Drawn and Quartered

A discourse approaches universality when it frees itself from its origins, leaves them behind, disavows them: having reached this point, if it would reinvigorate itself, avoid unreality or sclerosis, it must renounce its own exigencies, break its forms and its models, it must condescend to bad taste.

Boredom in the midst of paradise generated our first ancestor’s appetite for the abyss which has won us this procession of centuries whose end we now have in view. That appetite, a veritable nostalgia for hell, would not fail to ravage the race following us and to make it the worthy heir of our misfortunes.

But man is a strayed animal, and when he falls victim to doubt, if he should happen to take no further pleasure in attacking others, he turns on himself in order to inflict merciless tortures.

Death is the solidest thing life has invented so far

Every act of courage is the work of an unbalanced man. Animals, normal by definition, are always cowardly except when they know themselves know themselves to be stronger, which is cowardice itself.

If there was a common, even official form of killing oneself, suicide would be much easier and much more frequent. But since to be done with it all we must find our own way, we waste so much time meditating on trifles that we forget what is essential.

If the waves began to reflect, they would suppose that they were advancing, that they had a goal, that they were making progress, that they were working for the Sea's good, and they would not fail to elaborate a philosophy as stupid as their zeal.

I have always struggled, with the sole intention of ceasing to struggle. Result: zero.

Impartiality is incompatible with the will to affirm oneself or quite simply with the will to exist. To acknowledge another’s merits is an alarming symptom, an act against nature.

In flawed families, a scion appears who dedicates himself to the truth and who ruins himself in its pursuit.

Shyness, inexhaustible source of misfortunes in practical life, is the direct cause, indeed unique, each inner wealth.

The idea of the Eternal Return can be fully grasped only by a man endowed with several chronic, hence recurrent infirmities, and who thus has the advantage of proceeding from relapse to relapse, with all that this implies as philosophic reflexion.

The more power man acquires, the more vulnerable he becomes. What he must fear most is the moment when, creation entirely fleeced, he will celebrate his triumph, that fatal apotheosis, the victory he will not survive.

The state of health is a state of nonsensation, even nonreality. As soon as we cease to suffer, we cease to exist.

To grant life more importance than it has is the mistake committed in sagging systems; as a consequence, no one is ready to sacrifice himself to defend them, and they collapse under the first blows perpetrated upon them. This is even more true of nations in general. Once they begin to hold life sacred, it abandons them, it ceases to be on their side.

While they were preparing the hemlock, Socrates was learning how to play a new tune on the flute. “What will be the use of that?” he was asked. “To know this tune before dying.

While they were preparing the hemlock, Socrates was learning how to play a new tune on the flute. “What will be the use of that?” he was asked. “To know this tune before dying.” If I dare repeat this reply long since trivialized by the handbooks, it is because it seems to me the sole serious justification of any desire to know, whether exercised on the brink of death or at any other moment of existence.