Elias Canetti Quotes


Success listens only to applause. To all else it is deaf.

His head is made of stars but not yet arranged into constellations.

Learning is the art of ignoring.

Whenever you observe an animal closely you feel as if a human being sitting inside were making fun of you.

Travelling one accepts everything; indignation stays at home. One looks one listens one is roused to enthusiasm by the most dreadful things because they are new. Good travellers are heartless.

There is no doubt: the study of man is just beginning at the same time that his end is in sight.

The planet's survival has become so uncertain that any effort any thought that presupposes an assured future amounts to a mad gamble.

People love as self-recognition what they hate as an accusation.

The first effect of adjusting to other people is that one becomes boring.

A 'modern' man has nothing to add to modernism if only because he has nothing to oppose it with. The well-adapted drop off the dead limb of time like lice.

Speak as though it were the last sentence allowed you.

All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams.

The great writers of aphorisms read as if they had all known each other well.

Of all the words in all languages I know the greatest concentration is in the English word I.

It is important to say all the great thoughts again without knowing that they have already been said.

A child. . . opens and closes like a blossom.

People's fates are simplified by their names.

The fear of burglars is not only the fear of being robbed but also the fear of a sudden and unexpected clutch out of the darkness.

Pessimists are not boring. Pessimists are right. Pessimists are superfluous.

A person often falls very ill in order to become someone else and then returns to health much disappointed.

As if one could know the good a person is capable of when one doesn't know the bad he might do.

Beauty always has something remote.

In eternity everything is just beginning.

In five minutes the earth would be a desert and you cling to books.

You draw closer to truth by shutting yourself off from mankind.

One should not confuse the craving for life with endorsement of it.

The act of naming is the great and solemn consolation of mankind

When you write down your life every page should contain something no one has ever heard about

Everything one records contains a grain of hope no matter how deeply it may come from despair.

Justice requires that everyone should have enough to eat. But it also requires that everyone should contribute to the production of food.

There can be no Creator simply because his grief at the fate of his creation would be inconceivable and unendurable.

It doesn't matter how new an idea is: what matters is how new it becomes.

Someone who always has to lie discovers that every one of his lies is true.

The profoundest thoughts of the philosophers have something trickle about them. A lot disappears in order for something to suddenly appear in the palm of the hand.

Whether or not God is dead: it is impossible to keep silent about him who was there for so long.

Adults find pleasure in deceiving a child. They consider it necessary but they also enjoy it. The children very quickly figure it out and then practice deception themselves.

Every decision is liberating even if it leads to disaster. Otherwise why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune?

Every decision is liberating even if it leads to disaster.

There emanates from superlatives a destructive force.

The self-explorer whether he wants to or not becomes the explorer of everything else.

Explain nothing. Put it there. Say it. Leave.

A head full of stars just not in constellation yet.

Words are not too old only people are too old if they use the same words too frequently.

There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.

One has a prejudice wherever one fears a transformation.

He who is obsessed by death is made guilty by it.

Death is a scandal. The machine is functioning we are all hostages

Success is the space one occupies in the newspaper. Success is one day's insolence.

It is important what a man still plans at the end. It shows the measure of injustice in his death.

The process of writing has something infinite about it. Even though it is interrupted each night it is one single notation.

Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim.

I try to imagine someone saying to Shakespeare 'Relax!

There is no such thing as an ugly language. Today I hear every language as if it were the only one and when I hear of one that is dying it overwhelms me as though it were the death of the earth.

Most religions do not make men better only warier.

Understanding as we understand it is misunderstanding.

...how could I fool that I am go on sitting in my office or here at home instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?

One should use praise to recognize what one is not.

You have but to know an object by its proper name for it to lose its dangerous magic.

Das Nicht-Wissen darf am Wissen nicht verarmen.

He would like to start from scratch. Where is scratch?

I want to keep smashing myself until I am whole.

History portrays everything as if it could not have come otherwise. History is on the side of what happened.