One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one’s death, one dies one’s life.
—Jean-Paul Sartre (1905–80) French Philosopher, Playwright, Novelist, Screenwriter, Political Activist
The existence of a man is so small a thing to take, so mighty a thing to employ.
—Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94) Scottish Novelist
We don’t exist unless we are deeply and sensually in touch with that which can be touched but not known.
—D. H. Lawrence (1885–1930) English Novelist, Playwright, Poet, Essayist, Literary Critic
It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.
—Andre Breton (1896–1966) French Poet, Essayist, Critic
The fact of God is necessary for the fact of man. Think God away and man has no ground of existence.
—A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) American Christian Pastor, Preacher, Author, Editor
We spend our lives talking about this mystery. Our life.
—Jules Renard (1864–1910) French Writer, Diarist
The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.
—Vladimir Nabokov (1899–1977) Russian-born American Novelist
People who lead a lonely existence always have something on their minds that they are eager to talk about.
—Anton Chekhov (1860–1904) Russian Short-Story Writer
Cultivation of mind should be the ultimate aim of human existence.
—B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956) Indian Jurist, Social Reformer
The potentiality of perfection outweighs actual contradictions… Existence in itself is here to prove that it cannot be an evil.
—Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) Bengali Poet, Polymath
No man or woman of the humblest sort can really be strong, gentle and pure and good, without the world being better for it, without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness.
—Phillips Brooks (1835–93) American Episcopal Clergyman, Author
Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
—Lu Xun (1881–1936) Chinese Writer
Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the “Beloved”. Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence.
—Henri Nouwen (1932–96) Dutch Catholic Theologian, Writer
The existence of inherent limits of experience in no way settles the question about the subordination of facts of the human world to our knowledge of matter.
—Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911) German Philosopher, Historian
Fate is nothing but the deeds committed in a prior state of existence.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–82) American Philosopher
Man has the possibility of existence after death. But possibility is one thing and the realization of the possibility is quite a different thing.
—Georges Gurdjieff (1877–1949) Armenian Spiritual Leader, Occultist
It’s not the ‘be or not to be’ which is of any question. It’s the ‘be and not to be’ which has to be digested.
Nothing exists except by virtue of a disequilibrium, an injustice. All existence is a theft paid for by other existences; no life flowers except on a cemetery.
—Remy de Gourmont (1858–1915) French Poet, Novelist, Critic
The mystery of existence is the connection between our faults and our misfortunes.
—Anne Louise Germaine de Stael (1766–1817) French Woman of Letters