Thomas Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann

Thomas
Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann
1875
1955

German Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Social Critic, Philanthropist, Awarded Nobel Prize for his Novels

Author Quotes

Life is possessed by tremendous tenacity. Even so, its presence remains conditional, and as it had a beginning, so it will have an end. I believe that life, just for this reason, is exceedingly enhanced in value, in charm.

One of the most important characteristics distinguishing man from all other forms of nature is his knowledge of transitoriness, of beginning and end, and therefore of the gift of time. In man, transitory life attains its peak of animation, of soul power, so to speak. This does not mean man alone would have a soul. Soul quality pervades all beings. But man?s soul is most awake in his knowledge of the inter-changeability of the terms ?existence? and ?transitoriness.?

Time is related to ? yes, identical with ? everything creative and active, with every progress toward a higher goal. Without transitoriness, without beginning or end, birth or death, there is no time, either. Timelessness ? in the sense of time never ending, never beginning ? is a stagnant nothing. It is absolutely uninteresting.

To man, time is given like a piece of land, as it were, entrusted to him for faithful tilling; a space in which to strive incessantly, achieve self-realization, move onward and upward. Yes, with the aid of time, man becomes capable of wresting the immortal from the mortal.

What I believe, what I value most, is transitoriness. But is not transitoriness ? the perishableness of life ? something very sad? No! It is the very soul of existence. It imparts value, dignity, interest to life. Transitoriness creates time ? and ?time is the essence.? Potentially at least, time is the supreme, most useful gift.

Life is possessed by tremendous tenacity. Even so, its presence remains conditional, and as it had a beginning, so it will have an end. I believe that life, just for this reason, is exceedingly enhanced in value, in charm.

One of the most important characteristics distinguishing man from all other forms of nature is his knowledge of transitoriness, of beginning and end, and therefore of the gift of time. In man, transitory life attains its peak of animation, of soul power, so to speak. This does not mean man alone would have a soul. Soul quality pervades all beings. But man?s soul is most awake in his knowledge of the inter-changeability of the terms ?existence? and ?transitoriness." To man, time is given like a piece of land, as it were, entrusted to him for faithful tilling; a space in which to strive incessantly, achieve self-realization, move onward and upward. Yes, with the aid of time, man becomes capable of wresting the immortal from the mortal.

Time is related to ? yes, identical with ? everything creative and active, with every progress toward a higher goal. Without transitoriness, without beginning or end, birth or death, there is no time, either. Timelessness ? in the sense of time never ending, never beginning ? is a stagnant nothing. It is absolutely uninteresting.

What I believe, what I value most, is transitoriness. But is not transitoriness ? the perishableness of life ? something very sad? No! It is the very soul of existence. It imparts value, dignity, interest to life. Transitoriness creates time ? and ?time is the essence.? Potentially at least, time is the supreme, most useful gift.

And for its part, what was life? Was it perhaps only an infectious disease of matter—just as the so-called spontaneous generation of matter was perhaps only an illness, a cancerous stimulation of the immaterial?

But sometimes a person begins with opinions and judgments and valid criticisms, but then things creep in that have nothing to do with forming opinions, and then it’s all over with strict logic, and what you end up with is an absurd world republic and beautiful style.

Everything is politics.

He is no longer with me—by my orders—but then that is merel the carrying-out of an order, after all a kind of negative being-with-me, as he would say. As for any independent life which Bashan might lead without me during these hours—that is not to be thought of.

I admire the proud and cold who go adventuring on the paths of great and demoniac beauty, and scorn man — but I do not envy them. For if anything is capable of making a poet out of a man of letters, it is this plebeian love of mine for the human, living, and commonplace. All warmth, all goodness, all humor is born of it, and it almost seems to me as if it were that love itself, of which it is written that a man might speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and yet without it be no more than sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.

I, for one, have never in my life come across a perfectly healthy human being.

It is a pregnant complex, gleaming up from the unconscious, of mother-fixation, sexual desire, and fear.

Looking, he thought that to come to Venice by the station is like entering a palace by the back door.

O scenes of the beautiful world! Never have you presented yourself to more appreciative eyes.

Politics has been called the art of the possible, and it actually is a realm akin to art insofar as, like art, it occupies a creatively mediating position between spirit and life, the idea and reality.

Some of the men stood talking in this room, and at the right of the door a little knot had formed round a small table, the center of which was the mathematics student, who was eagerly talking. He had made the assertion that one could draw through a given point more than one parallel to a straight line; Frau Hagenström had cried out that this was impossible, and he had gone on to prove it so conclusively that his hearers were constrained to behave as though they understood.

The diaries of opium-eaters record how, during the brief period of ecstasy, the drugged person's dreams have a temporal scope of ten, thirty, sometimes sixty years or even surpass all limits of man's ability to experience time--dreams, that is, whose imaginary time span vastly exceeds their actual duration and which are characterized by an incredible diminishment of the experience of time, with images thronging past so swiftly that, as one hashish-smoke puts it, the intoxicated user's brain seems to have something removed, like the mainspring from a broken watch.

The sea is vast, the sea is wide, my eyes roved far and wide and longed to be

This is going to be an awful year. It doesn't seem likely that anything gets done.

We know that and will not wean until something new is the only way that keeps our lives, refreshes our sense of time - the only one which allows us to rejuvenate, strengthen, release our experience of time and thus to renew our sense of life in general.

What we call mourning for our dead is perhaps not so much grief at not being able to call them back as it is grief at not being able to want to do so.

Author Picture
First Name
Thomas
Last Name
Mann, fully Paul Thomas Mann
Birth Date
1875
Death Date
1955
Bio

German Novelist, Essayist, Short Story Writer, Social Critic, Philanthropist, Awarded Nobel Prize for his Novels