Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul
Sartre
1905
1980

French Existentialist, Philosopher, Playwright, Novelist, Teacher, Screenwriter and Political Activist

Author Quotes

One cannot become a saint when one works sixteen hours a day.

I will not be modest. Humble, as much as you like, but not modest. Modesty is the virtue of the lukewarm.

You see, I divide men into three categories: those who have a lot of money, those who have none at all and those who have a little. The first want to keep what they have: their interest is to maintain order; the second want to take what they do not have: their interest is to destroy the existing order and to establish one which is profitable to them. They each are realist, people with whom one can agree. The third group want to overthrow the social order to take what they do not have, while still preserving it so that no one takes away what they have. Thus, they preserve in fact what they destroy in theory, or they destroy in fact what they seem to preserve. Those are the idealists.

If you are not already dead, forgive. Rancor is heavy, it is worldly; leave it on earth: die light.

I was not the one to invent lies: they were created in a society divided by class and each of us inherited lies when we were born. It is not by refusing to lie that we will abolish lies: it is by eradicating class by any means necessary.

I think of death only with tranquility, as an end. I refuse to let death hamper life. Death must enter life only to define it.

In a word, man must create his own essence: it is in throwing himself into the world, suffering there, struggling there, that he gradually defines himself.

Each human reality is at the same time a direct project to metamorphose its own For-itself into an In-itself-For-itself, a project of the appropriation of the world as a totality of being-in-itself, in the form of a fundamental quality. Every human reality is a passion in that it projects losing itself so as to found being and by the same stroke to constitute the In-itself which escapes contingency by being its own foundation, the Ens causa sui, which religions call God. Thus the passion of man is the reverse of that of Christ, for man loses himself as man in order that God may be born. But the idea of God is contradictory and we lose ourselves in vain. Man is a useless passion.

Generally speaking there is no irreducible taste or inclination. They all represent a certain appropriative choice of being. It is up to existential psychoanalysis to compare and classify them Ontology abandons us here; it has merely enabled us to determine the ultimate ends of human reality, its fundamental possibilities, and the value which haunts it.

I grasp at each second, trying to suck it dry: nothing happens which I do not seize, which I do not fix forever in myself, nothing, neither the fugitive tenderness of those lovely eyes, nor the noises of the street, nor the false dawn of early morning: and even so the minute passes and I do not hold it back, I like to see it pass.

For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.

The real nature of the present revealed itself: it was what exists, all that was not present did not exist.

Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed, because it involves all mankind.

Existentialism is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position. Its intention is not in the least that of plunging men into despair. And if by despair one means as the Christians do – any attitude of unbelief, the despair of the existentialists is something different. Existentialism is not atheist in the sense that it would exhaust itself in demonstrations of the non-existence of God. It declares, rather, that even if God existed that would make no difference from its point of view. Not that we believe God does exist, but we think that the real problem is not that of His existence; what man needs is to find himself again and to understand that nothing can save him from himself, not even a valid proof of the existence of God. In this sense existentialism is optimistic. It is a doctrine of action, and it is only by self-deception, by confining their own despair with ours that Christians can describe us as without hope.

What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. He will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself. Thus, there is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is. Not that he is simply what he conceives himself to be, but he is what he wills, and as he conceives himself after already existing – as he wills to be after that leap towards existence. Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism.

We will freedom for freedom’s sake, in and through particular circumstances. And in thus willing freedom, we discover that it depends entirely upon the freedom of others and that the freedom of others depends upon our own. Obviously, freedom as the definition of a man does not depend upon others, but as soon as there is a commitment, I am obliged to will the liberty of others at the same time as my own. I cannot make liberty my aim unless I make that of others equally my aim.

Imagination is not an empirical or superadded power of consciousness, it is the whole of consciousness as it realizes its freedom.

You must be afraid, my son. That is how one becomes an honest citizen.

Words are loaded pistols.

To eat is to appropriate by destruction.

There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.

There are two types of poor people, those who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are rich people out of luck.

Only the guy who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat.

One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one's death, one dies one's life.

One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.

Author Picture
First Name
Jean-Paul
Last Name
Sartre
Birth Date
1905
Death Date
1980
Bio

French Existentialist, Philosopher, Playwright, Novelist, Teacher, Screenwriter and Political Activist