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Franz Kafka quotes (82)

A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us.
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A book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.
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A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.
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A man of action forced into a state of thought is unhappy until he can get out of it.
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A stair not worn hollow by footsteps is, regarded from its own point of view, only a boring something made of wood.
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Always first draw fresh breath after outbursts of vanity and complacency.
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Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate... but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins.
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Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.
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Association with human beings lures one into self-observation.
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Atlas was permitted the opinion that he was at liberty, if he wished, to drop the Earth and creep away; but this opinion was all that he was permitted.
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Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.
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By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
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By imposing too great a responsibility, or rather, all responsibility, on yourself, you crush yourself.
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Don Quixote's misfortune is not his imagination, but Sancho Panza.
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Don't despair, not even over the fact that you don't despair.
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Dread of night. Dread of not-night.
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Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.
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Evil is whatever distracts.
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From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.
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God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.
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He who seeks does not find, but he who does not seek will be found.
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Heaven is dumb, echoing only the dumb.
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Hesitation before birth. If there is a transmigration of souls then I am not yet on the bottom rung. My life is a hesitation before birth.
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Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities of escape, again, are as many as hiding places.
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How can one take delight in the world unless one flees to it for refuge?
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How pathetically scanty my self-knowledge is compared with, say, my knowledge of my room. There is no such thing as observation of the inner world, as there is of the outer world.
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I do not read advertisements. I would spend all of my time wanting things.
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I have the true feeling of myself only when I am unbearably unhappy.
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Idleness is the beginning of all vice, the crown of all virtues.
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If I shall exist eternally, how shall I exist tomorrow?
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If it had been possible to build the Tower of Babel without climbing it, it would have been permitted.
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If there is a transmigration of souls then I am not yet on the bottom rung. My life is a hesitation before birth.
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In a certain sense the Good is comfortless.
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In argument similes are like songs in love; they describe much, but prove nothing.
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In the fight between you and the world, back the world.
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In the struggle between yourself and the world second the world.
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In theory there is a possibility of perfect happiness: To believe in the indestructible element within one, and not to strive towards it.
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It is comforting to reflect that the disproportion of things in the world seems to be only arithmetical.
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It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet.
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It is often safer to be in chains than to be free.
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It is only our conception of time that makes us call the Last Judgement by this name. It is, in fact, a kind of martial law.
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Let me remind you of the old maxim: people under suspicion are better moving than at rest, since at rest they may be sitting in the balance without knowing it, being weighed together with their sins.
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Martyrs do not underrate the body, they allow it to be elevated on the cross. In this they are at one with their antagonists.
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May I kiss you then? On this miserable paper? I might as well open the window and kiss the night air.
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My "fear" is my substance, and probably the best part of me.
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My guiding principle is this: Guilt is never to be doubted.
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My peers, lately, have found companionship through means of intoxication - it makes them sociable. I, however, cannot force myself to use drugs to cheat on my loneliness - it is all that I have - and when the drugs and alcohol dissipate, will be all that my peers have as well.
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No sooner said than done - so acts your man of worth.
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Not everyone can see the truth, but he can be it.
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One advantage in keeping a diary is that you become aware with reassuring clarity of the changes which you constantly suffer.
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One must not cheat anyone, not even the world of its victory.
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One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die.
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One tells as few lies as possible only by telling as few lies as possible, and not by having the least possible opportunity to do so.
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Productivity is being able to do things that you were never able to do before.
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Religions get lost as people do.
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Self-control means wanting to be effective at some random point in the infinite radiations of my spiritual existence.
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Sensual love deceives one as to the nature of heavenly love; it could not do so alone, but since it unconsciously has the element of heavenly love within it, it can do so.
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So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being.
Franz Kafka   Category: Food

Start with what is right rather than what is acceptable.
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Suffering is the positive element in this world, indeed it is the only link between this world and the positive.
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Test yourself on mankind. It is something that makes the doubter doubt, the believer believe.
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The Bible is a sanctum; the world, sputum.
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The decisive moment in human evolution is perpetual. That is why the revolutionary spiritual movements that declare all former things worthless are in the right, for nothing has yet happened.
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The experience of life consists of the experience which the spirit has of itself in matter and as matter, in mind and as mind, in emotion, as emotion, etc.
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The fact that our task is exactly commensurate with our life gives it the appearance of being infinite.
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The history of mankind is the instant between two strides taken by a traveler.
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The indestructible is one: it is each individual human being and, at the same time, it is common to all, hence the incomparably indivisible union that exists between human beings.
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The mediation by the serpent was necessary. Evil can seduce man, but cannot become man.
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The relationship to one's fellow man is the relationship of prayer, the relationship to oneself is the relationship of striving; it is from prayer that one draws the strength for one's striving.
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The spirit becomes free only when it ceases to be a support.
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