49+ Best Existentialism Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Existentialism is a system of ideas made famous by Jean Paul Sartre in the 1940s in which the world has no meaning and each person is alone and completely responsible for their own actions, by which they make their own character. Profoundly inspirational existentialism quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

If you’re searching for positive philosophy quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound ethics quotes, amazing nihilism quotes and top Taoism quotes.

Famous Existentialism Quotes

Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal. Paul Sartre

I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself. Hermann Hesse

There is scarcely any passion without struggle. Albert Camus

I thought of the people before me who had looked down at the river and gone to sleep beneath it. I wondered about them. I wondered how they had done it–it, the physical act. I simply wondered about the dead because their days had ended and I did not know how I would get through mine. James Baldwin

Let us do something, while we have the chance! Let us make the most of it, before it is too late! Let us represent worthily for one the foul brood to which a cruel fate consigned us!  Samuel Beckett

I’d come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clear-cut language. Paul Satre

We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing. Charles Bukowski

If a man has his eyes bound, you can encourage him as much as you like to stare through the bandage, but he’ll never see anything. Franz Kafka

We fear death, we shudder at life’s instability, we grieve to see the flowers wilt again and again, and the leaves fall, and in our hearts, we know that we, too, are transitory and will soon disappear. When artists create pictures and thinkers search for laws and formulate thoughts, it is in order to salvage something from the great dance of death, to make something last longer than we do. Hermann Hesse

With every increase in the degree of consciousness, and in proportion to that increase, the intensity of despair increases: the more consciousness the more intense the despair. Søren Kierkegaard

The rightful claim to dissent is an existential right of the individual. Friedrich Durrenmatt

She laughed. ‘It won’t last. Nothing lasts. But I’m happy now. Happy, I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is one of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don’t have much faith in them and I am no exception especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they’re scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence. Hunter S. Thompson

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not belonging is a terrible feeling. It feels awkward and it hurts, as if you were wearing someone else’s shoes. Phoebe Stone

There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point? The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it. Richard Dawkins

Yes, the essence of every love is a child, and it makes no difference at all whether it has ever actually been conceived or born. In the algebra of love a child is the symbol of the magical sum of two beings. Milan Kundera

Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level. Ernest Becker

The universe is a meat grinder and we’re just pork in designer shoes, keeping busy so we can pretend we’re not all headed for the sausage factory. Maybe I’ve been hallucinating this whole time and there is no Heaven and Hell. Instead of having to choose between God and the devil, maybe our only real choice comes down to link or patty? Richard Kadrey

A freedom which is interested only in denying freedom must be denied. And it is not true that the recognition of the freedom of others limits my own freedom to be free is not to have the power to do anything you like it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future; the existence of others as a freedom defines my situation and is even the condition of my own freedom. I am oppressed if I am thrown into prison, but not if I am kept from throwing my neighbor into prison. Simone De Beauvoir

I leaned back on my palms, looking at the Milky Way spilling in modest grandeur across the sky. A fountain of stars frothing over, surrounded by a mist of stardust. It looked like raw magic, like the glimmer I’d spy in a shadowy corner where the sun skimmed off invisible particles, reminding me there was a whole hidden world tucked inside this ordinary one. And it was up there every night, offering its mute beauty while we sat here with our heads down, tragically terrestrial. Leah Raeder

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.  Carl Sagan

The rightful claim to dissent is an existential right of the individual. Friedrich Durrenmatt

We lose everything because everything remains except us. And therefore any form of posterity may be an affront, and perhaps any memory, as well. Javier Marias

Remember, no matter where you go, there you are. Confucius

Healthy introspection, without undermining oneself; it is a rare gift to venture into the unexplored depths of the self, without delusions or fictions, but with an uncorrupted gaze. Friedrich Nietzsche

Struggle is what it means to be alive and free. David Budbill

Remember that no man loses any other life than this which he now lives, nor lives any other than this which he now loses. Marcus Aurelius

Acts of violence. Whether on a large or a small scale, the bitter paradox: the meaningfulness of death- and the meaninglessness of killing. Dag Hammarskjöld

Change your life today. Don’t gamble on the future, act now, without delay. Simone De Beauvoir

I have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.’ That’s T.S. Eliot, in case you were wondering. An oldie but a goodie. When it came to existential exhaustion, the man was one smart cookie.  Justin Cronin

If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself. Martin Heidegger

Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant. Joan Didion

I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. the will to a system is a lack of integrity. Friedrich Nietzsche

She had been in one of those sleeps so heavy they leave you feeling sad, disorientated, your stomach full of tears. A sleep so deep, so dark, that you see yourself dying, that you wake up soaked with cold sweat, paradoxically exhausted. Leïla Slimani

When we see life, we call it beautiful. When we see death, we call it ugly. But it is more beautiful still to see oneself living at great speed, right up to the moment of death. Jean Genet

In humans and humans alone is embodied in desire in the primordial desire for life as relation. That the sex drive serves the vital desire for relation that on the level of the primordial process, the desire for life in itself clothes itself in the sex drive belongs to the particularity of being human. Christos Yannaras

I opened myself to the gentle indifference of the world. Albert Camus

There, I was just a secretary-shaped confederation of atoms, fighting the inevitability of mediocrity and decay. But here, in the Juliaverse energy was never lost, merely converted from one form to another. Here, I took butter and cream and meat and eggs and I made delicious sustenance. Julie Powell

The world is, of course, nothing but our conception of it. Anton Chekhov

He stood there for a moment looking around the silent room, shaking his head slowly. All these books, he thought, the residue of a planet’s intellect, the scrapings of futile minds, the leftovers, the potpourri of artifacts that had no power to save men from perishing. Richard Matheson,

It is necessary to fall in love if only to provide an alibi for all the random despair you are going to feel anyway. Albert Camus

There were dark hours, of course, such as came to everybody, in which you thought you had achieved nothing at all, in which it seemed to you that only the cases predestined from the start to seucceed came to a good end, which they would have reached in any event without your help, while every one of the others was doomed to fail in spite of all your manœuvres, all your exertions, all the illusory little victories on which you plumed yourself. Franz Kafka

Humans aren’t here for long nor, as a species, have we been here for more than a blink of the cosmic eye. Armed with the knowledge of our fleeting existence, we seek to leave a mark some immortal legacy to compensate for the crushing weight of recognizing our own mortality. Mackenzie Finklea

Two things that are each complete, yet cannot exist without each other. Things which can never be separated, yet can never be together. Like life, existence, light. And shadow, nothingness, death. For each to exist, for us to remain ourselves, there is something akin to a boundary a wall, a barrier. That allows those two halves of a whole to forever stay apart. Avoidance is bliss. To meet is to cause each other unhappiness. To cause strife and suffering. Just like it did for us. That may simply be the fate of this world. But if you meet and can accept that suffering, the two may finally become one. In the end that may be the curse. Nagabe

Elizabeth realized with sadness how easy everything would be if she simply did not exist.  Anna Godbersen

Falk realized he felt cheated. He’d left it too long to slay the beast, and over time it had shriveled and wasted until it was no longer a fair fight. Jane Harper

Death creates and alternate universe, but after three months, I have the tools to live in it. Tracy Deonn

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