You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.
In this world goodness is destined to be defeated. But a man must go down fighting. That is the victory. To do anything less is to be less than a man.
We love those who know the worst of us and don’t turn their face away.
How did it happen that now he could see everything so clearly. Something had given him leave to live in the present. Not once in his entire life had he come to rest in the quiet center of himself but had forever cast himself from some dark past he could not remember to a future that did not exist. Not once had he been present for his life. So his life had passed like a dream. Is it possible for people to miss their lives the way one can miss a plane?
To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something.
In a word, the consumer of mass culture is lonely, not only lonely, but spiritually impoverished.
The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
Fiction doesn’t tell us something we don’t know, it tells us something we know but don’t know that we know.
Have you noticed that only in time of illness or disaster or death are people real?
I had discovered that a person does not have to be this or be that or be anything, not even oneself. One is free.
My mother refused to let me fail. So I insisted.
The present age is demented. It is possessed by a sense of dislocation, a loss of personal identity, an alternating sentimentality and rage which, in an individual patient, could be characterized as dementia.
Ignorance, if recognized, is often more fruitful than the appearance of knowledge.
I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That’s despair?
Before, I wandered as a diversion. Now I wander seriously and sit and read as a diversion.
Americans are the nicest, most generous, and sentimental people on earth. Yet Americans have killed more unborn children than any nation in history.
You can get all A’s and still flunk life.
For some time now the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead. It happens when I speak to people. In the middle of a sentence it will come over me: yes, beyond a doubt this is death. There is little to do but groan and make an excuse and slip away as quickly as one can.
The so-called sexual revolution is not, as advertised, a liberation of sexual behavior but rather its reversal. In former days, even under Victoria, sexual intercourse was the natural end and culmination of heterosexual relations. Now one begins with genital overtures instead of a handshake, then waits to see what will turn up (e.g., might become friends later). Like dogs greeting each other nose to tail and tail to nose.
Lucky is the man who does not secretly believe that every possibility is open to him.
The difference between a non-suicide and an ex-suicide leaving the house for work, at eight o’clock on an ordinary morning: The non-suicide is a little traveling suck of care, sucking care with him from the past and being sucked toward care in the future. His breath is high in his chest. The ex-suicide opens his front door, sits down on the steps, and laughs. Since he has the option of being dead, he has nothing to lose by being alive. It is good to be alive. He goes to work because he doesn’t have to.
I have discovered that most people have no one to talk to, no one, that is, who really wants to listen. When it does at last dawn on a man that you really want to hear about his business, the look that comes over his face is something to see.
Home may be where the heart is but it’s no place to spend Wednesday afternoon.
The mystery lies in the here and now. The mystery is: What is one to do with oneself? As you get older you begin to realize the trick time is playing, and that unless you do something about it, the passage of time is nothing but the encroachment of the horrible banality of the past on the pure future. The past devours the future like a tape recorder, converting pure possibility into banality. The present is the tape head, the mouth of time. Then where is the mystery and why bother kicking through the ashes? Because there is a clue in the past.
If I had the choice of knowing the truth or searching for the truth, I’d take the search.