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None has in readiness such terrible tortures as has anxiety, and no spy knows how to attack more artfully the man he suspects, choosing the instant when he is weakest, nor knows how to lay traps where he will be caught and ensnared, as anxiety knows how, and no sharp-witted judge knows how to interrogate, to examine the accused as anxiety does, which never lets him escape, neither by diversion nor by noise, neither at work nor at play, neither by day nor at night.
Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety
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freelance-philosopher · 3 days ago
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There is a time when it is necessary to abandon the used clothes, which already have the shape of our body, and to forget our paths, which take us always to the same places. This is the time to cross the river: and if we don’t dare to do it, we will have stayed forever beneath ourselves.
Fernando Pessoa
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freelance-philosopher · 3 days ago
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It is easy to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the great man is he who, in the midst of the crowd, keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self Reliance
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freelance-philosopher · 5 days ago
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What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose, the crucial thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die. Of what use would it be to me to discover a so-called objective truth, to work through the philosophical systems so that I could, if asked, make critical judgments about them, could point out the fallacies in each system; of what use would it be to me to be able to develop a theory of the state, getting details from various sources and combining them into a whole, and constructing a world I did not live in but merely held up for others to see. Of what use would it be to me for truth to stand before me, cold and naked, not caring whether or not I acknowledged it, making me uneasy rather than trustingly receptive. I certainly do not deny that I still accept an imperative of knowledge and that through it men may be influenced, but then it must come alive in me, and this is what I now recognize as the most important of all. This is what my soul thirsts for…
Søren Kierkegaard, Journals and Papers, Volume 5
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freelance-philosopher · 7 days ago
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The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is the truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth. By simply not mentioning certain subjects, by lowering what Mr. Churchill calls an ‘iron curtain’ between the masses and such facts or arguments as the local political bosses regard as undesirable, totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have done by the most eloquent denunciations, the most compelling of logical rebuttals.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (1946)
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freelance-philosopher · 8 days ago
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I will write in such wise as to irritate people into facing the issues. I can compel no man to agree with my opinions, but at least I can compel him to have an opinion.
Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety
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freelance-philosopher · 9 days ago
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What makes people despair is that they try to find a universal meaning to the whole of life, and then end up saying it is absurd, illogical, empty of meaning. There is not one big cosmic meaning for all; there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person. To seek a total unity is wrong. To give as much meaning to one’s life as possible is right to me, for that is a contribution to the whole.
Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
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freelance-philosopher · 9 days ago
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Art consists in making others feel what we feel, in freeing them from themselves, by offering them our own personality as a liberation.
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
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freelance-philosopher · 10 days ago
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Most successes are unhappy. That’s why they are successes—they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice… The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.
Agatha Christie, Sparkling Cyanide
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freelance-philosopher · 11 days ago
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Love brings to light the noble and hidden qualities of a lover—his rare and exceptional traits: it is thus liable to be deceptive as to his normal character.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
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freelance-philosopher · 11 days ago
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Doubt is wily and cunning and never, as it is sometimes said to be, loud or defiant. It is unassuming and sly, not bold or assertive – and the more unassuming, the more dangerous.
Søren Kierkegaard
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freelance-philosopher · 12 days ago
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The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all of the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine. How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of discrete and never-repeated wonders? Not two hairs alike, not two odors, not two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore. What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art, natural and graceful animals. If you have closed your senses around silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must by now be completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.
Anaïs Nin, Delta of Venus
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