Hated, revered, and sending people into an existential tizzy since 1940-something, Jean-Paul Sartre’s work remains crucial. Today would have been his 109th birthday. Intent on provoking us to “challenge every idea and every person,” Sartre’s assertions demanded we accept responsibility for our choices and our world, while embracing the inconceivable unknown. His devastating philosophies about being and nothingness continue to plunge people and their angst-ridden egos into the depths of an existential crisis. Mull these 30 quotes over the next time you’re contemplating the meaninglessness of it all, your place in this alien universe, and feeling trapped within the deeper recesses of your own psyche. After all, misery loves company.
“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.”
“Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.”
“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.”
“Hell is other people.”
“We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are — that is the fact.”