Quotes by Walter Benjamin

All religions have honored the beggar. For he proves that in a matter at the same time as prosaic and holy, banal and regenerative as the giving of alms, intellect and morality, consistency and principles are miserably inadequate.
– Walter Benjamin
Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.
– Walter Benjamin
Each morning the day lies like a fresh shirt on our bed; this incomparably fine, incomparably tightly woven tissue of pure prediction fits us perfectly. The happiness of the next twenty-four hours depends on our ability, on waking, to pick it up.
– Walter Benjamin
Genuine polemics approach a book as lovingly as a cannibal spices a baby.
– Walter Benjamin
Gifts must affect the receiver to the point of shock.
– Walter Benjamin
It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.
– Walter Benjamin
Memory is not an instrument for exploring the past but its theatre. It is the medium of past experience, as the ground is the medium in which dead cities lie interred.
– Walter Benjamin
Nothing is poorer than a truth expressed as it was thought. Committed to writing in such cases, it is not even a bad photograph. Truth wants to be startled abruptly, at one stroke, from her self-immersion, whether by uproar, music or cries for help.
– Walter Benjamin
Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method. Writers are really people who write books not because they are poor, but because they are dissatisfied with the books which they could buy but do not like.
– Walter Benjamin
Opinions are to the vast apparatus of social existence what oil is to machines: one does not go up to a turbine and pour machine oil over it; one applies a little to hidden spindles and joints that one has to know.
– Walter Benjamin
The adjustment of reality to the masses and of the masses to reality is a process of unlimited scope, as much for thinking as for perception.
– Walter Benjamin
The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.
– Walter Benjamin
The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion.
– Walter Benjamin
The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.
– Walter Benjamin
The true picture of the past flits by. The past can be seized only as an image which flashes up at the instant when it can be recognized and is never seen again.
– Walter Benjamin
To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without fright.
– Walter Benjamin
We have long forgotten the ritual by which the house of our life was erected. But when it is under assault and enemy bombs are already taking their toll, what enervated, perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations.
– Walter Benjamin
Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.
– Walter Benjamin
The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.
– Walter Benjamin
The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.
– Walter Benjamin