Top Quotes from Elias Canetti

By | March 7, 2016

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

Elias Canetti

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.

Elias Canetti

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.

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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.

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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.

Elias Canetti

The paranoiac is the exact image of the ruler. The only difference is their position in the world. One might even think the paranoiac the more impressive of the two because he is sufficient unto himself and cannot be shaken by failure.

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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.

Elias Canetti

One should use praise to recognize what one is not.

Elias Canetti

There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown. He wants to see what is reaching towards him, and to be able to recognize or at least classify it. Man always tends to avoid physical contact with anything strange.

Elias Canetti

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?

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

People’s fates are simplified by their names.

Elias Canetti

Most religions do not make men better, only warier.

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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

Elias Canetti

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