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Walter Benjamin quotes

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.

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.

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.

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.

The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.

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.

Living substance conquers the frenzy of destruction only in the ecstasy of procreation.

The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.

He who observes etiquette but objects to lying is like someone who dresses fashionably but wears no vest.

The only way of knowing a person is to love them without hope.

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector's passion borders on the chaos of memories.

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

Death is the sanction of everything the story-teller can tell. He has borrowed his authority from death.

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.

All disgust is originally disgust at touching.

Boredom is the dream bird that hatches the egg of experience. A rustling in the leaves drives him away.

The camera introduces us to unconscious optics as does psychoanalysis to unconscious impulses.

The destructive character lives from the feeling, not that life is worth living, but that suicide is not worth the trouble.

Books and harlots have their quarrels in public.

Opinions are a private matter. The public has an interest only in judgments.