Category: wisdom

“I have never seen a class so deeply demoralised, so incurably debased by selfishness, so corroded within, so incapable of progress, as the English bourgeoisie. For it nothing exists in this world, except for the sake of money, itself not excluded. It knows no bliss save that of rapid gain, no pain save that of losing gold. In the presence of this avarice and lust of gain, it is not possible for a single human sentiment or opinion to remain untainted.”

Friedrich Engels, The Condition of the Working Class in England

“Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. High on a throne, with all the splendor and pomp his gold can command, man is yet poor and desolate, if love passes him by. And if it stays, the poorest hovel is radiant with warmth, with life and color. Thus love has the magic power to make of a beggar a king.”

Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

“What of immortality, that last refuge of those who have known too few pleasures and too many sufferings, and who dream of finding some compensation in another world? It is easy to understand how people who have grown up in prejudice and with but little confidence in science, which has so often deceived them, people who are led by feeling rather than thought, reject an explanation which takes from them their last hope.”

Peter Kropotkin, Anarchist Morality

I wanted “peace”, to be left alone in my…world. Real life oppressed me with its novelty so much that I could hardly breathe.

“Virtues are dispositions not only to act in particular ways, but also to feel in particular ways. To act virtuously is not, as Kant was later to think, to act against inclination; it is to act from inclination formed by the cultivation of the virtues.”

Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue

“This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And I’d rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.”

Franz Kafka, Diaries of Franz Kafka

“I may not have been sure about what really did interest me, but I was absolutely sure about what didn’t.”

Albert Camus, The Stranger

“Every philosophical, ethical, and political idea — its lifeline connecting it with its historical origins having been severed — has a tendency to become the nucleus of a new mythology, and this is one of the reasons why the advance of enlightenment tends at certain points to revert to superstition and paranoia. The majority principle… has become the sovereign force to which thought must cater. It is a new god, not in the sense in which the heralds of the great revolutions conceived it, namely, as a power of resistance to existing injustice, but as a power of resistance to anything that does not conform.”

Max Horkheimer, Eclipse of Reason

Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.

Existentialism is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position… Existentialism is not atheist in the sense that it would exhaust itself in demonstrations of the non-existence of God. It declares, rather, that even if God existed that would make no difference from its point of view.