The easy possibility to write letters must - seen theoretically - have brought a terrible disruption of the souls into the world. It is communication with ghosts, and not just with the ghost of the receiver, but with one's own ghost as well, which develops under the hand in the letter one is writing, or even in a series of letters, where on letter substantiates the other and can call on it as witness. How could the idea come up that humans can communicate with each other through letters! One can think of a person that is far away, or touch a person that is close by, everything else is above the power of humans. But writing letters means to bare oneself in front of the ghosts, which they are greedily waiting for. Written kisses don't arrive at their place, but get drunk out by the ghosts on the way. Because of this plentiful food they multiply so outrageously. Humanity is feeling that and fighting against it, it has, to disable the ghostly between humans, and to achieve the natural communication, the peace of souls, invented the train, the car, the airplane, but it's too late, apparently they are inventions made while falling, the opponent is so much calmer and stronger, and invented after mail the telegraph, the telephone, wireless telegraphy. The ghosts won't starve, but we will perish.
letter to Milena Jesenská (March 1922)
You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.
When you stand before me and look at me, what do you know of the pain in me, and what I do I know of yours. And if I threw myself to the ground before you and cried and told you, what would you know more of me than of hell, if somebody told you that it is hot and terrible. For that reason alone we humans should should face each other so reverend, so thoughtful, so loving as if facing the gates of hell.
He has the feeling that merely by being alive he is blocking his own way. From this sense of hindrance, in turn, he deduces the proof that he is alive.
"Aphorisms"
Altogether, I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book does not shake us awake like a blow to the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we'd be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe.
Letter to Oskar Pollak, January 27th 1904
I can understand the hesitation of my generation, indeed it is no longer mere hesitation; it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times; and who can damn us merely for forgetting for the thousandth time?
"Investigations of a Dog"
The fact that there is nothing but a spiritual world deprives us of hope and gives us certainty.
"Reflections on Sin, Suffering, Hope, and the True Way", #62
There is a goal, but no way; but what we call a way is hesitation.
"Reflections on Sin, Suffering, Hope, and the True Way", #26
One can disintegrate the world by means of very strong light. For weak eyes the world becomes solid, for still weaker eyes it seems to develop fists, for eyes weaker still it becomes shamefaced and smashes anyone who dares to gaze upon it.
The Third Notebook, December 8, 1917
Believing in progress does not mean believing that any progress has yet been made.
The Third Notebook, December 4, 1917
Anyone who loves his neighbor within the limits of the world is doing no more and no less injustice than someone who loves himself within the limits of the world.
The Third Notebook, December 9, 1917