Quotes Categories

Walter Benjamin Quotes

(1982-1940), German Critic, Philosopher

Separation penetrates the disappearing person like a pigment and steeps him in gentle radiance.

Category: Absence

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.

Category: Advice

The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion.

Category: Arts And Artists

Reminiscences, even extensive ones, do not always amount to an autobiography. For autobiography has to do with time, with sequence and what makes up the continuous flow of life. Here, I am talking of a space, of moments and discontinuities. For even if months and years appear here, it is in the form they have in the moment of recollection. This strange form -- it may be called fleeting or eternal -- is in neither case the stuff that life is made of.

Category: Autobiography

To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.

Category: Awareness

The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.

Category: Beauty

All religions have honored the beggar. For he proves that in a matter at the same time as prosaic and holy, banal and regenerative as the giving of alms, intellect and morality, consistency and principles are miserably inadequate.

Category: Beggars

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.

Category: Books And Reading

The power of a text is different when it is read from when it is copied out. Only the copied text thus commands the soul of him who is occupied with it, whereas the mere reader never discovers the new aspects of his inner self that are opened by the text, that road cut through the interior jungle forever closing behind it: because the reader follows the movement of his mind in the free flight of day-dreaming, whereas the copier submits it to command.

Category: Books And Reading

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.

Category: Bores And Boredom

Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance -- nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city -- as one loses oneself in a forest -- that calls for a quite different schooling. Then, signboard and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a cracking twig under his feet in the forest.

Category: Cities And City Life

Experience has taught me that the shallowest of communist platitudes contains more of a hierarchy of meaning than contemporary bourgeois profundity.

Category: Communism And Socialism

These are days when no one should rely unduly on his ''competence.'' Strength lies in improvisation. All the decisive blows are struck left-handed.

Category: Complacency

The art of the critic in a nutshell: to coin slogans without betraying ideas. The slogans of an inadequate criticism peddle ideas to fashion.

Category: Critics And Criticism

The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.

Category: Destructiveness