Quotes By Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays

“I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But I know that something in it has a meaning and that is man, because he is the only creature to insist on having one”


“But in order to speak about all and to all, one has to speak of what all know and of the reality common to us all. The seas, rains, necessity, desire, the struggle against death--these are things that unite us all. We resemble one another in what we see together, in what we suffer together. Dreams change from individual, but the reality of the world is common to us all. Striving towards realism is therefore legitimate, for it is basically related to the artistic adventure.”


“It is true that freedom, when it is made up principally of privileges, insults labor and separates it from culture. But freedom is not made up principally of privileges; it is made up especially of duties. And the moment each of us tries to give freedom's duties precedence over its privileges, freedom joins together labor and culture and sets in motion the only force that can effectively serve justice. The rule of our action, the secret of our resistance can be easily stated: everything that humiliates labor also humiliates the intelligence, and vice versa. And the revolutionary struggle, the centuries-old straining toward liberation can be defined first of all as a double and constant rejection of humiliation. ”


“It is better for the intellectual not to talk all the time. To begin with, it would exhaust him, and, above all, it would keep him from thinking. He must create if he can, first and foremost, especially if his creation does not side-step the problems of his time.”


“Without giving up anything on the plane of justice, yeild nothing on the plane of freedom”


“To create today is to create dangerously. Any publication is an act, and that act exposes one to the passions of an age that forgives nothing.”


“In short, whoever does violence to truth or its expression eventually mutilates justice, even though he thinks he is serving it. From this point of view, we shall deny to the very end that a press is true because it is revolutionary; it will be revolutionary only if it is true, and never otherwise.”


“What is there more real, for instance, in our universe than a man's life, and how can we hope to preserve it better than a realistic film? But under what conditions is such a film possible? Under purely imaginary conditions. We should have to presuppose, in fact, an ideal camera focused on the man day and night and constantly registering his every move. The very projection of such a film would last a lifetime and could be seen only by an audience of people willing to waste their lives in watching someone else's life in great detail. Even under such conditions, such an unimaginable film would not be realistic for the simple reason that the reality of a man's life is not limited to the spot in which he happens to be. It lies also in other lives that give shape to his--lives of people he loves, to begin with, which would have to be filmed too, and also lives of unknown people, influential and insignificant, fellow citizens, policemen, professors, invisible comrades from the mines and foundries, diplomats and dictators, religious reformers, artists who create myths that are decisive for out conduct--humble representatives, in short, of the sovereign chance that dominates the most routine existences. Consequently, there is but one possible realistic film: one that is constantly shown us by an invisible camera on the world's screen. The only realistic artist, then, is God, if he exists. All other artists are, ipso facto, unfaithful to reality.”


“Let us seek the respite where it is—in the very thick of battle. For in my opinion, and this is where I shall close, it is there. Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say that this hope lies in a nation; others, in a man. I believe rather that it is awakened, revived, nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works every day negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history. As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever threatened truth that each and every man, on the foundation of his own suffering and joys, builds for all.”


“I, on the contrary, chose justice in order to remain faithful to the world. I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But I know that something in it has a meaning and that is man, because he is the only creature to insist on having one.”


“I regret having to play the role of Cassandra once more and having to disappoint the fresh hopes of certain ever hopeful colleagues, but there is no possible evolution in a totalitarian society.”


“The moment of despair is alone, pure, sure of itself, pitiless in its consequences. It has a merciless power.”


“short, all flee real responsibility, the effort of being consistent or of having an opinion of one’s own, in order to take refuge in the parties or groups that will think for them, express their anger for them, and make their plans for them. Contemporary intelligence seems to measure the truth of doctrines and causes solely by the number of armored divisions that each can put into the field. Thenceforth everything is good that justifies the slaughter of freedom, whether it be the nation, the people, or the grandeur of the State. The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”


“The defects of the West are innumerable, its crimes and errors very real. But in the end, let’s not forget that we are the only ones to have the possibility of improvement and emancipation that lies in free genius.”


“Men like you and me who in the morning patted children on the head would a few hours later become meticulous executioners.”


“It is a great deal to fight while despising war, to accept losing everything while still preferring happiness, to face destruction while cherishing the idea of a higher civilization.”


“We are fighting for the distinction between sacrifice and mysticism, between energy and violence, between strength and cruelty, for that even finer distinction between the true and the false, between the man of the future and the cowardly gods you revere.”


“In raining bullets on those silent faces, already turned away from this world, you think you are disfiguring the face of our truth.”


“…Having been, not only mutilated in our country, wounded in our very flesh, but also divested of our most beautiful images, for you gave the world a hateful and ridiculous version of them. The most painful thing to bear is seeing a mockery made of what one loves.”


“I continue to believe that this world has no ultimate meaning. But I know that something in it has a meaning and that is man, because he is the only creature to insist on having one.”


“Our poisoned hearts must be cured. And the most difficult battle to be won against the enemy in the future must be fought within ourselves, with an exceptional effort that will transform our appetite for hatred into a desire for justice.”


“For all those landscapes, those flowers and those plowed fields, the oldest of lands, show you every spring that there are things you cannot choke in blood.”


“There is no ideal freedom that will someday be given us all at once, as a pension comes at the end of one’s life. There are liberties to be won painfully, one by one, and those we still have are stages—most certainly inadequate, but stages nevertheless—on the way to total liberation. If we agree to suppress them, we do not progress nonetheless. On the contrary, we retreat, we go backward, and someday we shall have to retrace our steps along that road, but that new effort will once more be made in the sweat and blood of men. No,”


“Despite men's suffering, despite the blood and wrath, despite the dead who can never be replaced, the unjust wounds, and the wild bullets, we must utter, not words of regret, but words of hope, of the dreadful hope of men isolated with their fate.”


“Because you were tired of fighting heaven, you relaxed in that exhausting adventure in which you had to mutilate souls and destroy the world. In short, you chose injustice and sided with the gods. Your logic was merely apparent. I,”


“I cannot believe that everything must be subordinated to a single end. There are means which cannot be excused.”


“For their heroism was that they had to conquer themselves first.”


“I belong to a nation which for the past four years has begun to relive the course of her entire history and which is calmly and surely preparing out of the ruins to make another history…Your nation, on the other hand, has received from its sons only the love it deserved, which was blind. A nation is not justified by such love. That will be your undoing. And you who were already conquered in your greatest victories, what will you be in the approaching defeat?”


“You were satisfied to serve the power of your nation and we dreamed of giving ours her truth. It was enough for you to serve the politics of reality whereas, in our wildest aberrations, we still had a vague conception of the politics of honor.”