"I understand, all right. The hopeless dream of being—not seeming, but being. At every waking moment, alert. The gulf between what you are with others and what you are alone. The vertigo and the constant hunger to be exposed, to be seen through, perhaps even wiped out. Every inflection and every gesture a lie, every smile a grimace. Suicide? No, too vulgar. But you can refuse to move, refuse to talk, so that you don’t have to lie. You can shut yourself in. Then you needn’t play any parts or make wrong gestures. Or so you thought. But reality is diabolical. Your hiding place isn’t watertight. Life trickles in from the outside, and you’re forced to react. No one asks if it is true or false, if you’re genuine or just a sham. Such things matter only in the theatre, and hardly there either. I understand why you don’t speak, why you don’t move, why you’ve created a part for yourself out of apathy. I understand. I admire. You should go on with this part until it is played out, until it loses interest for you. Then you can leave it, just as you’ve left your other parts one by one."
"I regret that it takes a life to learn how to live."
"We are not born cowardly or lazy; we choose
to be these things. We are responsible for what we are. We are alone, without excuses. This is what I mean when I say that man is condemned to be free. If many people dislike this philosophy [existentialism] it is because they prefer to make excuses for themselves, to tell themselves that circumstances were against them. "I have not had a great love, or a great friendship, but it’s because I did not meet the right man or woman,"
they say. "If I have not written very good books, it’s because I haven’t the leisure time to do it,"
they say. The way I see it, all these people are simply lying to themselves about their freedom."
"I was a man who thrived on solitude; without it I was like another man without food or water. Each day without solitude weakened me. I took no pride in my solitude; but I was dependent on it. The darkness of the room was like sunlight to me."
"Actual happiness always looks pretty squalid in comparison with the overcompensations for misery. And, of course, stability isn’t nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of a struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand."
"When you don’t know what you’re living for, you don’t care how you live from one day to the next. You’re happy the day has passed and the night has come, and in your sleep you bury the tedious question of what you lived for that day and what you’re going to live for tomorrow."
"We must never forget that human motives are generally far more complicated than we are apt to suppose, and that we can very rarely accurately describe the motives of another."
"But my sadness is comforting
Because it’s right and natural
And because it’s what the soul should feel
When it already thinks it exists
And the hand pick flowers
And the soul takes no notice."
"I believe that there is a longing in my soul that searches the whole world."