Childhood is the world of miracle and wonder; as if creation rose, bathed in the light, out of the darkness, utterly new and fresh and astonishing. The end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us.
It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
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.
Topics: The Universe, Universe
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.
Topics: Sadness, Society
The end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us. When the world seems familiar, when one has got used to existence, one has become an adult.
Boredom flourishes too, when you feel safe. It’s a symptom of security.
Banality is a symptom of non-communication. Men hide behind their cliches.
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.
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.
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, petrifaction and death. All thought, all art is aggressive.
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.
Explanation separates us from astonishment, which is the only gateway to the incomprehensible.
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.
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.
Topics: Death, Dying
Wondering Whom to Read Next?
- Roland Barthes French Literary Theorist
- Charles Du Bos French Literary Critic
- Denis Diderot French Philosopher, Writer
- Honore de Balzac French Novelist
- Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux French Literary Critic
- Francois Mauriac French Novelist
- Jacques Derrida French Philosopher, Literary Theorist
- Maurice Blanchot French Novelist, Critic
- Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand French Writer, Statesman
- Simone de Beauvoir French Philosopher