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.

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.

Absolutely everything beloved and cherished of the bourgeoisie, the conservative, the cowardly, and the impotent — the State, family life, secular art and science — was consciously or unconsciously hostile to the religious idea, to the Church, whose innate tendency and permanent aim was the dissolution of all existing worldly orders, and the reconstitution of society after the model of the ideal, the communistic City of God.

Because when they say only the eyes, the conversation takes place after the 'you.'

Distance in a straight line has no mystery. The mystery is in the sphere.

Gustav Aschenbach was the writer who spoke for all those who work on the brink of exhaustion, who labor and are heavy-laden, who are worn out already but still stand upright, all those moralists of achievement who are slight of stature and scanty of resources, but who yet, by some ecstasy of the will and by wise husbandry, manage at least for a time to force their work into a semblance of greatness.

Hold fast the time! Guard it, watch over it, every hour, every minute! Unregarded it slips away, like a lizard, smooth, slippery, faithless, a pixy wife. Hold every moment sacred. Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each it’s true and due fulfillment.

I tell them if they will occupy themselves with the study of mathematics they will find in it the best remedy against the lusts of the flesh.

Is there anyone but must repress a secret thrill, on arriving in Venice for the first time-or returning thither after long absence-and stepping into a Venetian gondola?

Life is not the means for the achievement of an esthetic ideal of perfection; on the contrary, the work is an ethical symbol of life.

No, the school has not had a decisive influence on my development. The school of my special plants probably instinctively felt something, but it counted as obstinate incompetence and discarded. A teacher threatened me not by chance, but another student, with the words: I will destroy your career you already On the same day I read in Storm the saying, What can you do to be more, not work-shy and guards, but keep your soul from careerism.

Passionate — that means to live for the sake of living. But one knows that you all live for the sake of experience. Passion, that is self-forgetfulness. But what you all want is self-enrichment. C'est ça. You don't realize what revolting egoism it is, and that one day it will make you the enemies of the human race.

Solitude produces originality, bold and astonishing beauty, poetry. But solitude also produces perverseness, the disproportionate, the absurd and the forbidden.

The child of civilization, remote from wild nature and all her ways, is more susceptible to her grandeur than is her untutored son who has looked at her and lived close to her from childhood up, on terms of prosaic familiarity.

The positive thing about the skeptic is that he considers everything possible!

This fantastic state of mind, of a humanity that has outrun its ideas, is matched by a political scene in the grotesque style, with Salvation Army methods, hallelujahs and bell-ringing and dervishlike repetition of monotonous catchwords, until everybody foams at the mouth. Fanaticism turns into a means of salvation, enthusiasm into epileptic ecstasy, politics becomes an opiate for the masses, a proletarian eschatology; and reason veils her face.

We do not fear being called meticulous, inclining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly interesting.

What was life? It was warmth, the warmth generated by a form-preserving instability, a fever of matter, which accompanied the process of ceaseless decay and repair of protein molecules that were too impossibly ingenious in structure.

An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life: it names, it characterizes, it passes judgment, in that it creates.

But for him it was music - music when it was just that only, and against the word of Goethe: 'The art deals with the heavy and the good guys, he found objectionable, that the light is too hard if it's good what it may be as well as the severity. Some of them got stuck with me, I got it from him. However, I've always taken to mean that one must be very versed in Hard and good, so to receive the Light.

Even in a personal sense, after all, art is an intensified life. By art one is more deeply satisfied and more rapidly used up. It engraves on the countenance of its servant the traces of imaginary and intellectual adventures, and even if he has outwardly existed in cloistral tranquility, it leads in the long term to over-fastidiousness, over-refinement, nervous fatigue and overstimulation, such as can seldom result from a life of the most extravagant passions and pleasures.

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