Jostein Gaarder


Norwegian Intellectual, Author of Novels, Short Stories and Children's Books

Author Quotes

Sophie found philosophy doubly exciting because she was able to follow all the ideas by using her own common sense - without having to remember everything she had learned at school. She decided that philosophy was not something you can learn; but perhaps you can learn to think philosophically.

The artist plays freely on his faculty of cognition.

The harder you a try to forget something, the more you think about it Unconsciously.

The only quality required to become a good philosopher is to be surprised.

The truth is that I feel totally helpless, or totally inconsolable, to be more honest. I?m not trying to hide it, but it?s something you?re not to worry about.

There is always Joker to see through the delusion. Generation succeeds generation, but there is a fool walking the earth who is never ravaged by time.

Thor?the Batman or James Bond of the gods?has once again conquered the forces of evil.

Wasn't it odd that she didn't know who she was? And wasn't it unreasonable that she hadn't been allowed to have any say in what she would look like?

We cry when something is sad. Then we often shed a tear when something's beautiful as well. When something's funny or ugly, we laugh. Perhaps we are sad when something is beautiful because we know that it won't last forever. Then, we start laughing when something is ugly because we understand that it's only a joke.

When I die, bursting a silver string with smooth beads that roll through the country and runs home to clam mothers on the ocean floor. Who will dive after my pearls when I am gone? Who would know that it was mine? Who can guess that the whole world once hung around my neck?

When you read this you may already have met Hermes. In case you haven't, I'll add that he is a dog. But don't worry. He is very good-tempered - and moreover, a good deal more intelligent than a lot of people. In any event he never tries to give the impression of being cleverer than he is.

Yes, we too are stardust.

Philosophers are always trying to climb up the fine hairs of the fur in order to stare right into the magician's eyes.

Slaves did all the manual work, leaving a void at the full free citizens interesting cultural and political life. Thus we have seen a new way of thinking, born in big cities. As it was one of the individual, the right to question the organization of society.

Sophie knew that 'modesty' was an old-fashioned word for shyness - for example, about being seen naked. But was it really natural to be embarrassed about that? If something was natural, she supposed, it was the same for everybody. In many parts of the world it was completely natural to be naked. So it must be society that decides what you can and can't do. When Grandma was young you certainly couldn't sunbathe topless. But today, most people think it is 'natural,' even though it is still strictly forbidden in lots of countries. Was this philosophy? Sophie wondered.

The artist should thus derive the freest possible inspiration from his dream images and strive toward a super realism in which the boundaries between dream and reality were dissolved. For an artist too it can be necessary to break the censorship of the conscious and let words and images have free play.

The history of ideas is like a drama in many acts.

The only thing we need to be good philosophers is the ability to wonder.

The universe is a great mystery.

There is an artist in everyone. A dream is, after all, a little work of art, and there are new dreams every night.

Those who are asking the questions are always the most dangerous.

Watching Limelight with my mother really brought home to me the brevity of life. I realized in a little while that I would die and leave everything behind. Unlike vain people, I had the ability to think this right through. I had no difficulty in picturing full theatres and cinemas long after myself was gone. Not everybody can do that. Many are so intoxicated with sensual impressions that they're not able to grasp that there is a world out there. And therefore they're not able to comprehend the opposite either - they don't understand that one day the world will end. We, however, are only a few missing heartbeats away from being divorced from humanity forever.

We do not believe in the notion of God's chosen people. We laugh at this people's fancies and weep over its misdeeds. To act as God's chosen people is not only stupid and arrogant, but a crime against humanity. We call it racism.

When I die, I will quit one silver thread strung with smooth pearls that will be scattered on the ground and roll her mother shells on the sea bottom.

When you realize there is something you don't understand, then you're generally on the right path to understanding all kinds of things.

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Norwegian Intellectual, Author of Novels, Short Stories and Children's Books