"god is only a hypothesis...but I admit he is necessary for the sake of order...and if there were no God he would have to be invented"
"the more I love mankind in general, the less I love people in particular, that is individually as separate persons...I would go to the cross if it helped serving mankind, and yet I am incapable of living in the same room with anyone even for two days. As soon as someone is there, close to me, their personality oppresses my self esteem and restricts my freedom. In twenty-four hours I can begin to hate even the best of men: because he takes too long blowing his nose or eating his dinner. I become the enemy of people the moment they touch me"
"pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth"
"there is no more ceaseless or tormenting care for man, so long as he remains free, than to find someone to bow down to as soon as possible...the care of these pitiful creatures is not just to find something for which to bow down to alone, but to find something everyone else will also believe and bow down too, for it must be altogether. And this need for community of worship is the chief torment of each man individually, and of mankind as a whole from the beginning of time. In the cause of universal worship, they have destroyed each other with the sword. They have made gods and said to each other 'abandon your gods, and come worship ours, else death to your gods and you'. And so it will be until the end of the world, even when all Gods have disappeared from the earth: they will still fall down before idols"
"in every human idea that possesses genius or is new, or even simply in every serious human idea that is conceived in someone's head, there always remains something that cannot be conveyed to other people, even though whole volumes were written and your idea explained for thirty-five years; there will always remain something that is on no account willing to come out of your skull and will remain with you forever; so that you will die without perhaps ever having conveyed to anyone the most important part of your idea"
"What had he to live for?...To live in order to exist?...mere existence had always been too little for him, he had always wanted more"
"once mankind has renounced God, one and all, then the entire world view will fall...people will come together in order to take from life all that it can give, but for happiness and joy in this world only...every hour experience will bring such lofty delight to replace all former hopes of heavenly delight. Each will know himself utterly mortal, without resurrection, and he will love his brother without any reward. Love will satisfy only the moment of life, but the very awareness of its momentariness will increase its fire, inasmuch as previously it was diffused in hopes of an eternal love beyond the grave"
"he could not think for long altogether of anything; he was simply feeling. Life had stepped into the place of theory and something quite different would work itself out in his mind"
"ghosts are as it were shreds and fragments of other worlds, the beginning of them. A man in health has, of course, no reason to see them, because he is above all a man on this earth and is bound for the sake of completeness and order to live only in this life. But as soon as one is ill, as soon as the normal earthly order of the organism is broken, one begins to realize the possibility of another world; and the more seriously ill one is, the closer becomes one's contact with that the other world, so that as soon as man dies he steps straight into that world"
"what mother, for example, tenderly loving her child, would not be dismayed and sick with fear if her son or daughter were to go off the rails by even the smallest of margins: 'No, let him be happy and live comfortably, without originality', thinks every mother, as she rocks her child"
"nowadays almost all capable people are terribly afraid of being ridiculous and are miserable because of it"
"he read persistently over many years, understanding almost nothing at all of it, but perhaps precisely for that reason prizing and loving it all the more."
"you are going to be a very unhappy man in your life...but on the whole you will bless life all the same"
"you've never been able to understand how interesting you'd have become in her eyes if you'd managed to endure your surroundings with firmness and pride...he caught her on his hook because for one thing, he wasn't trying to catch her at all"
"love is gone...but what is gone is painfully dear to me. You now love another, I love another, but still I shall love you eternally"
"for man seeks not so much God as miracles"
"all my life I've been trying to break myself"