And what would you do, ... if you could rule the world for a day? I suppose I would have no choice but to abolish reality.

β€” Robert Musil

The most useful Robert Musil quotes that are glad to read

Layer by layer art strips life bare.

35

There is nothing in this world as invisible as a monument

31

If there is a sense of reality, there must also be a sense of possibility.

23

One must conform to the baseness of an age or become neurotic.

21

True' and 'false' are the evasions of people who never want to arrive at a decision. Truth is something without end.

20

Stupidity is active in every direction, and can dress up in all the clothes of truth. Truth, on the other hand, has for every occasion only one dress and one path, and is always at a disadvantage.

20

Philosophers are people who do violence, but have no army at their disposal, and so subjugate the world by locking it into a system.

12

Ideology is: intellectual ordering of the feelings;

an objective connection among them that makes the subjective connection easier.

9

It is reality that awakens possibilities, and nothing would be more perverse than to deny it.

8

All still lifes are actually paintings of the world on the sixth day of creation, when God and the world were alone together, without man!

6

Only in the most unusual cases is it useful to determine whether a book is good or bad; for it is just as rare for it to be one or the other. It is usually both.

6

We have gained reality and lost dream.

No more lounging under a tree and peering at the sky between one's big and second toes; there's work to be done. To be efficient, one cannot be hungry and dreamy but must eat steak and keep moving.

6

About Robert Musil

Quotes 80 sayings
Nationality Austrian
Profession Writer
Birthday October 16

Each person is a graveyard of his thoughts.

They are most beautiful for us in the moment of their birth; later we can often sense a deep pain that they leave us indifferent where earlier they enchanted us.

5

He who is allowed to do as he likes will soon run his head into a brick wall out of sheer frustration.

5

Writing [for the novelist] is not an activity, but a condition.

That is why one simply can't resume the work when one has a job and a free half-day. Reading is the conveyance of this condition.

5

Mathematics is the source of a wicked intellect that, while making man the lord of the earth, also makes him the slave of the machine.

5

Time, which runs through the world like an endless tinsel thread, seemed to pass through the centre of this room and through the centre of these people and suddenly to pause and petrify, stiff, still and glittering... and the objects in the room drew a little closer together.

5

It will always be the same possibilities, in sum or on the average, that go on repeating themselves until a man comes along who does not value the actuality above idea. It is he who first gives the new possibilities their meaning, their direction, and he awakens them.

4

The difference between a healthy person and one who is mentally ill is the fact that the healthy one has all the mental illnesses, and the mentally ill person has only one.

4

Don't you know that every perfect life would be the end of art?

4

And since the possession of qualities presupposes that one takes a certain pleasure in their reality, all this gives us a glimpse of how it may all of a sudden happen to someone who cannot summon up any sense of reality β€” even in relation to himself β€” that one day he appears to himself as a man without qualities.

4

Wordsworth's particular grace, his charisma, as theologians say, has been granted in equal measure to so very few men since time was--to Plato and who else? The crucial thing is never what we do, but always what we do right after that. What matters is always the next step!

3

Scientific reason, with its strict conscience, its lack of prejudice, and its determination to question every result again the moment it might lead to the least intellectual advantage, does in an area of secondary interest what we ought to be doing with the basic questions of life.

3

In their field they [mathematicians] do what we ought to be doing in ours.

Therein lies the significant lesson ... of their existence. They are an analogy for the intellectual of the future.

3

Have we not huddled in bunkers, while some premonition of tomorrow hung in the air and a comrade started singing? Oh, it felt so melancholy! And it was kitsch.

3

With its claims to profundity, boldness and originality, thinking still limits itself provisionally to the exclusively rational and scientific. ... As soon as it lays hold of the feelings, it becomes spirit.

3

... for the modern soul, for which it is mere child's play to bridge oceans and continents, there is nothing so impossible as to find the contact with the souls dwelling just around the corner.

3

Anyone who still wants to experience fairytales these days can’t afford to dither when it comes to using their brains.

3

... nothing is more human than substituting the quantity of words and actions for their character. But using imprecise words is very similar to using lots of words, for the more imprecise a word is, the greater the area it covers.

2

Every word wants to be taken literally, else it decays into a lie.

But one mustn't take any word literally, else the world becomes a madhouse.

2

A man who wants the truth becomes a scientist;

a man who wants to give free play to his subjectivity may become a writer; but what should a man do who wants something in between?

2

the restricting of intellectual and spiritual needs to the mania of progress

2

It is life that does the thinking all around us, forming with playful ease the connections our reason can only laboriously patch together piecemeal, and never to such kaleidoscopic effect.

1

... the structure of a page of good prose is, analyzed logically, not something frozen but the vibrating of a bridge, which changes with every step one takes on it.

1

On this thin, scarcely real and yet so perceptible sensation the whole world hung as on a faintly trembling axis, and this in turn rested on the two people in the room.

1

For only fools, fanatics, and mental cases can stand living at the highest pitch of soul; a sane person must be content with declaring that life would not be worth living without a spark of that mysterious fire.

1

Every day there comes a moment when a person lays his hands in his lap and all his busyness collapses like ashes. The work accomplished is, from the soul's point of view, entirely imaginary.

1

The thought came to me that all one loves in art becomes beautiful.

Beauty is nothing but the expression of the fact that something is being loved. Only thus could she be defined.

1

Today I start a diary; it is against my usual habbits, but out of a clearly felt need.

1

Life is to blame for everything.

0

The thought is not something that observes an inner event, but, rather it is this inner event itself. We do not reflect on something, but, rather, something thinks itself in us.

0

I also believe that few people remain completely untouched by the thought that instead of the life they lead there might also be another, where all actions proceed from a very personal state of excitement. Where actions have meanings, not just causes. And where a person, to use a trivial word, is happy, and not just nervously tormenting himself.

0

The proverbial notion of historical distance consists in our having lost ninety-five of every hundred original facts, so the remaining ones can be arranged however one likes.

0

You proclaim that one should die for the highest virtues, because you take it for granted that nobody's been living for them, not even for a single hour.

0

A man can't be angry at his own time without suffering some damage.

0

To love something as an artist ... means to be shaken not by its ultimate value or lack of value, but by a side of it that suddenly opens up. Where art has value it shows things that few have seen. It's conquering, not pacifying.

0

We sometimes have a flash of understanding that amounts to the insight of genius, and yet it slowly withers, even in our hands - like a flower. The form remains, but the colours and the fragrance are gone.

0

Hardly anyone still reads nowadays. People make use of the writer only in order to work off their own excess energy on him in a perverse manner, in the form of agreement or disagreement.

0

Anything that endures over time sacrifices its ability to make an impression.

0
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