There is no religion in which everyday life is not considered a prison; there is no philosophy or ideology that does not think that we live in alienation.
A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.
An avant-garde man is like an enemy inside a city he is bent on destroying, against which he rebels; for like any system of government, an established form of expression is also a form of oppression. The avant-garde man is the opponent of an existing system.
Banality is a symptom of non-communication. Men hide behind their clichés.
Beauty is a precious trace that eternity causes to appear to us and that it takes away from us. A manifestation of eternity, and a sign of death as well.
I believe that in the history of art and of thought there has always been at every living moment of culture a "will to renewal." This is not the prerogative of the last decade only. All history is nothing but a succession of "crises"--of rupture, repudiation and resistance. . . . When there is no "crisis," there is stagnation, petrification and death. All thought, all art is aggressive.
Since the death instinct exists in the heart of everything that lives, since we suffer from trying to repress it, since everything that lives longs for rest, let us unfasten the ties that bind us to life, let us cultivate our death wish, let us develop it, water it like a plant, let it grow unhindered. Suffering and fear are born from the repression of the death wish.
For me, it is as though at every moment the actual world had completely lost its actuality. As though there was nothing there; as though there were no foundations for anything or as though it escaped us. Only one thing, however, is vividly present: the constant tearing of the veil of appearances; the constant destruction of everything in construction. Nothing holds together, everything falls apart.
The light of memory, or rather the light that memory lends to things, is the palest light of all. . . . I am not quite sure whether I am dreaming or remembering, whether I have lived my life or dreamed it. Just as dreams do, memory makes me profoundly aware of the unreality, the evanescence of the world, a fleeting image in the moving water.
There is nothing truer than myth: history, in its attempt to "realize" myth, distorts it, stops halfway; when history claims to have "succeeded," this is nothing but humbug and mystification. Everything we dream is "realizable." Reality does not have to be: it is simply what it is.
Realism, whether it be socialist or not, falls short of reality. It shrinks it, attenuates it, falsifies it; it does not take into account our basic truths and our fundamental obsessions: love, death, astonishment. It presents man in a reduced and estranged perspective. Truth is in our dreams, in the imagination.
Shakespeare was the great one before us. His place was between God and despair.
No society has been able to abolish human sadness, no political system can deliver us from the pain of living, from our fear of death, our thirst for the absolute. It is the human condition that directs the social condition, not vice versa.
The universe seems to me infinitely strange and foreign. At such a moment I gaze upon it with a mixture of anguish and euphoria; separate from the universe, as though placed at a certain distance outside it; I look and I see pictures, creatures that move in a kind of timeless time and spaceless space, emitting sounds that are a kind of language I no longer understand or ever register.
Memorable Quotations: French Writers (A - L)
Memorable Quotations: French Writers (M - Z)
Memorable Quotations: French Writers of the Past
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Memorable Quotations: French Novelists
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Memorable Quotations: Playwrights of the Past