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Kraus, Karl

  • The esthete stands in the same relation to beauty as the pornographer stands to love, and the politician stands to life.

  • An aphorism can never be the whole truth; it is either a half-truth or a truth-and-a-half.

  • Children play soldier. That makes sense. But why do soldiers play children?

  • Only he is an artist who can make a riddle out of a solution.

  • A child learns to discard his ideals, whereas a grown-up never wears out his short pants.

  • My unconscious knows more about the consciousness of the psychologist than his consciousness knows about my unconscious.

  • Artists have a right to be modest and a duty to be vain.

  • Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.

  • Squeeze human nature into the straitjacket of criminal justice and crime will appear.

  • Culture is the tacit agreement to let the means of subsistence disappear behind the purpose of existence. Civilization is the subordination of the latter to the former.

  • The secret of the demagogue is to appear as dumb as his audience so that these people can believe themselves as smart as he is.

  • The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are.

  • The discovery of the North Pole is one of those realities which could not be avoided. It is the wages which human perseverance pays itself when it thinks that something is taking too long. The world needed a discoverer of the North Pole, and in all areas of social activity, merit was less important here than opportunity.

  • The sound principle of a topsy-turvy lifestyle in the framework of an upside-down world order has stood every test.

  • Adults who still derive childlike pleasure from hanging gifts of a ready-made education on the Christmas tree of a child waiting outside the door to life do not realize how unreceptive they are making the children to everything that constitutes the true surprise of life.

  • Education is a crutch with which the foolish attack the wise to prove that they are not idiots.

  • It is the style of idealism to console itself for the loss of something old with the ability to gape at something new.

  • My language is the common prostitute that I turn into a virgin.

  • Democracy divides people into workers and loafers. It makes no provision for those who have no desire to work.

  • Sentimental irony is a dog that bays at the moon while pissing on graves.

  • Journalist: a person without any ideas but with an ability to express them; a writer whose skill is improved by a deadline: the more time he has, the worse he writes.

  • Justice is a whore that won't let herself be stiffed, and collects the wages of shame even from the poor.

  • Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden.

  • If one reads a newspaper only for information, one does not learn the truth, not even the truth about the paper.

  • The agitator seizes the word. The artist is seized by it.

  • Matrimony often is  the union of meanness and martyrdom.

  •  Nature can rely on progress; but it will avenge it for the outrage it has perpetrated on it.

  • Progress, under whose feet the grass mourns and the forest turns into paper from which newspaper plants grow, has subordinated the purpose of life to the means of subsistence and turned us into the nuts and bolts for our tools.

  • The psychoanalysts pick our dreams as if they were our pockets.

  • The ultimate aim of psychoanalysis is to attribute art to mental weakness, and then to trace the weakness back to the point where, according to analytic dogma, it originated--namely, the lavatory.

  • Science is spectral analysis. Art is light synthesis.

  • Scandal begins when the police put a stop to it.

  • Sexuality poorly repressed unsettles some families; well repressed, it unsettles the whole world.

  • Stupidity gets up early; that is why events are accustomed to happening in the morning.

  • Truth is a clumsy servant that breaks the dishes while washing them.

  • War: first, one hopes to win; then one expects the enemy to lose; then, one is satisfied that he too is suffering; in the end, one is surprised that everyone has lost.

  • When a culture feels that its end has come, it sends for a poet.

  • How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.

  • Experiences are savings which a miser puts aside. Wisdom is an inheritance which a wastrel cannot exhaust.

  • The closer the look one takes at a word, the greater distance from which it looks back.

  • The world is a prison. That's why solitary confinement is the best place in it.