Notebooks 1935-1942 (Notebooks 1, 2, 3 #1)

A love that does not bear collision with reality is not a real love. But then the inability to love is a privilege of the noble hearts.

A practical rule: a man which is wise in one area may be silly in others.

A pure love is a dead love.

A true masterpiece does not tell everything.

Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.

Essay on tragedy.
(1) The silence of Prometheus.
(2) The Elizabethans.
(3) Moliere.
(4) The spirit of revolt.

Every time a man (myself) gives way to vanity, every time he thinks and lives in order to show off, this is a betrayal. Every time, it has always been the great misfortune of wanting to show off which has lessened me in the presence of the truth. We do not need to reveal ourselves to others, but only to those we love. For then we are no longer revealing ourselves in order to seem but in order to give. There is much more strength in a man who reveals himself only when it is necessary. I have suffered from being alone, but because I have been able to keep my secret I have overcome the suffering of loneliness. To go right to the end implies knowing how to keep one’s secret. And, today, there is no greater joy than to live alone and unknown.

February 13, 1936
I ask of people more than they can give me. It is useless to maintain the contrary. But what a mistake and what despair. And myself perhaps...

Seek contacts. All contacts. If I want to write about men, should I stop talking about the countryside? If the sky or light attract me, shall I forget the eyes or voices of those I love? Each time I am given the elements of a friendship, the fragments of an emotion, never the emotion or the friendship itself.

Give up the tyranny of female charm.

Happiness is often only a pity for one's own misfortune.

How unbearable, for women, is the tenderness which a man can give them without love. For men, how bittersweet this is.

If I had to write a book on morality, it would have a hundred pages and ninety-nine would be blank. On the last page I should write: "I recognize only one duty, and that is to love.

I make myself strict rules in order to correct my nature. But it is my nature that i finally obey.

It is almost impossible to watch a clockwise direction - it gets extremely boring and causes despair.

Only the one who does not know what is life may believe that it is beautiful and easy.

Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.

Rule: Start by looking for what is valid in every man.

Some are created to love, while the others - to live.

Storm sky in August. Gusts of hot wind. Black clouds. Yet in the East is a delicate, transparent band of blue sky. Impossible to look at it. Its presence is a torture for the eyes and for the soul, because beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.

The beginning of war is similar to the beginning of peace — the world and the heart know nothing about it.

The feeling that we are all neglected and lonely but not so lonely that "others" do not see us in trouble, saves us from the worst suffering.

The misery and greatness of this world: it offers no truths, but only objects for love. Absurdity is king, but love saves us from it.

There are very few large and many poor feelings in everyone's life.

There is a life and there is a death, and there are beauty and melancholy between.

To be born to create, to love, to win at games is to be born to live in time of peace. But war teaches us to lose everything and become what we were not. It all becomes a question of style.

We lead a difficult life, not always managing to fit our actions to the vision we have of the world. (And when I think I have caught a glimpse of the color of my fate, it flees from my gaze.) We struggle and suffer to reconquer our solitude. But a day comes when the earth has its simple and primitive smile. Then, it is as if the struggles and life within us were rubbed out. Millions of eyes have looked at this landscape, and for me it is like the first smile of the world. It takes me out of myself, in the deepest meaning of the expression. It assures me that nothing matters except my love, and that even this love has no value for me unless it remains innocent and free. It denies me a personality, and deprives my suffering of its echo. The world is beautiful, and this is everything. The great truth which it patiently teaches me is that neither the mind nor even the heart has any importance. And that the stone warmed by the stone or the cypress tree swelling against the empty sky set a boundary to the only world in which "to be right" has any meaning: nature without men. This world reduces me to nothing. It carries me to the very end. Without anger, it denies that I exist. And, agreeing to my defeat, I move toward a wisdom where everything has already been conquered -- except that tears come into my eyes, and this great sob of poetry which swells my heart makes me forget the truth of the world.

When a conscious being appeared, the world went blank.

When I was young, I expected from people more than they could give: neverending friendship and constant excitement.

Now I expect less than they can actually can give: to stay close silently. And their feelings, friendship, noble deeds always seem like a miracle to me: a true grace.

When the time to die comes, it does not matter how and when it happens.

You do not have to unburden your soul for everyone; it will be enough if you do that for those you love.