others do not see, but a crazy observer sees perhaps the most, his observation is more intense and more persistent, just as the senses of certain animals are sharper than those of man.
The human race in the course of time has taken the liberty of softening and softening Christianity until at last we have contrived to make it exactly the opposite of what it is in the New Testament.
There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.
One should be an enigma not just to others but to oneself too. I study myself. When I'm tired of that I light a cigar to pass the time, and think: God only knows what the good Lord really meant with me, or what He meant to make of me.
The unhappy person is never present to themself because they always live in the past or the future.
Father in Heaven! When the thought of thee wakes in our hearts let it not awaken like a frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile.
If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin. Even though the result may gladden the whole world, that cannot help the hero; for he knows the result only when the whole thing is over, and that is not how he became a hero, but by virtue of the fact that he began.
Destroy your primitivity, and you will most probably get along well in the world, maybe achieve great success -- but Eternity will reject you. Follow up your primitivity, and you will be shipwrecked in temporality, but accepted by Eternity.
I shall be your poet! I do not want to be a poet for others; make your appearance, and I shall be your poet. I shall eat my own poem, and that will be my food. Or do you find me unworthy? Just as a temple dancer dances to the honor of the god Gudutl, so I have consecrated myself to your service; light, thinly clad, limber, unarmed, I renounce everything. I own nothing; I desire to own nothing; I love nothing; I have nothing to lose-but have I not thereby become more worthy of you, you who long ago must have been tired of depriving people of what they love, tired of their craven sniveling and craven pleading. Surprise me-I am ready.
All the shrewdness of 'man' seeks one thing: to be able to live without responsibility.
I divide my time as follows: half the time I sleep, the other half I dream. I never dream when I sleep, for that would be a pity, for sleeping is the highest accomplishment of genius.
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 presence of irony does not necessarily mean that the earnestness is excluded. Only assistant professors assume that.
Repetition is the reality and the seriousness of life.
The daily press is the evil principle of the modern world, and time will only serve to disclose this fact with greater and greater clearness. The capacity of the newspaper for degeneration is sophistically without limit, since it can always sink lower and lower in its choice of readers. At last it will stir up all those dregs of humanity which no state or government can control.
There are many people who reach their conclusions about life like schoolboys: they cheat their master by copying the answer out of a book without having worked the sum out for themselves.
One could construe the life of man as a great discourse in which the various people represent different parts of speech (the same might apply to states).
Who am I? How did I come into the world? Why was I not consulted?
Not just in commerce but in the world of ideas too our age is putting on a veritable clearance sale. Everything can be had so dirt cheap that one begins to wonder whether in the end anyone will want to make a bid.
There is peace and rest and comfort in sorrow.
The extreme rarity of transitional forms in the fossil record persists as the trade secret of paleontology.
Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.
It is not the obscure passages in Scripture that bind you but the ones you understand. With these you are to comply at once. If you understood only one passage in all of Scripture, well, then you must do that first of all. It will be this passage God asks you about. Do not first sit down and ponder the obscure passages. God's Word is given in order that you shall act according to it, not that you gain expertise in interpreting it.
However much one generation learns from another, it can never learn from its predecessor the genuinely human factor. In this respect every generation begins afresh. Thus no generation has learned from another how to love, no generation can begin other than at the beginning.
Take it and return it: the kiss of love.
Deep within every man there lies the dread of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the tremendous household of millions and millions.
Imagine hidden in a simpler exterior a secret receptacle wherein the most precious treasure is deposited -- there is a spring which has to be pressed, but the spring is hidden, and the pressure must have a certain strength, so that an accidental pressure would not be sufficient. So likewise is the hope of eternity hidden in man's inmost parts, and affliction is the pressure. When it presses the hidden spring, and strongly enough, then the contents appear in all their glory.
Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts.
The individual (no matter how well-meaning he might be, no matter how much strength he might have, if only he would use it) does not have the passion to rip himself away from either the coils of Reflection or the seductive ambiguities of Reflection; nor do the surroundings and times have any events or passions, but rather provide a negative setting of a habit of reflection, which plays with some illusory project only to betray him in the end with a way out: it shows him that the most clever thing to do is nothing at all.
The gods were bored and so they created man. Adam was bored because he was alone, so Eve was created. Thus boredom entered the world, and increased in proportion to the increase in population. Adam was bored alone, then Adam and Eve were bored together; them Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were bored en famille; then the population of the world increased, and the people were bored en masse.
The question is not "To be or not to be," it is what we should be until we are not.
Life is lived forwards, but understood backwards.
God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.
Happiness is the greatest hiding place for despair.
What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.
What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music.... And people flock around the poet and say: 'Sing again soon' -- that is, 'May new sufferings torment your soul but your lips be fashioned as before, for the cry would only frighten us, but the music, that is blissful.
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.
In the deepest sense, the being in a state of sin is the sin, the particular sins are not the continuation of sin, they are expressions of its continuation.
I found I had less and less to say, until finally, I became silent, and began to listen. I discovered in the silence, the voice of God.
There is nothing everyone is so afraid of as being told how vastly much he is capable of. You are capable of -- do you want to know? -- you are capable of living in poverty; you are capable of standing almost any kind of maltreatment, abuse, etc. But you do not wish to know about it, isn't that so? You would be furious with him who told you so, and only call that person your friend who bolsters you in saying: 'No, this I cannot bear, this is beyond my strength, etc.
It was not to save a nation that Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, nor to appease angry gods... Then why does Abraham do it? For God's sake... He does it for the sake of God because God demands proof of his faith... He was not justified by being virtuous, but by being an individual submitted to God in faith.
Most people live dejectedly in worldly joys or sorrows. They sit on the sidelines and do not join the dance.
In order to swim one takes off all one's clothes -- in order to aspire to the truth one must undress in a far more inward sense, divest oneself of all one's inward clothes, of thoughts, conceptions, selfishness etc., before one is sufficiently naked.
Concepts, like individuals, have their histories and are just as incapable of withstanding the ravages of time as are individuals. But in and through all this they retain a kind of homesickness for the scenes of their childhood.
May new sufferings torment your soul.
I am so fed up and joyless that not only have I nothing to fill my soul, I cannot even conceive of anything that could possibly satisfy it -- alas, not even the bliss of heaven.
It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.
Instruction begins when you, the teacher, learn from the learner; put yourself in his place so that you may understand ... what he learns and the way he understands it.
Philosophy always requires something more, requires the eternal, the true, in contrast to which even the fullest existence as such is but a happy moment.
I go fishing for a thousand monsters in the depths of my own self.
It is intelligent to ask two questions: (1) Is it possible? (2) Can I do it?. But it is unintelligent to ask these questions: (1) Is it real? (2) Has my neighbor done it?
A strange thing happened to me in my dream. I was rapt into the Seventh Heaven. There sat all the gods assembled. As a special dispensation I was granted the favor to have one wish. "Do you wish for youth," said Mercury, "or for beauty, or power, or a long life; or do you wish for the most beautiful woman, or any other of the many fine things we have in our treasure trove? Choose, but only one thing!" For a moment I was at a loss. Then I addressed the gods in this wise: "Most honorable contemporaries, I choose one thing -- that I may always have the laughs on my side." Not one god made answer, but all began to laugh. From this I concluded that my wish had been granted and thought that the gods knew how to express themselves with good taste: for it would surely have been inappropriate to answer gravely: your wish has been granted.
A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it.
On the secretly blushing cheek is reflected the glow of the heart.
What our age lacks is not reflection, but passion.
It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived--forwards. The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible, precisely because at no moment can I find complete quiet to take the backward- looking position.
One can advise comfortably from a safe port.
My tactics were, by God's aid, to employ every means to make it clear what the requirement of Christianity truly is.
Only one deception is possible in the infinite sense, self-deception.
To venture causes anxiety. Not to venture is to lose oneself.
Just as in the great moment of resignation one does not mediate but chooses, now the task is to gain proficiency in repeating the impassioned choice and, existing, to express it in existence.
Human relations are like the irregular verbs in a number of languages where nearly all verbs are irregular.
Hope is passion for what is possible.
Christianity does not oppose debauchery and uncontrollable passions and the like as much as it opposes... flat mediocrity, this nauseating atmosphere, this homey, civil togetherness, where admittedly great crimes, wild excesses, and powerful aberrations cannot easily occur -- but where God's unconditional demand has even greater difficulty in accomplishing what it requires: the majestic obedience of submission.
There is a view of life which conceives that where the crowd is, there is also truth. There is another view of life which conceives that wherever there is a crowd, there is untruth.
I do not care for anything. I do not care to ride, for the exercise is too violent. I do not care to walk, walking is too strenuous. I do not care to lie down, for I should either have to remain lying, and I do not care to do that, or I should have to get up again, and I do not care to do that either. Summa summarum: I do not care at all.
If someone who wanted to learn to dance were to say: For centuries, one generation after the other has learned the positions, and it is high time that I take advantage of this and promptly begin with the quadrille -- people would presumably laugh a little at him, but in the world of spirit this is very plausible. What, then, is education? I believed it is the course the individual goes through in order to catch up with himself, and the person who will not go through this course is not much helped by being born in the most enlightened age.
Most people believe that the Christian commandments are intentionally a little too severe.
It is presumptuous ridicule of God if someone thinks that only the person who desires great wealth chooses mammon. Alas, the person who insists on having a penny without God, wants to have a penny all for himself. He thereby chooses mammon. A penny is enough, the choice is made, he has chosen mammon; that it is little makes not the slightest difference. The love of God is hatred of the world and love of the world hatred of God.
Then faith's paradox is this: that the single individual is higher than the universal, that the single individual determines his relation to the universal through his relation to God, not his relation to God through his relation through the universal... Unless this is how it is, faith has no place in existence; and faith is then a temptation.
How ironical that it is by means of speech that man can degrade himself below the level of dumb creation -- for a chatterbox is truly of a lower category than a dumb creature.
It seems to be my destiny to discourse on truth, insofar as I discover it, in such a way that all possible authority is simultaneously demolished.
The self-assured believer is a greater sinner in the eyes of God than the troubled disbeliever.
A poet is an unhappy creature whose heart is tortured by deepest suffering but whose lips are so formed that when his sighs and cries stream out over them, their sound beomes like the sound of beautiful music ... And men flock about the poet saying, Sing for us soon again; that is to say, may new sufferings torture your soul, and may your lips continue to be formed as before.
It is a wonderful thing to see a first-rate philosopher at prayer. Tough-minded thinking and tenderhearted reverence are friends, not enemies. We have for too long separated the head from the heart, and we are the lesser for it. We love God with the mind and we love God with the heart. In reality, we are descending with the mind into the heart and there standing before God in ceaseless wonder and endless praise. As the mind and the heart work in concert, a kind of loving rationality pervades all we say and do. This brings unity to us and glory to God.
The spiritual differs from the religious in being able to endure isolation. The rank of a spiritual person is proportionate to his strength for enduring isolation, whereas we religious people are constantly in need of 'the others,' the herd. We religious folks die, or despair, if we are not reassured by being in the assembly, of the same opinion as the congregation, and so on. But the Christianity of the New Testament is precisely related to the isolation of the spiritual man.
Whoever thou art, whatever in other respects thy life may be, my friend, by ceasing to take part (if ordinarily thou doest) in the public worship of God, as it now is (with the claim that it is the Christianity of the New Testament), thou hast constantly one guilt the less, and that a great one: thou dost not take part in treating God as a fool by calling that the Christianity of the New Testament which is not the Christianity of the New Testament.
The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.
A genius may perhaps be a century ahead of his age and hence stands there as a paradox, but in the end, the race will assimilate what was once a paradox, so it is no longer paradoxical.
Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate.
No, I won't leave the world -- I'll enter a lunatic asylum and see if the profundity of insanity reveals to me the riddles of life. Idiot, why didn't I do that long ago, why has it taken me so long to understand what it means when the Indians honour the insane, step aside for them? Yes, a lunatic asylum -- don't you think I may end up there?
In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant. ... My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known -- no wonder, then, that I return the love.
To defend something is always to discredit it. Let a man have a warehouse full of gold, let him be willing to give away a ducat to every one of the poor -- but let him also be stupid enough to begin this charitable undertaking of his with a defense in which he offers three good reasons in justification; and it will almost come to the point of people finding it doubtful whether indeed he is doing something good. But now for Christianity. Yes, the person who defends that has never believed in it.
The present generation, wearied by its chimerical efforts, relapses into complete indolence. Its condition is that of a man who has only fallen asleep towards morning: first of all come great dreams, then a feeling of laziness, and finally a witty or clever excuse for remaining in bed.
It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.
Dread is a womanish debility in which freedom swoons. Psychologically speaking, the fall into sin always occurs in impotence. But dread is at the same time the most egotistic thing.
With the daguerreotype, everyone will be able to have their portrait taken ... and at the same time everything is being done to make us all look exactly the same.
. .the larger the crowd, the more probable that that which it praises is folly, and the more improbable that it is truth; and the most improbable of all that it is any eternal truth.
Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.
As I stood alone and forsaken, and the power of the sea and the battle of the elements reminded me of my own nothingness, and on the other hand, the sure flight of the birds recalled the words spoken by Christ: Not a sparrow shall fall on the ground without your Father: then, all at once, I felt how great and how small I was; then did those two mighty forces, pride and humility, happily unite in friendship.
At the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference.
God has given each of us our "marching order." Our purpose here on Earth is to find those orders and carry them out. Those orders acknowledge our special gifts.
The proud person always wants to do the right thing, the great thing. But because he wants to do it in his own strength, he is fighting not with man, but with God.
Purity of heart is to will one thing.
All moral elevation consists first and foremost of being weaned from the momentary.
My melancholy is the most faithful sweetheart I have had.
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.
There are two kinds of geniuses. The characteristic of the one is roaring, but the lightning is meagre and rarely strikes; the other kind is characterized by reflection by which it constrains itself or restrains the roaring. But the lightning is all the more intense; with the speed and sureness of lightning it hits the selected particular points -- and is fatal.
To be a woman is something so strange, so confusing and so complicated that only a woman could put up with it.
The stone that was rolled before Christ's tomb might appropriately be called the philosopher's stone because its removal gave not only the pharisees but, now for 1800 years, the philosophers so much to think about.
There is one thing that all Satan's cunning and all the snares of temptation cannot take by surprise -- an undivided will.
Irony limits, finitizes, and circumscribes and thereby yields truth, actuality, content; it disciplines and punishes and thereby yields balance and consistency.
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.
That is the road we all have to take -- over the Bridge of Sight into eternity.
No time of life is so beautiful as the early days of love, when with every meeting, every glance, one fetches something new home to rejoice over.
Geniuses are like thunderstorms: they go against the wind, terrify people, clear the air.
Freedom's possibility is not the ability to choose the good or the evil. The possibility is to be able.
Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven -- in the spring at the earth.
When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, "It is talking to me, and about me."
Boredom rests upon the nothingness that winds its way through existence; its giddiness, like that which comes from gazing down into an infinite abyss, is infinite.
One is not unpopular because he uses peculiar expressions; that just so happens; such terms become a fad, and by and by everybody, down to the last simpleton, uses them. But a person who follows through an idea in his mind is, and always will be, essentially unpopular. That is why Socrates was unpopular, though he did not use any special terms, for to grasp and hold his 'ignorance' requires greater vital effort than understanding the whole of Hegel's philosophy.
Irony is a qualification of subjectivity.
It is a frightful satire and an epigram on the modern age that the only use it knows for solitude is to make it a punishment, a jail sentence.
The minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion.
Had I to carve an inscription on my tombstone I would ask for none other than "The Individual.
In my great melancholy, I loved life, for I love my melancholy.
People have an idea that the preacher is an actor on a stage and they are the critics, blaming or praising him. What they don't know is that they are the actors on the stage; he (the preacher) is merely the prompter standing in the wings, reminding them of their lost lines.
Where unclarity resides, there is temptation, and there it proves only too easily the stronger. Wherever there is ambiguity, wherever there is wavering, there is disobedience down at the bottom.
They were not unfortunate girls who, as outcasts or in the belief that they were cast out by society, grieved wholesomely and intensely and, once in a while at times when the heart was too full, ventilated it in hate or forgiveness. No visible change took place in them; they lived in the accustomed context, were respected as always, and yet they were changed, almost unaccountably to themselves and incomprehensibly to others. Their lives were not cracked or broken, as others' were, but were bent into themselves; lost to others, they futilely sought to find themselves.
And this is the simple truth -- that to live is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce.
I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved.
The commandment is that you shall love, but when you understand life and yourself, then it is as if you should not need to be commanded, because to love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without this life you really do not live.
The difference between a man who faces death for the sake of an idea and an imitator who goes in search of martyrdom is that whilst the former expresses his idea most fully in death it is the strange feeling of bitterness which comes from failure that the latter really enjoys; the former rejoices in his victory, the latter in his suffering.
No grand inquisitor has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety and no spy knows how to attack more artfully the man he suspects, choosing the instant when he is weakest; nor knows how to lay traps where he will be caught and ensnared as anxiety knows how, and no sharp-witted judge knows how to interrogate, to examine the accused, as anxiety does, which never lets him escape.
Do not interrupt the flight of your soul; do not distress what is best in you; do not enfeeble your spirit with half wishes and half thoughts. Ask yourself and keep on asking until you find the answer, for one may have known something many times, acknowledged it; one may have willed something many times, attempted it -- and yet, only the deep inner motion, only the heart's indescribable emotion, only that will convince you that what you have acknowledged belongs to you, that no power can take it from you -- for only the truth that builds up is truth for you.
Adversity not only draws people together, but brings forth that beautiful inward friendship.
So to be sick unto death is, not to be able to die-yet not as though there were hope of life; no, the hopelessness in this case is that even the last hope, death, is not available. When death is the greatest danger, one hopes for life; but when one becomes acquainted with an even more dreadful danger, one hopes for death. So when the danger is so great that death has become one's hope, despair is the disconsolateness of not being able to die.
A human being not only can choose but... he must choose... for in this way God retains His honor while at the same time has a fatherly concern for humankind. Though God has lowered Himself to being that which can be chosen, yet each person must on his part choose. God is not mocked. Therefore the matter stands thus: If a person avoids choosing, this is the same as the presumption of choosing the world.
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.
Without risk, faith is an impossibility.
Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.
Deep within every human being there still lives the anxiety over the possibility of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the millions and millions in this enormous household. One keeps this anxiety at a distance by looking at the many round about who are related to him as kin and friends, but the anxiety is still there, nevertheless, and one hardly dares think of how he would feel if all this were taken away.
Death induces the sensual person to say: Let us eat and drink, because tomorrow we shall die -- but this is sensuality's cowardly lust for life, that contemptible order of things where one lives in order to eat and drink instead of eating and drinking in order to live.
Because of its tremendous solemnity death is the light in which great passions, both good and bad, become transparent, no longer limited by outward appearances.
Talent warms-up the given (as they say in cookery) and makes it apparent; genius brings something new. But our time lets talent pass for genius. They want to abolish the genius, deify the genius, and let talent forge ahead.
Boredom is the root of all evil -- the despairing refusal to be oneself.
It is human self-renunciation when a man denies himself and the world opens up to him. But it is Christian self-renunciation when he denies himself and, because the world precisely for this shuts itself up to him, he must as one thrust out by the world seek God's confidence. The double-danger lies precisely in meeting opposition there where he had expected to find support, and he has to turn about twice; whereas the merely human self-resignation turns once.
Truth has always had many loud proclaimers, but the question is whether a person will in the deepest sense acknowledge the truth, allow it to permeate his whole being, accept all its consequences, and not have an emergency hiding place for himself and a Judas kiss for the consequence.
In the end, therefore, money will be the one thing people will desire, which is moreover only representative, an abstraction. Nowadays a young man hardly envies anyone his gifts, his art, the love of a beautiful girl, or his fame; he only envies him his money. Give me money, he will say, and I am saved...He would die with nothing to reproach himself with, and under the impression that if only he had had the money he might really have lived and might even have achieved something great.
The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.
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.
About as genuine as tea made from a bit of paper which once lay in a drawer beside another piece of paper which had been used to wrap up a few tea leaves from which tea had already been made three times.
Never cease loving a person, and never give up hope for him, for even the prodigal son who had fallen most low, could still be saved; the bitterest enemy and also he who was your friend could again be your friend; love that has grown cold can kindle.
If there were no eternal consciousness in a man, if at the bottom of everything there were only a wild ferment, a power that twisting in dark passions produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything, what would life be but despair?
Genius, like a thunderstorm, comes up against the wind.
The more men believe an idea to be true the greater the likelihood that the idea is mistaken. Those who are right usually stand alone.
This is the miracle of life: that each person who heeds him or herself knows what no scientist can ever know: who he or she is.
Once you label me you negate me.
It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.
Are you not aware that there comes a midnight hour when everyone must unmask.
To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
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.
It is easy to see, though it scarcely needs to be pointed out, since it is involved in the fact that Reason is set aside, that faith is not a form of knowledge; for all knowledge is either a knowledge of the eternal, excluding the temporal and historical as indifferent, or it is pure historical knowledge. No knowledge can have for its object the absurdity that the eternal is the historical.
Personality is only ripe when a man has made the truth his own.
Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion -- and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion ... while Truth again reverts to a new minority.
Comparison is the most dangerous acquaintance love can make.