My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.
The fact that our task is exactly commensurate with our life gives it the appearance of being infinite.
Life’s splendor forever lies in wait about each one of us in all its fullness, but veiled from view, deep down, invisible, far off. It is there, though, not hostile, not reluctant, not deaf. If you summon it by the right word, by its right name, it will come.
In one and the same human being there are cognitions that, however utterly dissimilar they are, yet have one and the same object, so that one can only conclude that there are different subjects in one and the same human being.
Adam’s first domestic pet after the expulsion from Paradise was the serpent.
The crows maintain that a single crow could destroy the heavens. There is no doubt of that, but it proves nothing against the heavens, for heaven simply means: the impossibility of crows.
Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it.
Atlas was permitted the opinion that he was at liberty, if he wished, to drop the Earth and creep away; but this opinion was all that he was permitted.
If all responsibility is imposed on you, then you may want to exploit the moment and want to be overwhelmed by the responsibility; yet if you try, you will notice that nothing was imposed on you, but that you are yourself this responsibility.
Looking on oneself as something alien, forgetting the sight, remembering the gaze.
He runs after the facts like someone learning to skate, who furthermore practices where it is dangerous and has been forbidden.
You can withdraw from the sufferings of the world—that possibility is open to you and accords with your nature—but perhaps that withdrawal is the only suffering you might be able to avoid.
‘And then he went back to his job, as though nothing had happened.’ A sentence that strikes one as familiar from any number of stories—though it might not have appeared in any of them.
Once we have taken Evil into ourselves, it no longer insists that we believe in it.
We are as forlorn as children lost in the woods. When you stand in front of me and look at me, what do you know of the griefs that are in me and what do I know of yours. And if I were to cast myself down before you and weep and tell you, what more would you know about me than you know about Hell when someone tells you it is hot and dreadful? For that reason alone we human beings ought to stand before one another as reverently, as reflectively, as lovingly, as we would before the entrance to Hell.
I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.
Now the Sirens have a still more fatal weapon than their song, namely their silence… Someone might possibly have escaped from their singing; but from their silence, certainly never.
In this love you are like a knife, with which I explore myself.
Now at last I can look at you in peace, I don’t eat you anymore.
Religions get lost as people do.
There can be knowledge of the diabolical, but no belief in it, for more of the diabolical than there is does not exist.
The first worship of idols was certainly fear of the things in the world, but, connected with this, fear of the necessity of the things, and, connected with this, fear of responsibility for the things. So tremendous did this responsibility appear that people did not even dare to impose it upon one single extra-human entity, for even the mediation of one being would not have sufficiently lightened human responsibility, intercourse with only one being would still have been all too deeply tainted with responsibility, and that is why each things was given the responsibility for itself, more indeed, these things were also given a degree of responsibility for man.
A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light.
We are sinful not only because we have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge, but also because we have not yet eaten of the Tree of Life. The state in which we are is sinful, irrespective of guilt.
The whole visible world is perhaps nothing more than than the rationalization of a man who wants to find peace for a moment. An attempt to falsify the actuality of knowledge, to regard knowledge as a goal still to be reached.
Association with human beings lures one into self-observation.
If what was supposed to have been destroyed in Paradise was destructible, then it was not decisive; but if it was indestructible, then we are living in a false belief.
The indestructible is one: it is each individual human being and, at the same time, it is common to all, hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings.
The expulsion from Paradise is in its main significance eternal: Consequently the expulsion from Paradise is final, and life in this world irrevocable, but the eternal nature of the occurrence (or, temporally expressed, the eternal recapitulation of the occurrence) makes it nevertheless possible that not only could we live continuously in Paradise, but that we are continuously there in actual fact, no matter whether we know it here or not.
In the struggle between yourself and the world, back the world.
The mediation by the serpent was necessary: Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.
Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible in himself, though both the indestructible element and the trust may remain permanently hidden from him. One of the ways in which this hiddenness can express itself is through faith in a personal god.
Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made. That is not the sort of belief that indicates real faith.
It is only our conception of time that makes us call the Last Judgment by this name. It is, in fact, a kind of martial law.
Self-control is something for which I do not strive. Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.
The animal wrests the whip from its master and whips itself in order to become master, not knowing that this is only a fantasy produced by a new knot in the master’s whiplash.
Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.
If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without climbing it, it would have been permitted.
One of the first signs of the beginnings of understanding is the wish to die. This life appears unbearable, another unattainable. One is no longer ashamed of wanting to die; one asks to be moved from the old cell, which one hates, to a new one, which one will only in time come to hate.
The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual. That is why the revolutionary spiritual movements that declare all former things worthless are in the right, for nothing has yet happened.
There are two main human sins from which all the others derive: impatience and indolence. It was because of impatience that they were expelled from Paradise; it is because of indolence that they do not return. Yet perhaps there is only one major sin: impatience. Because of impatience they were expelled, because of impatience they do not return.
All human errors are impatience, the premature breaking off of what is methodical, an apparent fencing in of the apparent thing.
You drink wine that you may be intoxicated; and I drink that it may sob
Make me, oh God, the prey of the lion, ere You make the rabbit my prey. – Gibran
I have no enemies, O God, but if I am to have an enemy. Let his strength be equal to mine, so truth alone may be the victorious. – Gibran
The truly just is he who feels half guilty for your misdeeds. – Gibran
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. – Gibran
Lovers embrace that which is between them rather than each other. – Gibran
Love that does not renew itself everyday becomes a habit and in turn a slavery. – Gibran
A truth is to be known always, to be uttered sometimes. The real in us is silent: the acquired is talkative. – Gibran
The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he can not reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he doesn’t say. – Gibran
The significance of man is not in what he attains, but rather in what he longs to attain. – Gibran
Forgetfulness is a form of freedom. – Gibran
Ideologies, however appealing, cannot shape the whole structure of perceptions and conduct unless they are embedded in daily experiences that confirm them.
Most women are pragmatists who have allowed extremists on the left and right to manipulate the family issue for their own purposes.
The left ask people to believe that there is no conflict between feminism and the family.
Because it equates tradition with prejudice, the left finds itself increasingly unable to converse with ordinary people in their common language.
Progressive rhetoric has the effect of concealing social crisis and moral breakdown by presenting them as the birth pangs of a new order.
The left has lost touch with popular opinion, thereby making it possible for the right to present itself as the party of common sense.
The left sees nothing but bigotry and superstition in the popular defense of the family or in popular attitudes regarding abortion, crime, busing, and the school curriculum.
A growing awareness of the depth of popular attachment to the family has led some liberals to concede that family is not just a buzzword for reaction.
The attempt to redefine the family as a purely voluntary arrangement grows out of the modern delusion that people can keep all their options open all the time.
Most of these alternative arrangements, so-called, arise out of the ruins of marriages, not as an improvement of old fashioned marriage.
The left dismisses talk about the collapse of family life and talks instead about the emergence of the growing new diversity of family types.
Instead of taking environmentalism away from the left, conservatives condemn it as a counsel of doom.
Conservatives unwittingly side with the social forces that contribute to the destruction of traditional values.
Conservatives sense a link between television and drugs, but they do not grasp the nature of this connection.
Conservatives have no understanding of modern capitalism. They have a distorted understanding of the traditional values they claim to defend.
A society that has made nostalgia a marketable commodity on the cultural exchange quickly repudiates the suggestion that life in the past was in any important way better than life today.
The intellectual debility of contemporary conservatism is indicated by its silence on all important matters.
It is the logic of consumerism that undermines the values of loyalty and permanence and promotes a different set of values that is destructive of family life.
Ostensibly rigorous and realistic, contemporary conservatism is an ideology of denial. Its symbol is a smile button.
Adherents of the new religious right reject the separation of politics and religion, but they bring no spiritual insights to politics.
Disappointment proves that expectations were mistaken. – Mason Cooley