Nicomachean Ethics

...still, it presumably seems better, indeed only right, to destroy even what is close to us if that is the way to preserve truth. We must especially do this as philosophers, [lovers of wisdom]; for though we love both the truth and our friends, reverence is due to the truth first. p.5

But friendship seems to consist more in loving than in being loved. 128


On the Aesthetic Education of Man

The beautiful is to be neither more life, nor mere form, but living form, i.e., Beauty; for it imposes upon man the double law of absolute formality and absolute reality--consequently reason also makes the pronouncement: With beauty man shall only play, and it is with beauty only that he shall play. p.107

More than this: if man is ever to solve that problem of politics in practice he will have to approach it through the problem of the aesthetic, because it is only through Beauty that man makes his way to Freedom. p.9 ibid

The course of events has given the spirit of the age a direction which threatens to remove it ever further from the art of the Ideal. This kind of art must abandon actuality, and soar with becoming boldness above our wants and needs; for Art is a daughter of Freedom, and takes her orders from the necessity inherent in minds, not from the exigencies of matter. p. 7 ibid


Love is the state in which man sees things most widely different from what they are. The force of illusion reaches its zenith here, as likewise the sweetening and transfiguring power. When a man is in love he endures more than at other times; he submits to everything.

He who has a why to live for can deal with almost any how.

That which does not kill me makes me stronger.

If we train our conscience, it kisses us while it hurts us.

To be ashamed of one's immorality--that is a step on the staircase at whose end one is also ashamed of one's morality.

One should part from life as Odysseus parted from Nausicaa--blessing it rather than in love with it.

Death--The certain prospect of death could sweeten every life with a precious and fragrant drop of levity--and now you strange apothecary souls have turned it into an ill-tasting drop of poison that makes the whole of life repulsive.

Remorse--Never give way to remorse but immediately say to yourself: that would merely mean adding a second stupidity to the first--If you have done harm, see how you can do good. If you are punished for your actions, bear the punishment with the feeling that you aredoing good---by deterring others from falling prey to the same folly. Every evildoer who is punished may feel that he is a benefactor of humanity.

Dying for the "truth"--We should not let ourselves be burnt for our opinions: We are not that sure of them. But perhaps for this: that we may have and change our opinions.

As long as one lives through an experience, one must surrender to the experience and shut one's eyes instead of becoming an observer immediately. For that would disturb the good digestion of the experience: instead of wisdom one would acquire indigestion.

On the rare occasions when our dreams succeed and achieve perfection--most dreams are bungled--they are symbolic chains of scenes and images in place of a narrative poetic language; they circumscribe our experiences or expectations or situations with such poetic boldness and decisiveness that in the morning we are always amazed ourselves when we remember our dreams. We use up too much artistry in our dreams--and therefore often impoverished during the day.

Tourists--They climb mountains like animals, stupid and sweating; one has forgotten to tell them that there are beautiful views on the way up.

Not every end is the goal. The end of a melody is not its goal, and yet: as long as the melody has not reached its end, it also hasn't reached its goal. A parable.

To become wise, one must wish to have certain experiences and run, as it were, into their gaping jaws. This, of course, is very dangerous; many a wise guy has been swallowed.

The Christian resolve to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

Whoever knows he is deep strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.

We have no dreams at all or interesting ones. We should learn to be awake the same way--not at all or in an interesting manner.

In the great majority, the intellect is a clumsy, gloomy, creaking machine that is difficult to start. They call it "taking the matter seriously," when they work with this machine and want to think well: how onerous they must find thinking well! The lovely beast, man, seems to lose its spirits every time it thinks well: it becomes "serious." And where laughter and gaiety are found, the quality of thought is poor--that is the prejudice of this serious beast against all "gay science."--Well, then, let us prove that it is a prejudice.

The devil has the broadest perspectives for God; therefore he keeps so far away from God--the devil being the most ancient friend of wisdom.

Dans le veritable amour c'est l'ame qui enveloppe le corps.

What a time experiences as evil is usually an untimely echo of what was formerly experienced as good--the atavism of a more ancient ideal.

Whatever is done from love always occurs beyond good and evil.

Madness is rare in individuals--but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.

In parting.--Not how one soul comes close to another but how it moves away shows me their kinship and how much they belong together.

Not that one is the first to see something new, but that one as new what is old, long familiar, seen and overlooked by everybody, is what distinguishes truly original minds. The first discoverer is ordinarily that wholly common creature, devoid of spirit and addicted to fantasy--accident.

When one is misunderstood as a whole it is impossible to remove completely a single misunderstanding. One has to realize this lest one waste superfluous energy on one's defense.

The aim of philosophy is to die.

Without music, life would be a mistake.

We have art in order not to die of truth.

Only a man with chaos in his soul can give birth to a dancing star.

Whoever has built a new heaven has found the strength for it only in its own hell.

Soren Kierkegaard

Philosophical Fragments

...Much is heard in the world about unhappy love, and we all know what this means: the lovers are presented from realizing their union, the causes being many and various. There exists another kind of unhappy love...the unhappiness of this love does not come from the inability of the lovers to realize their union, but from their inability to understand one another. This grief is infinitely more profound than that of which men commonly speak, since it strike at the very heart of love and wounds for an eternity. 164

Who grasps this contradiction of sorrow: not to reveal oneself is the death of love, to reveal oneself is the death of the beloved! The minds of men so often yearn for might and power, and their thoughts are constantly being drawn to such things, as if by their attainment all mysteries would be resolved. Hence they do not even dream that there is sorrow in heaven as well as joy, the deep grief of having to deny him precisely because he is the beloved. 168

For this is the unfathomable nature of love, that it desires equality with the beloved, not in jest merely, but in earnest and truth. 168

Khalil Gibran

The Prophet

Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and through they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite and he bends you to his might that his arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable.

Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.