There are people who have an appetite for grief; pleasure is not strong enough and they crave pain. They have mithridatic stomachs which must be fed on poisoned bread, natures so doomed that no prosperity can sooth their ragged and dishevelled desolation.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
A cynic is a person searching for an honest man, with a stolen lantern.
~Edgar A. Shoaff
It is not a fragrant world.
I don't answer the phone. I get the feeling whenever I do that there will be someone on the other end.
Sarcasm is the sour cream of wit.
There is no such thing as inner peace. There is only nervousness and death.
A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.
~Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, 1893
I've always been interested in people, but I've never liked them.
~W. Somerset Maugham
[I] put the question directly to myself: "Suppose that all your objects in life were realized; that all the changes in institutions and opinions which you are looking forward to, could be completely effected at this very instant: would this be a great joy and happiness to you?" And an irrepressible self-consciousness distinctly answered, "No!"
~John Stuart Mill, Autobiography, 1909
When we are born, we cry that we are come to this great stage of fools.
~William Shakespeare, King Lear
Oh for a lodge in some vast wilderness,
Some boundless contiguity of shade,
Where rumour of oppression and deceit,
Of unsuccessful or successful war,
Might never reach me more.
Life is one long process of getting tired.
Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody's face but their own.
~Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books, 1704
Of the demonstrably wise there are but two: those who commit suicide, and those who keep their reasoning faculties atrophied by drink.
~Mark Twain, Note-Book, 1935
Why is it that we rejoice at a birth and grieve at a funeral? Is it because we are not the person involved?
~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
~George Bernard Shaw
Nothing is more miserable than man,
Of all upon the earth that breathes and creeps.
Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew.
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet
I hate to be near the sea, and to hear it raging and roaring like a wild beast in its den. It puts me in mind of the everlasting efforts of the human mind, struggling to be free and ending just where it began.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.
Not to be born at all would be the best thing for man, never to behold the sun's scorching rays; but if one is born, then one is to press as quickly as possible to the portals of Hades, and rest there under the earth.
We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs.
Men hate to be misunderstood, and to be understood makes them furious.
Things are not as bad as they seem. They are worse.
I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities. It is the only pleasure I have left.
He had the uneasy manner of a an who is not among his own kind, and who has not seen enough of the world to feel that all people are in some sense his own kind.
We semaphore from ship to ship, but they're sinking, too.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
Nothing begins, and nothing ends, that is not paid with moan; for we are born in other's pain, and perish in our own.
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.
~Ernest Hemingway (Thanks, Schanna)
Sometimes you wake up in the morning and wish your parents had never met.
We are adhering to life now with our last muscle - the heart.
The dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its meaninglessness.
[T]he army of wrongness rampant in the world might as well march over me.
~Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1958
I see it all perfectly: there are two possibilities, one can either do this or do that. My honest opinion and friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it, you will regret both.
Comfort, or revelation: God owes us one of these, but surely not both.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
Janie's a pretty typical teenager - angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her that's all going to pass, but I don't want to lie to her.
~Alan Ball, American Beauty, 1999
I like long walks, especially when they're taken by people who annoy me.
My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of the pessimists.
You're obliged to pretend respect for people and institutions you think absurd. You live attached in a cowardly fashion to moral and social conventions you despise, condemn, and know lack all foundation. It is that permanent contradiction between your ideas and desires and all the dead formalities and vain pretenses of your civilization which makes you sad, troubled and unbalanced. In that intolerable conflict you lose all joy of life and all feeling of personality, because at every moment they suppress and restrain and check the free play of your powers. That's the poisoned and mortal wound of the civilized world.
~Octave Mirbeau, Torture Garden
Youth is a blunder; Manhood a struggle; Old Age a regret.
~Benjamin Disraeli, Coningsby
I would ask something more of this world, if it had something more.
~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin
Happy endings are only stories that haven't finished yet.
~Simon Kinberg, Mr. & Mrs. Smith
It must be admitted that there are some parts of the soul which we must entirely paralyze before we can live happily in this world.
~Sébastien-Roch Nicolas de Chamfort
To have seen better days, as who has not
Who has seen yesterday?
~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Werner
Idealism is what precedes experience; cynicism is what follows.
~David T. Wolf
The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.
That I could clamber to the frozen moon
And draw the ladder after me.
I do not believe in revealed religion - I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without speculating on another.
~Lord Byron, 1778-1824, letter to Rev. Francis Hodgson, 1811
The mad are happy, the sane ignorant; those of us stuck on the sane side of madness or the mad fringe of sanity are in a purgatorial cage.
Many of us go through life feeling as an actor might feel who does not like his part, and does not believe in the play.
~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
If there be a hell upon earth, it is to be found in a melancholy man's heart.
~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
My heart is glass, daily shattered.
The enthusiastic, to those who are not, are always something of a trial.
All our lives we are putting pennies - our most golden pennies - into penny-in-the-slot machines that are almost always empty.
~Logan Pearsall Smith
I never knew whether to pity or congratulate a man on coming to his senses.
~William Makepeace Thackeray
Man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his very heaven.
~Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1892
Nine-tenths of the people were created so you would want to be with the other tenth.
Perhaps if we saw what was ahead of us, and glimpsed the crimes, follies, and misfortunes that would befall us later on, we would all stay in our mother's wombs, and then there would be nobody in the world but a great number of very fat, very irritated women.
I grieve for life's bright promise, just shown and then withdrawn.
~William Cullen Bryant
Medvedénko: "Why do you always wear black?"
Masha: "I am in mourning for my life."
~Anton Chekhov, The Seagull
There is nothing so pitiful as a young cynic because he has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.
~Maya Angelou, PBS, 28 March 1988
A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself and then says them about other people.
How I wish that somewhere there existed an island for those who are wise and of good will.
God made everything out of nothing. But the nothingness shows through.
~Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942
Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation.
~James Thurber, Further Fables for Our Time, 1956
This world is gradually becoming a place
Where I do not care to be any more.
Oftentimes, when people are miserable, they will want to make other people miserable, too. But it never helps.
The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.
~Charles de Gaulle
All my joys to this are folly,
Naught so sweet as melancholy.
~Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, 1651
You have come into a hard world. I know of only one easy place in it, and that is the grave.
~Henry Ward Beecher
Paradoxical as it sounds, many intellectuals prefer life in the mud to life in clear water.
~Martin H. Fischer
It's just life - wake up and smell the thorns.
~From the movie Meet Joe Black
I had a lover's quarrel with the world.
~Robert Frost, The Lesson for Today, 1942