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Walter Benjamin Quotes

May you find comfort and joy in these encouraging quotes by Walter Benjamin.

Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who
leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.
- Walter Benjamin

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.
- Walter Benjamin

Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell.
He has borrowed his authority from death.
- Walter Benjamin

He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like
someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest.
- Walter Benjamin

 

Every passion borders on the chaotic,
but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.
- Walter Benjamin

Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre.
It is the medium of past experience,
as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.
- Walter Benjamin

All disgust is originally disgust at touching.
- Walter Benjamin

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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.
- Walter Benjamin

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience.
A rustling in the leaves drives him away.
- Walter Benjamin

Opinions are a private matter.
The public has an interest only in judgments.
- Walter Benjamin

The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty
would be too much of a good thing.
- Walter Benjamin

The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the
masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope,
as much for thinking as for perception.
- Walter Benjamin

The destructive character lives from the feeling,
not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.
- Walter Benjamin

The construction of life is at present in the power
of facts far more than convictions.
- Walter Benjamin

The art of the critic in a nutshell:
to coin slogans without betraying ideas.
The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.
- Walter Benjamin

The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth,
wisdom, is dying out.
- Walter Benjamin

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.
- Walter Benjamin

The true picture of the past flits by.
The past can be seized only as an image which flashes
up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.
- Walter Benjamin

Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction
only in the ecstasy of procreation.
- Walter Benjamin

Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
- Walter Benjamin

Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed,
an architectonic one when it is built,
and a textile one when it is woven.
- Walter Benjamin

The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
- Walter Benjamin

To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.
- Walter Benjamin

The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does
psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.
- Walter Benjamin

It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us.
- Walter Benjamin

Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.
- Walter Benjamin

Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines:
one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it;
one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.
- Walter Benjamin

The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form,
the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public.
The conventional is uncritically enjoyed,
and the truly new is criticized with aversion.
- Walter Benjamin

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself
is regarded as the most praiseworthy method.
Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor,
but because they are dissatisfied with the books which
they could buy but do not like.
- Walter Benjamin

It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated
by the press to make the public incapable of judging,
to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible,
uninformed.
- Walter Benjamin

Quotations are dead unless a spur for inquiry.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages
are perpetuated by quotations.
- Benjamin Disraeli

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Quotations help us remember the simple yet profound truths
that give life perspective and meaning.
- Criswell Freeman

Quotations are slippery things, really.
A brief sentence or phrase, often repeated -
always completely out of its original context -
and sometimes not an accurate representation
of the author's original words, let alone his intentions.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Now we sit through Shakespeare in order to recognize the quotations.
- Orson Welles

The taste for quotations (and for the juxtaposition
of incongruous quotations) is a Surrealist taste.
- Susan Sontag

Misquotations are the only quotations that are never misquoted.
- Hesketh Pearson

The point of quotations is that one can use another's words to be insulting.
- Carolyn Gold Heilbrun

I need no dictionary of quotations to remind me that
the eyes are the windows of the soul.
- Max Beerbohm

A book that furnishes no quotations is no book -
it is a plaything.
- Thomas Love Peacock

The wisdom of the wise and the experience of the ages
is preserved into perpetuity by a nation's proverbs,
fables, folk sayings and quotations.
- William Feather

The trouble with Germans is not that they fire shells,
but that they engrave them with quotations from Kant.
- Karl Kraus

Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or obscurantist beliefs.
- Guy Debord

In the dime stores and bus stations,
people talk of situations,
read books, repeat quotations, draw conclusions on the wall.
- Bob Dylan

He wrapped himself in quotations - as a beggar would
enfold himself in the purple of Emperors.
- Rudyard Kipling

I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have,
beautifully expressed with much authority by someone
recognized wiser than oneself.
- Marlene Dietrich

One has to secrete a jelly in which to slip quotations down people's throats -
and one always secretes too much jelly.
- Virginia Woolf

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
- Winston Churchill

I'd lived by quotations, practically all my life.
- Loretta Young

It is always the same: women bedeck themselves with jewels and furs,
and men with wit and quotations.
- Maurice Chevalier

I pick my favourite quotations and store them in my mind as ready armour,
offensive or defensive, amid the struggle of this turbulent existence.
- Robert Burns

In spite of his practical ability, some of his experience
had petrified into maxims and quotations.
- George Eliot

Those quotations were really quite obscure.
Anyone can see that he is a very well read man.
- Barbara Pym

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations...
The quotations, when engraved upon the memory, give you good thoughts.
They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.
- Winston Churchill

Let me just say something that I forgot,
I also hoped and this was very true in the beginning -
that this would also be a place that people would be
able to walk in to the fountain and use it in a nice
way of reading and examining the quotations on the blocks.
- Lawrence Halprin

He who can no longer pause to wonder
and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead;
his eyes are closed.
- Albert Einstein

Whatever your life's work is, do it well.
A man should do his job so well that the living,
the dead, and the unborn could do it no better.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yesterday is dead. Tomorrow is a dream.
Today - each today - is where the action is
where all of life occurs.
Today IS your life - your only life.
Life today to the fullest.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
- Benjamin Franklin

An old friend will help you move.
A good friend will help you move a dead body.
- Jim Hayes

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet
as if they were going to be dead by midnight.
Extend to them all the care,
kindness and understanding you can muster,
and do with no thought of any reward.
Your life will never be the same again.
- Og Mandino

I'm half alive but I feel mostly dead.
- Jewel

I do not fear death.
I had been dead for billions and billions
of years before I was born,
and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.
- Mark Twain

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
- Albert Einstein

Do not save your loving speeches
For your friends till they are dead;
Do not write them on their tombstones,
Speak them rather now instead.
- Anna Cummins

It is easy enough to be pleasant
When life flows by like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong.
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Never in any case say I have lost such a thing, but I have returned it.
Is your child dead? It is a return. Is your wife dead? It is a return.
Are you deprived of your estate? Is not this also a return?
- Epictetus

Every creature is better alive than dead,
men and moose and pine trees,
and he who understands it aright
will rather preserve its life than destroy it.
- Henry David Thoreau

Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers.
- Mignon McLaughlin

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life
are already three parts dead.
- Bertrand Russell


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May the world be kind to you,
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- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

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