The fear of death never left me; I couldn't get used to the thought; I would still sometimes shake and weep with terror. By contrast, the fact of existence here and now sometimes took on a glorious splendour.
In particular those who are condemned to stagnation are often pronounced happy on the pretext that happiness consists in being at rest. This notion we reject, for our perspective is that of existentialist ethics. Every subject plays his part as such specifically through exploits or projects that serve as a mode of transcendence; he achieves liberty only through a continual reaching out towards other liberties. There is no justification for present existence other than its expansion into an indefinitely open future. Every time transcendence falls back into immanence, stagnation, there is a degradation of existence into the ‘en-sois’ – the brutish life of subjection to given conditions – and of liberty into constraint and contingence. This downfall represents a moral fault if the subject consents to it; if it is inflicted upon him, it spells frustration and oppression. In both cases it is an absolute evil. Every individual concerned to justify his existence feels that his existence involves an undefined need to transcend himself, to engage in freely chosen projects.
What an odd thing a diary is: the things you omit are more important than those you put in.
In oppressing, one becomes oppressed. Men are enchained by reason of their very sovereignty; it is because they alone earn money that their wives demand checks, it is because they alone engage in a business or profession that their wives require them to be successful, it is because they alone embody transcendence that their wives wish to rob them of it by taking charge...
Capabilities are clearly manifested only when they have been realized.
Today, however, we are having a hard time living because we are so bent on outwitting death.
The misfortune is that although everyone must come to [death], each experiences the adventure in solitude. We never left Maman during those last days... and yet we were profoundly separated from her.
I told myself that as long as there were books I could be sure of being happy.
Alone: for the first time I understood the terrible significance of that word. Alone without a witness, without anyone to speak to, without refuge. The breath in my body, the blood in my veins, all this hurly-burly in my head existed for nobody.
In a way, literature is true than life,' he said to himself. 'On paper, you say exactly and completely what you feel. How easy it is to break things off on paper! You hate, you shout, you kill, you commit suicide; you carry things to the very end. And that's why it's false. But it's damned satisfying. In life, you're constantly denying yourself, and others are always contradicting you. On paper, I make time stand still and I impose my convictions on the whole world; they become the only reality.
A day in which I don't write leaves a taste of ashes.
He reflected. 'I know a lot of different kids of people; what I want is to show each of them how the others really are. You hear so many lies!
When I was a child, when I was an adolescent, books saved me from despair: that convinced me that culture was the highest of values[...].
On ne naît pas femme: on le devient.
Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth.
It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills.
This has always been a man's world, and none of the reasons that have been offered in explanation have seemed adequate.
No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.
One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.
Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female - whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.