„I thought that the only action a man could perform without shame was to take his life; that he had no right to diminish himself in the succession of days and the inertic of misery. No elect, I kept telling myself, but those who committed suicide.“

A Short History of Decay (1949)

Adopted from Wikiquote. Last update Feb. 11, 2021. History
Emil M. Cioran photo
Emil M. Cioran529
Romanian philosopher and essayist 1911 - 1995

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Murray Gell-Mann photo

„I could always try MIT and then kill myself later if it was that bad but that I couldn't commit suicide and then try MIT afterwards.“

—  Murray Gell-Mann American physicist 1929 - 2019

"The Making of a Physicist : A Talk with Murray Gell-Mann" at Edge.org (2003) http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/gell-mann03/gell-mann_print.html.
Context: I thought of killing myself but soon decided that I could always try MIT and then kill myself later if it was that bad but that I couldn't commit suicide and then try MIT afterwards. The two operations, suicide and going to MIT, don't commute...

Woodrow Wilson photo

„I am inclined to follow the course suggested by a friend of mine who says that he has always followed the rule never to murder a man who is committing suicide, and clearly this misdirected gentleman is committing suicide slowly but sureley.“

—  Woodrow Wilson American politician, 28th president of the United States (in office from 1913 to 1921) 1856 - 1924

Letter to Bernard Baruch (19 August 1916), PWW 38:51
1910s
Variant: Never attempt to murder a man who is committing suicide.

Hans Frank photo

„I tried to commit suicide because I sacrificed everything for Hitler. And that man whom we sacrificed everything for left us all alone. If he had committed suicide four years before, it would have been all right.“

—  Hans Frank German war criminal 1900 - 1946

To Leon Goldensohn, February 12, 1946, from "The Nuremberg Interviews" by Leon Goldensohn, Robert Gellately - History - 2004

Emil M. Cioran photo
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Antonin Artaud photo

„If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will.“

—  Antonin Artaud French-Occitanian poet, playwright, actor and theatre director 1896 - 1948

Si je me tue ce ne sera pas pour me détruire, mais pour me reconstituer, le suicide ne sera pour moi qu’un moyen de me reconquérir violemment, de faire brutalement irruption dans mon être, de devancer l’avance incertaine de Dieu. Par le suicide, je réintroduis mon dessin dans la nature, je donne pour la première fois aux choses la forme de ma volonté.
“On Suicide,” no. 1, Le Disque Vert (1925).

Osamu Dazai photo
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Maria Montessori photo

„The man who, through his own efforts, is able to perform all the actions necessary for his comfort and development in life, conquers himself, and in doing so multiplies his abilities and perfects himself as an individual.
We must make of the future generation, powerful men, and by that we mean men who are independent and free.“

—  Maria Montessori Italian pedagogue, philosopher and physician 1870 - 1952

Ch. 5 : Discipline, p. 100.
Context: Let us picture to ourselves a clever and proficient workman, capable, not only of producing much and perfect work, but of giving advice in his workshop, because of his ability to control and direct the general activity of the environment in which he works. The man who is thus master of his environment will be able to smile before the anger of others, showing that great mastery of himself which comes from consciousness of his ability to do things. We should not, however, be in the least surprised to know that in his home this capable workman scolded his wife if the soup was not to his taste, or not ready at the appointed time. In his home, he is no longer the capable workman; the skilled workman here is the wife, who serves him and prepares his food for him. He is a serene and pleasant man where he is powerful through being efficient, but is domineering where he is served. Perhaps if he should learn how to prepare his soup he might become a perfect man! The man who, through his own efforts, is able to perform all the actions necessary for his comfort and development in life, conquers himself, and in doing so multiplies his abilities and perfects himself as an individual.
We must make of the future generation, powerful men, and by that we mean men who are independent and free.

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Jean Paul Sartre photo

„Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.“

—  Jean Paul Sartre French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary cri… 1905 - 1980

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Erich Fromm photo
Charbel Makhlouf photo

„Success in life consists of standing without shame before God.“

—  Charbel Makhlouf Lebanese Maronite monk and saint 1828 - 1898

Love is a Radiant Light: The Life & Words of Saint Charbel (2019)

Yasunari Kawabata photo

„In my essay, "Eyes in their Last Extremity", I had to say: "How ever alienated one may be from the world, suicide is not a form of enlightenment. However admirable he may be, the man who commits suicide is far from the realm of the saint."“

—  Yasunari Kawabata Japanese author, Nobel Prize winner 1899 - 1972

Japan, the Beautiful and Myself (1969)
Context: I have an essay with the title "Eyes in their Last Extremity".
The title comes from the suicide note of the short-story writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke... It is the phrase that pulls at me with the greatest strength. Akutagawa said that he seemed to be gradually losing the animal something known as the strength to live, and continued:
"I am living in a world of morbid nerves, clear and cold as ice... I do not know when I will summon up the resolve to kill myself. But nature is for me more beautiful than it has ever been before. I have no doubt that you will laugh at the contradiction, for here I love nature even when I am contemplating suicide. But nature is beautiful because it comes to my eyes in their last extremity."
Akutagawa committed suicide in 1927, at the age of thirty-five.
In my essay, "Eyes in their Last Extremity", I had to say: "How ever alienated one may be from the world, suicide is not a form of enlightenment. However admirable he may be, the man who commits suicide is far from the realm of the saint." I neither admire nor am in sympathy with suicide.

Henry Adams photo

„Strange as it sounds, although Man thought himself hardly treated in respect to freedom, yet, if freedom meant superiority, Man was in action much the superior of God, whose freedom suffered, from Saint Thomas, under restraints that Man never would have tolerated. Saint Thomas did not allow God even an undetermined will; he was pure Act, and as such he could not change. Man alone was, in act, allowed to change direction. What was more curious still, Man might absolutely prove his freedom by refusing to move at all; if he did not like his life, he could stop it, and habitually did so, or acquiesced in its being done for him; while God could not commit suicide or even cease for a single instant his continuous action. If Man had the singular fancy of making himself absurd,— a taste confined to himself but attested by evidence exceedingly strong,— he could be as absurd as he liked; but God could not be absurd. Saint Thomas did not allow the Deity the right to contradict himself, which is one of Man's chief pleasures. While Man enjoyed what was, for his purposes, an unlimited freedom to be wicked,— a privilege which, as both Church and State bitterlly complained and still complain, he has outrageously abused,— God was Goodness and could be nothing else. […] In one respect, at least, Man's freedom seemed to be not relative but absolute, for his thought was an energy paying no regard to space or time or order or object or sense; but God's thought was his act and will at once; speaking correctly, God could not think, he is. Saint Thomas would not, or could not, admit that God was Necessity, as Abélard seems to have held, but he refused to tolerate the idea of a divine maniac, free from moral obligation to himself. The atmosphere of Saint Louis surrounds the God of Saint Thomas, and its pure ether shuts out the corruption and pollution to come,— the Valois and Bourbons, the Occams and Hobbes's, the Tudors and the Medicis of an enlightened Europe.“

—  Henry Adams journalist, historian, academic, novelist 1838 - 1918

Mont Saint Michel and Chartres (1904)

Bertie Ahern photo

„I don't know how people who engage in that don't commit suicide“

—  Bertie Ahern Irish politician, 10th Taoiseach of Ireland 1951

commenting on people "talking the economy down", just before the crash. Speech at Irish Congress of Trade Unions conference http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfjGSfuSQpA 2007-07-3.

Peter Weir photo

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