95 Thought Provoking Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes That Will Open Your Mind

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French Philosopher, Novelist, and Activist Jean-Paul Sartre was a brilliant man who questioned the way things were and why. He was known for challenging everything before him, from cultural and social aspects to the more spiritual side of human existence. Jean-Paul Sartre was always known for being a non conformist who believed in seeking truth, but not forcing truth upon ourselves, hence why he was able to make so many breakthroughs and findings.

In his personal life, he never seemed to follow the norms: he had an open relationship, which was an absurd idea at that time, and chose to make very little friends. It is often stated that wise men admit to knowing nothing. Jean-Paul Sartre was a very wise man and his ability to question everything and assume nothing was at the forefront reason for his Nobel Prize winning in 1964. Here is the ultimate list of Jean-Paul Sartre quotes that will help you question your inner and outer world to give you a deeper perspective!


 

1.) To Risk, Is To Live:

“To know what life is worth you have to risk it once in a while.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


2.) Be Limitless And Formless, You Can Do Anything:

“You and me are real people, operating in a real world. We are not figments of each other’s imagination. I am the architect of my own self, my own character and destiny. It is no use whingeing about what I might have been, I am the things I have done and nothing more. We are all free, completely free. We can each do any damn thing we want. Which is more than most of us dare to imagine.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


3.) Knowledge Is Wisdom:

“I had found my religion: nothing seemed more important to me than a book. I saw the library as a temple.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


4.)

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


5.)

“No, my child, these things are impossible. It would have been better if she had recognize the truth courageously. She would have suffered once, then time would have erased with its sponge. There is nothing like looking things in the face, believe me.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


6.) Never Be A Conformist:

“You must be afraid, my son. That is how one becomes an honest citizen.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


7.)

“Outside nature, against nature, without excuse, beyond remedy, except what remedy I find within myself.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


8.)

“A writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


9.)

“Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


10.) Love Yourself From The Inside Out

“If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


11.)

“The writer, a free man addressing free men, has only one subject – freedom” – Jean-Paul Sartre


12.)

“This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he lives surrounded by his stories and the stories of others, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his life as if he were recounting it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


13.)

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


14.) We All Have Wisdom Within:

I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


15.)

“There is something I longed for more than all the rest – without realizing it properly. It wasn’t love, heaven forbid, nor glory, nor wealth. It was… anyway, I had imagined that at certain moments my life could take on a rare and precious quality.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


16.)

“My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


17.) Stop Being Afraid Of The Unknown:

“You exaggerate everything. You continually force the truth because you’re always looking for something.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


18.) Stop Waiting Or You Will Drown:

“I’ve lived the life of a man without teeth, he thought about it. A life of a man without teeth. I’ve never bitten, I’ve been waiting, keeping myself for later – and now I’ve just ascertained that I don’t have teeth anymore.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


19.)

Life begins on the other side of despair.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


20.)

Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


21.) Being A Follower Will Ruin Society In The Long Run:

“It is the good children, Madame, who make the most terrible revolutionaries. They say nothing, they do not hide under the table, they eat only one sweet at a time, but later on, they make Society pay dearly for it!” – Jean-Paul Sartre


22.)

“Existence is not something which lets itself be thought of from a distance; it must invade you suddenly, master you, weigh heavily on your heart like a great motionless beast – or else there is nothing at all.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


23.)

“He loves me, he doesn’t love my bowels, if they showed him my appendix in a glass he wouldn’t recognize it, he’s always feeling me, but if they put the glass in his hands he wouldn’t touch it, he wouldn’t think, “that’s hers,” you ought to love all of somebody, the esophagus, the liver, the intestines. Maybe we don’t love them because we aren’t used to them, but if we saw them the way we saw our hands and arms maybe we’d love them; the starfish must love each other better than we do.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


24.)

“For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


25.)

“I never could bear the idea of anyone’s expecting something from me. It always made me want to do just the opposite.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


26.)

“Get this into your head: if violence were only a thing of the future, if exploitation and oppression never existed on earth, perhaps displays of nonviolence might relieve the conflict. But if the entire regime, even your nonviolent thoughts, is governed by a thousand-year old oppression, your passiveness serves no other purpose but to put you on the side of the oppressors.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


27.) Be Curious For The Grander Solutions:

“Genius is what a man invents when he is looking for a way out.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


28.)

“What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world-and defines himself afterward.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


29.) Always Be Solution Driven:

“What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


30.)

The poor don’t know that their function in life is to exercise our generosity.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


31.)

“Naturally, in the course of my life I have made lots of mistakes, large and small, for one reason or another, but at the heart of it all, every time I made a mistake it was because I was not radical enough.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


32.)

“I wanted the moments of my life to follow and order themselves like those of a life remembered. You might as well try and catch time by the tail.”- Jean-Paul Sartre


33.) When You Judge Others, You Will Be More Cynical Of Yourself:

“Your judgement judges you and defines you” – Jean-Paul Sartre


34.)

“Consciousness is a being the nature of which is to be conscious of the nothingness of its being.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


35.)

“I live in the past. I take everything that has happened to me and arrange it. From a distance like that, it doesn’t do any harm, you’d almost let yourself be caught in it. Our whole story is fairly beautiful. I give it a few prods and it makes a whole string of perfect moments. Then I close my eyes and try to imagine that I’m still living inside it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


36.) To Risk, Is To Live:

“Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is therefore nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


37.) Be Limitless And Formless, You Can Do Anything:

“You and me are real people, operating in a real world. We are not figments of each other’s imagination. I am the architect of my own self, my own character and destiny. It is no use whingeing about what I might have been, I am the things I have done and nothing more. We are all free, completely free. We can each do any damn thing we want. Which is more than most of us dare to imagine.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


38.)

“It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


39.)

“The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


40.)

“Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


41.)

“Ha! to forget. How childish! I feel you in my bones. Your silence screams in my ears. You may nail your mouth shut, you may cut out your tongue, can you keep yourself from existing? Will you stop your thoughts.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


42.)

“I suppose it is out of laziness that the world is the same day after day. Today it seemed to want to change. And then anything, anything could happen.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


43.) Live Deeply in Today, In This Moment:

“Do you think that I count the days? 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


44.)

“Obviously, you love to score goals. You love to make assists and do things like that. But at the same, at the end of the day, you want to win. That’s how I look at it. If I can help my team by scoring goals and setting up guys, then great.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


45.) Define Your Life’s Meaning:

“Life has no meaning a priori… It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


46.)

“Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


47.)

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


48.)

“He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


49.)

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


50.) Where Is The manual For This Life?:

“Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


51.)

I want to leave, to go somewhere where I should be really in my place, where I would fit in… but my place is nowhere; I am unwanted.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


52.)

“Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


53.) Perception Is Everything, Which Way Are You Looking At Things:

A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.”– Jean-Paul Sartre


54.)

I am beginning to believe that nothing can ever be proved. These are honest hypotheses which take the facts into account: but I sense so definitely that they come from me, and that they are simply a way of unifying my own knowledge.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


55.)

“There is no reality except in action. Man is nothing else than his plan; he exists only to the extent that he fulfills himself; he is therefore nothing else than the ensemble of his acts, nothing else than his life.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


56.) Infinite Potential:

“As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


57.) Definiteness Of Purpose:

“It is only in our decisions that we are important.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


58.)

“What is there to fear in such a regular world?” – Jean-Paul Sartre


59.)

“The individual’s duty is to do what he wants to do, to think whatever he likes, to be accountable to no one but himself, to challenge every idea and every person.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


60.)

“No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


61.)

Man is not only that which he conceives himself to be, but that which he wills himself to be…” – Jean-Paul Sartre


62.) Working Harder Is Not The Only Answer:

“One cannot become a saint when one works sixteen hours a day.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


63.) Ultimate Positive Thinking:

“The most clear-sided view of the darkest possible situation is itself an act of optimism” – Jean-Paul Sartre


64.)

We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


65.) We Understand Who We Are When We Overcome Ourselves:

“In a word, man must create his own essence: it is in throwing himself into the world, suffering there, struggling there, that he gradually defines himself.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


66.)

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


67.)

“Existence precedes and rules essence.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


68.)

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


69.)

“The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


70.) Walk Your Talk:

Commitment is an act, not a word.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


71.)

We have so much difficulty imagining nothingness.”- Jean-Paul Sartre


72.)

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


73.)

Fear? If I have gained anything by damning myself, it is that I no longer have anything to fear.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


74.)

“In life man commits himself and draws his own portrait, outside of which there is nothing. No doubt this thought may seem harsh to someone who has not made a success of his life. But on the other hand, it helps people to understand that reality alone counts, and that dreams, expectations and hopes only serve to define a man as a broken dream, aborted hopes, and futile expectations.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


75.) We Are All Responsible For Pushing Humanity Forward:

Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed, because it involves all mankind.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


76.)

“Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


77.) We See Ourselves As Others See Us:

People who live in society have learnt how to see themselves, in mirrors, as they appear to their friends. I have no friends: is that why my flesh is so naked?” – Jean-Paul Sartre


78.)

“Existence is an imperfection.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


79.)

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


80.)

“I’m going to smile, and my smile will sink down into your pupils, and heaven knows what it will become.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


81.)

Time is too large, it can’t be filled up. Everything you plunge into it is stretched and disintegrates.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


82.)

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


83.)

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


84.) Choose Wisely:

“We are our choices.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


85.)

It is certain that we cannot escape anguish, for we are anguish.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


86.)

“An individual chooses and makes himself.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


87.)

We must act out passion before we can feel it. Jean-Paul Sartre


88.)

“Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.” Jean-Paul Sartre


89.) We Move Towards What We Desire Most:

“People are like dice. We throw ourselves in the direction of our own choosing.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


90.)

“Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


91.)

“Happiness is not doing what you want but wanting what you do.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


92.) Think About It In More Than One Way:

You are what you are not and are not what you are.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


93.)

Words are more treacherous and powerful than we think.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


94.)

To exist is to create your own life.” – Jean-Paul Sartre


95.) A Passionate Philosopher:

“All I really want to do is go to the book store , drink coffee and read” – Jean-Paul Sartre


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