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69 Best Jean Paul Sartre Quotes

Jean-Paul Sartre was born on the 21st of June 1905 in Paris, France. He attended the Ecole Normale Supérieure and graduated in 1929. It was there that he met several young writers such as Raymond Aron, Merleau-Ponty, Simone Weil, Claude Lévi-Strauss and Simone de Beauvoir among many others who would go on to become famous writers and thinkers of the generation.

After his studies, Sartre taught philosophy at le Havre High-School, then in Paris in 1937. While teaching, he wrote The Nausea which appeared in 1938. The novel lays down the themes which Sartre will go on to explore in his subsequent works such as isolation, freedom, consciousness and death. However, his teaching career was cut short due to war. During the Second World War, Jean Paul Sartre served as a soldier and was imprisoned by the German forces in 1940 and spent nine months as a war prisoner.

His role and experience allowed him to acquire a political awareness and observation which would help him to write his major work Being and Nothingness, which is a study of the consciousness and freedom of being.  In 1944, Albert Camus would make Sartre a reporter for the newspaper “Combat”. Sartre would go on to achieve huge success and he cemented his place as one of the great thinkers of the existentialist era.

A thinker and essayist who has at heart the issues of freedom, alienation, consciousness and existence in the society, Jean Paul Sartre was considered as a true intellectual of France. His positions on various social and cultural issues, his political views made him a well-respected thinker.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize, but refused it. He explained that his refusal was based on the fact that he always declined honors, just as he declined the legion of Honor.  Furthermore, he believed that the writer must “refuse to let himself be transformed into an institution, even if this occurs under the most honorable circumstances”.

Jean-Paul Sartre died on April 15, 1980 at the age of 74. His funeral created a collective fervor, where the intellectual community would gather. Almost 50,000 people followed the hearse to Montparnasse cemetery the day of Sartre’s funeral. It reminded the world a little bit of the collective tribute that was paid to Victor Hugo.

Read the very best quotes of Jean-Paul Sartre, the philosopher who helped in creating the newspaper “La Libération”, who was the voice of Reason in France and worldwide for more than two generations.
 


 

Better to have beasts that let themselves be killed than men who run away.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Everything has been figured out, except how to live.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Fear? If I have gained anything by damning myself, it is that I no longer have anything to fear.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Fascism is not defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Every age has its own poetry; in every age the circumstances of history choose a nation, a race, a class to take up the torch by creating situations that can be expressed or transcended only through poetry.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Acting is happy agony.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Acting is a question of absorbing other people’s personalities and adding some of your own experience.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Existence precedes and rules essence.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Ah! yes, I know: those who see me rarely trust my word: I must look too intelligent to keep it.

Jean-Paul Sartre

A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.

Jean-Paul Sartre

All human actions are equivalent and all are on principle doomed to failure.

Jean-Paul Sartre

All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.

Jean-Paul Sartre

As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I am no longer sure of anything. If I satiate my desires, I sin but I deliver myself from them; if I refuse to satisfy them, they infect the whole soul.

Jean-Paul Sartre

If a victory is told in detail, one can no longer distinguish it from a defeat.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I say a murder is abstract. You pull the trigger and after that you do not understand anything that happens.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I have no need for good souls: an accomplice is what I wanted.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I hate victims who respect their executioners.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I do not believe in God; his existence has been disproved by Science. But in the concentration camp, I learned to believe in men.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Generosity is nothing else than a craze to possess. All which I abandon, all which I give, I enjoy in a higher manner through the fact that I give it away. To give is to enjoy possessively the object which one gives.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I am not virtuous. Our sons will be if we shed enough blood to give them the right to be.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Hell is other people.

Jean-Paul Sartre

God is absence. God is the solitude of man.

Jean-Paul Sartre

If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think.

Jean-Paul Sartre

I confused things with their names: that is belief.

Jean-Paul Sartre

You must be afraid, my son. That is how one becomes an honest citizen.

Jean-Paul Sartre

If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.

Jean-Paul Sartre

It disturbs me no more to find men base, unjust, or selfish than to see apes mischievous, wolves savage, or the vulture ravenous.

Jean-Paul Sartre

It is only in our decisions that we are important.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Words are loaded pistols.

Jean-Paul Sartre

For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.

Jean-Paul Sartre

If literature isn’t everything, it’s not worth a single hour of someone’s trouble.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Who can exhaust a man? Who knows a man’s resources?

Jean-Paul Sartre

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist.

Jean-Paul Sartre

That God does not exist, I cannot deny, That my whole being cries out for God I cannot forget.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.

Jean-Paul Sartre

When rich people fight wars with one another, poor people are the ones to die.

Jean-Paul Sartre

What do I care about Jupiter? Justice is a human issue, and I do not need a god to teach it to me.

Jean-Paul Sartre

We must act out passion before we can feel it.

Jean-Paul Sartre

We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.

Jean-Paul Sartre

We do not judge the people we love.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Total war is no longer war waged by all members of one national community against all those of another. It is total… because it may well involve the whole world.

Jean-Paul Sartre

To eat is to appropriate by destruction.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.

Jean-Paul Sartre

There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.

Jean-Paul Sartre

There are two types of poor people, those who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are rich people out of luck.

Jean-Paul Sartre

The poor don’t know that their function in life is to exercise our generosity.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Life begins on the other side of despair.

Jean-Paul Sartre

No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Life has no meaning the moment you loose the illusion of being eternal.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have.

Jean-Paul Sartre

The existentialist says at once that man is anguish.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Neither sex, without some fertilization of the complimentary characters of the other, is capable of the highest reaches of human endeavor.

Jean-Paul Sartre

The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.

Jean-Paul Sartre

One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.

Jean-Paul Sartre

One cannot become a saint when one works sixteen hours a day.

Jean-Paul Sartre

One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one’s death, one dies one’s life.

Jean-Paul Sartre

Politics is a science. You can demonstrate that you are right and that others are wrong.

Jean-Paul Sartre

My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.

Jean-Paul Sartre

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