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

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.

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.

A harmful truth is better than a useful lie.

And then the sly arch-lover that he was, he said the subtlest thing of all: that the lover was nearer the divine than the beloved; for the god was in the one but not in the other - perhaps the tenderest, most mocking thought that ever was thought, and source of all the guile and secret bliss the lover knows.

By the approach through abnormality we have succeeded in penetrating most deeply into the darkness of human nature … The literary person should be the last person to be surprised at this fact. Sooner might he be surprised that he, considering his strong generally and individual tendency, should have so late become aware of the close sympathetic relations which connected his own existence with psychoanalytic research and the life-work of Sigmund Freud. I realized this connection only at a time when his achievement was no longer thought of as merely a therapeutic method, whether recognized or disputed; when it had long since outgrown his purely medical implications and become a world movement which penetrated into every field of science and every domain of the intellect: literature, the history of art, religion and prehistory; mythology, folklore, pedagogy, and what not.

For man loves and respects the man until he is able to judge, and the craving is the result of imperfect knowledge

He took in the squeaky music, the vulgar and pining melodies, because passion immobilizes good taste and seriously considers what soberly would be thought of as funny and to be resented.

I hold that we shall one day recognize in Freud’s life-work the cornerstone for the building of a new anthropology and therewith of a new structure, to which many stones are being brought up today, which shall be the future dwelling of a wiser and freer humanity.

In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius.

It is most certainly a good thing that the world knows only the beautiful opus but not its origins, not the conditions of its creation; for if people knew the sources of the artist's inspiration, that knowledge would often confuse them, alarm them, and thereby destroy the effects of excellence. Strange hours! Strangely enervating labor! Bizarrely fertile intercourse of the mind with a body!

Man loves and honors man as long as he is not able to judge him, and desire is a product of lacking knowledge.

One ought to go to a funeral instead of to church when one feels the need of being uplifted. People have on good black clothes, and they take off their hats and look at the coffin, and behave serious and reverent, and nobody dares to make a bad joke.

Respectable means rich, and decent means poor. I should die if I heard my family called decent.

That daily the night falls; that over stresses and torments, cares and sorrows the blessing of sleep unfolds, stilling and quenching them; that every day anew this draught of refreshment and lethe is offered to our parching lips, ever after the battle this mildness laves our shaking limbs, that from it, purified from sweat and dust and blood, strengthened, renewed, rejuvenated, almost innocent once more, almost with pristine courage and zeal we may go forth again — these I hold to be the benignest, the most moving of all the great facts of life.

The invention of printing and the Reformation are and remain the two outstanding services of central Europe to the cause of humanity.

There is something suspicious about music, gentlemen. I insist that she is, by her nature, equivocal. I shall not be going too far in saying at once that she is politically suspect.

Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.

What good would politics be, if it didn’t give everyone the opportunity to make moral compromises.

With astonishment Aschenbach noticed that the boy was entirely beautiful. His countenance, pale and gracefully reserved, was surrounded by ringlets of honey-colored hair, and with its straight nose, its enchanting mouth, its expression of sweet and divine gravity, it recalled Greek sculpture of the noblest period.

A human being tends to believe that the mood of the moment, be it troubled or blithe, peaceful or stormy, is the true, native, and permanent tenor of his existence ... whereas the truth is that he is condemned to improvisation and morally lives from hand to mouth all the time.

Animals do not admire each other. A horse does not admire its companion.

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