100+ Soren Kierkegaard Quotes that will make us understand life

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Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

Soren Kierkegaard Quotes that will make us understand life. There are so many Soren Kierkegaard quotes that can help you when you are tired of being in the same old rut, and all you need is a little push, a little inspiration, a smile on the face, change of mood, bring you out of the banality of life, make you laugh a little, or may even make you cry a bit, and these Soren Kierkegaard quotes exists just do that.

Born on 5 May 1813 is Soren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, poet, social critic, theologian and religious author. He is considered widely as the first existentialist philosopher. He has written critical texts about Christendom, philosophy of religion, organized religion, ethics, morality and psychology. His writings mostly consist of parables, irony and metaphor.

Kierkegaard’s philosophical works mostly depict concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and his works deal with the issue of how one lives like a single individual, giving special attention to the importance of personal choice and commitment. He was against idealism and those critics who favoured idealist intellectuals of his time. He also thought that Swedenborg, Hegel, Schelling, Hans Christian Anderson, Fichte and Schlegel were all understood too easily and quickly by scholars.

Kierkegaard extremely practised Christianity, primarily of the Church of Denmark, as a state religion. He focused his theological works on Christian ethics, the institution of Church. His works also contain the distinction of man from God and the relationship of God-man Jesus the Christ and an individual subject which came through faith, along with objective difference proofs of Christianity, most of his works are about Christian Love.

Kierkegaard’s starting works were written under a made up name so that he can interact in complex dialogues and present distinctive viewpoints. He mainly viewed different perspectives of critical problems under a different pseudonym. Christianity teaches that the ultimate way to understand life is to become a subject or to be subjective while science says that to understand the idea is by observing the world. Kierkegaard ultimately denies the scientific methods of observation could reveal the world of the workings of the spirit.

Kierkegaard has written in Danish, but the popularity was limited to Scandinavia. Later in the rise of the 20th century, all of his writing was translated into many languages like German, French and other major European Languages. His works were a critical influence on theology, philosophy and Western culture. Some of his key concepts and ideas include knight of faith, repletion and recollection dichotomy, objective and subjective truths, angst, three stages of life’s way, faith as a passion and he also coined the concept of infinite qualitative distinction.

We have dug up these Soren Kierkegaard quotes from the depths of the internet and brought together best of these sayings in a single article. This post is probably the biggest database of Soren Kierkegaard Sayings in a single place. These famous Soren Kierkegaard quotes have the power to change your life by giving a novel outlook about the way you observe different aspects of your life. Hence, these popular Soren Kierkegaard quotes should be read with caution and proper understanding of the context. Here are tons of Soren Kierkegaard quotes that will open a treasure chest of Wisdom and experiences: –

“What labels me, negates me.”

Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

“Once you are born in this world you’re old enough to die.”

Soren Kierkegaard Popular Quotes (4)

“The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins.”

Soren Kierkegaard best Quotes (1)

“My standpoint is armed neutrality.”

Soren Kierkegaard Famous Quotes

“Now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.”

Soren Kierkegaard saying

“The same thing happened to me that, according to legend, happened to Parmeniscus, who in the Trophonean cave lost the ability to laugh but acquired it again on the island of Delos upon seeing a shapeless block that was said to be the image of the goddess Leto. When I was very young, I forgot in the Trophonean cave how to laugh; when I became an adult, when I opened my eyes and saw actuality, then I started to laugh and have never stopped laughing since that time. I saw that the meaning of life was to make a living, its goal to be- come a councilor, that the rich delight oflove was to acquire a well-to-do girl, that the blessedness of friendship was to help each other in financial difficulties, that wisdom was whatever the majority assumed it to be, that enthusiasm was to give a speech, that courage was to risk being fined ten dollars, that cordiality was to say “May it do you good” after a meal, that piety was to go to communion once a year. This I saw, and I laughed.”

“Hope is a passion for the possible.”

“The present state of the world and the whole of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and were asked for my advice, I should reply, ‘Create silence’.”

“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.”

“What is talkativeness? It is the result of doing away with the vital distinction between talking and keeping silent. Only some one who knows how to remain essentially silent can really talk–and act essentially. Silence is the essence of inwardness, of the inner life. Mere gossip anticipates real talk, and to express what is still in thought weakens action by forestalling it. But some one who can really talk, because he knows how to remain silent, will not talk about a variety of things but about one thing only, and he will know when to talk and when to remain silent. Where mere scope is concerned, talkativeness wins the day, it jabbers on incessantly about everything and nothing…In a passionate age great events (for they correspond to each other) give people something to talk about. And when the event is over, and silence follows, there is still something to remember and to think about while one remains silent. But talkativeness is afraid of the silence which reveals its emptiness.”

“It belongs to the imperfection of everything human that man can only attain his desire by passing through its opposite.”

“The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires.”

“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?”

“In my great melancholy, I loved life, for I love my melancholy.”

“People understand me so little that they do not even understand when I complain of being misunderstood.”

“What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.”

“You love the accidental. A smile from a pretty girl in an interesting situation, a stolen glance, that is what you are hunting for, that is a motif for your aimless fantasy. You who always pride yourself on being an observateur must, in return, put up with becoming an object of observation. Ah, you are a strange fellow, one moment a child, the next an old man; one moment you are thinking most earnestly about the most important scholarly problems, how you will devote your life to them, and the next you are a lovesick fool. But you are a long way from marriage.”

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

“I have the courage, I believe, to doubt everything; I have the courage, I believe, to fight with everything; but I have not the courage to know anything; not the courage to possess, to own anything. Most people complain that the world is so prosaic, that life is not like romance, where opportunities are always so favorable. I complain that life is not like romance, where one had hard-hearted parents and nixies and trolls to fight, and enchanted princesses to free. What are all such enemies taken together, compared with the pale, bloodless, tenacious, nocturnal shapes with which I fight, and to whom I give life and substance?”

“No! No one who was great in the world will be forgotten, but everyone was great in his own way, and everyone in proportion to the greatness of that which he loved. He who loved himself became great by virtue of himself, and he who loved other men became great by his devotedness, but he who loved God became the greatest of all. Everyone shall be remembered, but everyone became great in proportion to his expectancy. One became great by expecting the possible, another by expecting the eternal; but he who expected the impossible became the greatest of all. Everyone shall be remembered, but everyone was great wholly in proportion to the magnitude of that with which he struggled. For he who struggled with the world became great by conquering the world, and he who struggled with himself became great by conquering himself, but he who struggled with God became the greatest of all. Thus did they struggle in the world, man against man, one against thousands, but he who struggled with God was the greatest of all. Thus did they struggle on earth: there was one who conquered everything by his power, and there was one who conquered God by his powerlessness. There was one who relied upon himself and gained everything; there was one who in the security of his own strength sacrificed everything; but the one who believed God was the greatest of all. There was one who was great by virtue of his power, and one who was great by virtue of his hope, and one who was great by virtue of his love, but Abraham was the greatest of all, great by that power whose strength is powerlessness, great by that wisdom which is foolishness, great by that hope whose form is madness, great by the love that is hatred to oneself.”

“…..love yourself.”

“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.”

“to have faith is precisely to lose one’s mind so as to win God.”

“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.”

“Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be a man who is brisk about his food and his work. Therefore, whenever I see a fly settling, in the decisive moment, on the nose of such a person of affairs; or if he is spattered with mud from a carriage which drives past him in still greater haste; or the drawbridge opens up before him; or a tile falls down and knocks him dead, then I laugh heartily.”

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

“The only intelligent tactical response to life’s horror is to laugh defiantly at it”

“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.”

“Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every
generation may not come that far, but none comes further.”

“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.”

“What is existence for but to be laughed at if men in their twenties have already attained the utmost?”

“Let other complain that the age is wicked; my complaint is that it is paltry; for it lacks passion. Men’s thoughts are thin and flimsy like lace, they are themselves pitiable like the lacemakers. The thoughts of their hearts are too paltry to be sinful. For a worm it might be regarded as a sin to harbor such thoughts, but not for a being made in the image of God. Their lusts are dull and sluggish, their passions sleepy…This is the reason my soul always turns back to the Old Testament and to Shakespeare. I feel that those who speak there are at least human beings: they hate, they love, they murder their enemies, and curse their descendants throughout all generations, they sin.”

“Whether you are man or woman, rich or poor, dependent or free, happy or unhappy; whether you bore in your elevation the splendour of the crown or in humble obscurity only the toil and heat of the day; whether your name will be remembered for as long as the world lasts, and so will have been remembered as long as it lasted, or you are without a name and run namelessly with the numberless multitude; whether the glory that surrounded you surpassed all human description, or the severest and most ignominious human judgment was passed on you — eternity asks you and every one of these millions of millions, just one thing: whether you have lived in despair or not, whether so in despair that you did not know that you were in despair, or in such a way that you bore this sickness concealed deep inside you as your gnawing secret, under your heart like the fruit of a sinful love, or in such a way that, a terror to others, you raged in despair. If then, if you have lived in despair, then whatever else you won or lost, for you everything is lost, eternity does not acknowledge you, it never knew you, or, still more dreadful, it knows you as you are known, it manacles you to yourself in despair!”

“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 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.”

“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.”

“When I was young, I forgot how to laugh in the cave of Trophonius; when I was older, I opened my eyes and beheld reality, at which I began to laugh, and since then, I have not stopped laughing. I saw that the meaning of life was to secure a livelihood, and that its goal was to attain a high position; that love’s rich dream was marriage with an heiress; that friendship’s blessing was help in financial difficulties; that wisdom was what the majority assumed it to be; that enthusiasm consisted in making a speech; that it was courage to risk the loss of ten dollars; that kindness consisted in saying, “You are welcome,” at the dinner table; that piety consisted in going to communion once a year. This I saw, and I laughed.”

“It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theater. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought it was a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning. They shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid the general applause from all the wits who believe that it is a joke.”

“Don’t forget to love yourself.”

“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?”

“And when the hourglass has run out, the hourglass of temporality, when the noise of secular life has grown silent and its restless or ineffectual activism has come to an end, when everything around you is still, as it is in eternity, then eternity asks you and every individual in these millions and millions about only one thing: whether you have lived in despair or not.”

“For he who loves God without faith reflects on himself, while the person who loves God in faith reflects on God.”

“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.”

“My melancholy is the most faithful mistress I have known; what wonder, then, that I love her in return.”

“For love is exultant when it unites equals, but it is triumphant when it makes that which was unequal equal in love.”

“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. ”

“I once knew of a girl whose story forms the substance of the diary. Whether he has seduced others I do not know… we learn of his desire for something altogether arbitrary. With the help of his mental gifts he knew how to tempt a girl to draw her to him without caring to possess her in any stricter sense.

I can imagine him able to bring a girl to the point where he was sure she would sacrifice all then he would leave without a word let a lone a declaration a promise.

The unhappy girl would retain the consciousness of it with double bitterness because there was not the slightest thing she could appeal to. She could only be constantly tossed about in a terrible witches’ dance at one moment reproaching herself forgiving him at another reproaching him and then since the relationship would only have been actual in a figurative sense she would constantly have to contend with the doubt that the whole thing might only have been an imagination.”

“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.”

“It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair.”

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

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. If I wish to preserve myself in faith I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty so as to remain out upon the deep, over seventy thousand fathoms of water, still preserving my faith.”

“If you marry, you will regret it; if you do not marry, you will also regret it; if you marry or do not marry, you will regret both; Laugh at the world’s follies, you will regret it, weep over them, you will also regret that; laugh at the world’s follies or weep over them, you will regret both; whether you laugh at the world’s follies or weep over them, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it, believe her not, you will also regret that; believe a woman or believe her not, you will regret both; whether you believe a woman or believe her not, you will regret both. Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will also regret that; hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the sum and substance of all philosophy.”

“I’m so misunderstood that people misunderstand me even when I tell them I’m misunderstood.”

“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.”

“Language has time as its element; all other media have space as their element.”

“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.”

“A revolutionary age is an age of action; ours is the age of advertisement and publicity. Nothing ever happens but there is immediate publicity everywhere. In the present age a rebellion is, of all things, the most unthinkable. Such an expression of strength would seem ridiculous to the calculating intelligence of our times. On the other hand a political virtuoso might bring off a feat almost as remarkable. He might write a manifesto suggesting a general assembly at which people should decide upon a rebellion, and it would be so carefully worded that even the censor would let it pass. At the meeting itself he would be able to create the impression that his audience had rebelled, after which they would all go quietly home–having spent a very pleasant evening.”

“Silence is the demon’s trap, and the more one is silenced, the more terrible the demon; but silence is also the divinity’s mutual understanding with the single individual.”

“Men think that it is impossible for a human being to love his enemies, for enemies are hardly able to endure the sight of one another. Well, then, shut your eyes–and your enemy looks just like your neighbor.”

“No, not one shall be forgotten who was great in the world. But each was great in his own way, and each in proportion to the greatness of that which he loved.”

“…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.”

“To grumble about the world and its unhappiness is always easier than to beat one’s breast and groan over oneself.”

“For I have trained myself and am training myself always to be able to dance lightly in the service of thought”

“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.”

“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.”

“No one comes back from the dead, no one has entered the world without crying; no one is asked when he wishes to enter life, nor when he wishes to leave.”

“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.”

“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.”

“Faith is the highest passion in a man.”

“My life is absolutely meaningless. When I consider the different periods into which it falls, it seems like the word Schnur in the dictionary, which means in the first place a string, in the second, a daughter-in-law. The only thing lacking is that the word Schnur should mean in the third place a camel, in the fourth, a dust-brush.”

“To dare is to momentarily lose one’s footing.
But not to dare is to lose one’s self.”

“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.”

“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.”
? Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death: A Christian Psychological Exposition for Upbuilding and Awakening

“The majority of men in every generation, even those who, as it is described, devote themselves to thinking, live and die under the impression that life is simply a matter of understanding more and more, and that if it were granted to them to live longer, that life would continue to be one long continuous growth in understanding. How many of them ever experience the maturity of discovering that there comes a critical moment where everything is reversed, after which the point becomes to understand more and more that there is something which cannot be understood.”

“la vida sólo puede ser entendida mirando hacia atrás; aunque deba ser vivida mirando hacia adelante”

“The most ludicrous of all ludicrous things, it seems to me, is to be busy in the world, to be a man who is brisk at his meals and brisk at his work. Therefore, when I see a fly settle on the nose of one of those men of business in a decisive moment, or if he is splashed by a carriage that passes him in even greater haste… I laugh from the bottom of my heart. And who could keep from laughing? What, after all, do these busy bustlers achieve? Are they not just like the woman who, in a flurry because the house was on fire, rescued the fire tongs?”

“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.”

“Intelligence has got the upper hand to such an extent that it transforms the real task into an unreal trick and reality into a play.”

“To have distinctiveness is to believe in the distinctiveness of everyone else, because distinctiveness is not mine but is God’s gift by which he gives being to me, and he indeed gives to all, gives being to all. (p. 271)”

“To pace about, looking to obtain status, looking to attain ‘importance’ – I can think of nothing more ridiculous.”

“The Highest, after all, is not to comprehend the Highest, but to do it.”

“If then, if you have lived in despair, then whatever else you won or lost, for you everything is lost, eternity does not acknowledge you, it never knew you, or, still more dreadful, it knows you as you are known, it manacles you to your self in despair.”

“When I was very young and in the cave of Trophonius I forgot to laugh. Then, when I got older, when I opened my eyes and saw the real world, I began to laugh and I haven’t stopped since. I saw that the meaning of life was to get a livelihood, that the goal of life was to be a High Court judge, that the bright joy of love was to marry a well-off girl, that the blessing of friendship was to help each other out of a financial tight spot, that wisdom was what the majority said it was, that passion was to give a speech, that courage was to risk being fined 10 rix-dollars, that cordiality was to say ‘You’re welcome’ after a meal, and that the fear of God was to go to communion once a year. That’s what I saw. And I laughed.”

“Be that self that one is”

“In our own day anonymity has acquired a far more pregnant significance than is perhaps realized: it has an almost epigrammatic significance. People not only write anonymously, they sign their anonymous works: they even talk anonymously…Nowadays one can talk with any one, and it must be admitted that people’s opinions are exceedingly sensible, yet the conversation leaves one with the impression of having talked to an anonymity. The same person will say the most contradictory things and, with the utmost calm, make a remark, which coming from him is a bitter satire on his own life. The remark itself may be sensible enough, and of the kind that sounds well at a meeting, and may serve in a discussion preliminary to coming to a decision, in much the same way that paper is made out of rags. But all these opinions put together do not make one human, personal opinion such as you may hear from quite a simple man who talks about very little but really does talk. People’s remarks are so objective, so all all-inclusive, that it is a matter of complete indifference who expresses them, and where human speech is concerned that is the same as acting ‘on principle’. And so our talk becomes like the public, a pure abstraction. There is no longer any one who knows how to talk, and instead, objective thought produces an atmosphere, an abstract sound, which makes human speech superfluous, just as machinery makes man superfluous. In Germany they even have phrase-books for the use of lovers, and it will end with lovers sitting together talking anonymously. In fact there are hand-books for everything, and very soon education, all the world over, will consist in learning a greater or lesser number of comments by heart, and people will excel according to their capacity for singling out the various facts like a printer singling out the letters, but completely ignorant of the meaning of anything.”

“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.”

“That God lets himself be born and becomes a human being, is no idle whim, something that occurs to him so as to have something to do, perhaps to put a stop to the boredom that has brashly been said to be bound up with being God-it is not to have an adventure. No, the fact that God does this is the seriousness of existence. And the seriousness in this seriousness is, in turn, that each shall have an opinion about it.”

“In relationship to God one can not involve himself to a certain degree. God is precisely the contradiction to all that is ‘to a certain degree’.”

“What distinguishes all love from lust is the fact that it bears an impress of eternity.”

“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.”

“Come, sleep and death; you promise nothing, you hold everything.”

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

“the measure of a person’s disposition is this: how far is he from what he understands to what he does, how great is the distance between his understanding and his actions.”

“In the Christianity of Christendom the Cross has become something like the child’s hobby-horse and trumpet.”

“This is the way a person always gains courage; when he fears a greater danger, he always has the courage to face a lesser one; when he is exceedingly afraid of one danger, it is as if the others did not exist at all.”

“It is a question of discovering a truth which is truth for me, of finding the idea for which I am willing to live and die.”

“Seducing a girl is no art, but it needs a stroke of good fortune to find one worth seducing.”

“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.”

“Faith is namely this paradox that the single individual is higher than the universal”

“There is something frightful in the fact that the most dangerous thing of all, playing at Christianity, is never included in the list of heresies and schisms.”

“The specific character of despair is precisely this: it is unaware of being despair.”

“Whatever the one generation may learn from the other, that which is genuinely human no generation learns from the foregoing…Thus no generation has learned from another to love, no generation begins at any other point than at the beginning, no generation has a shorter task assigned to it than had the previous generation.”

“The task must be made difficult, for only the difficult inspires the noble-hearted.”

“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 in order to avoid this? Or are you not terrified by it? I have seen men in real life who so long deceived others that at last their true nature could not reveal itself;… In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all.”

“If you want to be loathsome to God, just run with the herd.”

“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.”

“The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but that the relation relates itself to its own self.”

“Therefore do not deceive yourself! Of all deceivers fear most yourself!”

“My melancholy is the most faithful sweetheart I have had.”

“And this is one of the most crucial definitions for the whole of Christianity; that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith.”

“Idleness, we are accustomed to say, is the root of all evil. To prevent this evil, work is recommended…. Idleness as such is by no means a root of evil; on the contrary, it is truly a divine life, if one is not bored….”

“To venture causes anxiety, but not to venture is to lose one’s self…. And to venture in the highest is precisely to be conscious of one’s self.”

“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.”

“Face the facts of being what you are, for that is what changes what you are.”

“To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.”

“If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin.”

“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.”

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

“A ‘no’ does not hide anything, but a ‘yes’ very easily becomes a deception.”

“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.”

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.”

“The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.”

“The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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”

“Once you label me you negate me.”

“A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it’s a joke.”

“Marry, and you will regret it; don’t marry, you will also regret it; marry or don’t marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world’s foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world’s foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don’t hang yourself, you’ll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy.”

“What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tears?”

“If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never. And what wine is so sparkling, what so fragrant, what so intoxicating, as possibility!”

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”

“People understand me so poorly that they don’t even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.”

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

“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.”

“It is perfectly true, as philosophers say, that life must be understood backwards. But they forget the other proposition, that it must be lived forwards.”

“The most common form of despair is not being who you are.”

“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss – an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. – is sure to be noticed.”

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