Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840): At The Crossroads of Art and Philosophy
A Walk at Dusk, c. 1830-35
We have art in order not to die of truth.
The philosopher creates, he doesn't reflect.
Happiness belongs to those who are sufficient unto themselves. For all external sources of happiness and pleasure are, by their very nature, highly uncertain, precarious, ephemeral and subject to chance.
After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say, "I want to see the manager."
It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking.
The proof that man is the noblest of all creatures is that no other creature has ever denied it.
G. C. Lichtenberg
Every man bears the whole stamp of the human condition.
Michel de Montaigne
The good, say the mystics of spirit, is God, a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive - a definition that invalidates man's consciousness and nullifies his concepts of existence. The good, say the mystics of muscle, is Society - a thing which they define as an organism that possesses no physical form, a super-being embodied in no one in particular and everyone in general except yourself . . . The purpose of man's life, say both, is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.
The fact that man knows right from wrong proves his intellectual superiority to other creatures; but the fact that he can do wrong proves his moral inferiority to any creature that cannot.
Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.
We know now that a text is not a line of words releasing a single 'theological' meaning (the 'message' of the Author-God) but a multidimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash. The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centres of culture.
From The Death of the Author (1968) by Roland Barthes (1915-1980)