Absurd

What an absurd thing it is to pass over all the valuable parts of man, and fix our attention on his affirmaties.

Avarice in old age is foolish; for what can be more absurd than to increase our provisions for the road, the nearer we approach to our journey’s end?

In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.

There is not a single idea, however absurd and repulsive, that has not a sensible aspect and there is not a single view, however plausible and humanitarian, that does not encourage and then conceal our stupidity and our criminal tendencies.

As the order of the parts of time is immutable, so also is the order of the parts of space... All things are placed in time as to order of succession; and in space as to order of situation. It is from their essence or nature that they are places; and that the primary places of things should be movable, is absurd. These are therefore the absolute places; and translations out of those places, are the only absolute motions.

When you cannot prove that people are wrong, but only that they are absurd, the best course is to let them alone.

To believe in God is impossible - not to believe in Him is absurd.

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls.

It has become too easy to see that the luckless men of the past lived by mistakes, even absurd beliefs, so we may well fail in a decent respect for them, and forget that historians of the future will point out that we too lived by myths.

You know what fear is? Each one has his own particular form of fear - not one, but multiple fears. A mind that has any form of fear cannot obviously have the quality of love, sympathy, tenderness. Fear is the destructive energy in man. It withers the mind, it distorts thought, it leads to all kinds of extraordinarily clever and subtle theories, absurd superstitions, dogmas, and beliefs. If you see that fear is destructive, then how do you proceed to wipe the mind clean?

Love is not to be cultivated. Love cannot be divided into divine and physical; it is only love—not that you love many or the one. That again is an absurd question to ask: "Do you love all?" You know, a flower that has perfume is not concerned who comes to smell it, or who turns his back upon it. So is love. Love is not a memory. Love is not a thing of the mind or the intellect. But it comes into being naturally as compassion, when this whole problem of existence—as fear, greed, envy, despair, hope—has been understood and resolved.

The word ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ are contradictory, they cancel each other out. Whether as between one man and another, or between one man and a whole people, it would always be absurd to say: "I hereby make a covenant with you which is wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I will respect it so long as I please and you shall respect it as long as I wish.

Tranquility is found also in dungeons; but is that enough to make them desirable places to live in? To say that a man gives himself gratuitously, is to say what is absurd and inconceivable; such an act is null and illegitimate, from the mere fact that he who does it is out of his mind. To say the same of a whole people is to suppose a people of madmen; and madness creates no right. Even if each man could alienate himself, he could not alienate his children: they are born men and free; their liberty belongs to them, and no one but they has the right to dispose of it. Before they come to years of judgment, the father can, in their name, lay down conditions for their preservation and well-being, but he cannot give them irrevocably and without conditions: such a gift is contrary to the ends of nature, and exceeds the rights of paternity. It would therefore be necessary, in order to legitimize an arbitrary government, that in every generation the people should be in a position to accept or reject it; but, were this so, the government would be no longer arbitrary.

From whatever aspect we regard the question, the right of slavery is null and void, not only as being illegitimate, but also because it is absurd and meaningless. The words slave and right contradict each other, and are mutually exclusive. It will always be equally foolish for a man to say to a man or to a people: “I make with you a convention wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I shall keep it as long as I like, and you will keep it as long as I like.”

Our passions are the chief means of self-preservation; to try to destroy them is therefore as absurd as it is useless.

From whatever aspect we regard the question, the right of slavery is null and void, not only as being illegitimate, but also because it is absurd and meaningless. The words slave and right contradict each other, and are mutually exclusive. It will always be equally foolish for a man to say to a man or to a people: “I make with you a convention wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I shall keep it as long as I like, and you will keep it as long as I like.”

Our passions are the chief means of self-preservation; to try to destroy them is therefore as absurd as it is useless.

The word ‘slavery’ and ‘right’ are contradictory, they cancel each other out. Whether as between one man and another, or between one man and a whole people, it would always be absurd to say: "I hereby make a covenant with you which is wholly at your expense and wholly to my advantage; I will respect it so long as I please and you shall respect it as long as I wish.

Tranquility is found also in dungeons; but is that enough to make them desirable places to live in? To say that a man gives himself gratuitously, is to say what is absurd and inconceivable; such an act is null and illegitimate, from the mere fact that he who does it is out of his mind. To say the same of a whole people is to suppose a people of madmen; and madness creates no right. Even if each man could alienate himself, he could not alienate his children: they are born men and free; their liberty belongs to them, and no one but they has the right to dispose of it. Before they come to years of judgment, the father can, in their name, lay down conditions for their preservation and well-being, but he cannot give them irrevocably and without conditions: such a gift is contrary to the ends of nature, and exceeds the rights of paternity. It would therefore be necessary, in order to legitimize an arbitrary government, that in every generation the people should be in a position to accept or reject it; but, were this so, the government would be no longer arbitrary.

In moments in which the soul undergoes the unmitigated realization of the mystery that vibrates between its precarious existence and its inscrutable meaning, we find it unbearably absurd to define the essence of man by what he knows or what he is able to bring about. To the sense of the ineffable the essence of man lies in his being a means of higher expression, in his being an intimation of ineffable meaning… The ultimate insight is the outcome of moments when we are stirred beyond words, of instants of wonder, awe, praise, fear, trembling and radical amazement; of awareness of grandeur, of perceptions we can grasp but are unable to convey, of discoveries of the unknown, of moments in which we abandon the pretense of being acquainted with the world, of knowledge by inacquaintance. It is at the climax of such moments that we attain the certainty life has meaning, that time is more than evanescence, that beyond all being there is someone who cares.