Louis-Ferdinand Celine Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 116 quotes)
It happened, you see, after the war, when I saw people making money while the others were dying in the trenches. You saw it and you couldn't do anything about it. Then later I was at the League of Nations, and there I saw the light. I really saw the world was ruled by the Golden Calf, by Mammon! Oh, no kidding! Implacably. Social consciousness certainly came to me late.
If that's the case, hurrah for the crazy people! Look, Lola, do you remember a single name, for instance, of any of the soldiers killed in the Hundred Years War? Did you ever try to find out who any of them were? No! You see? You never tried. As far as you are concerned, they are as anonymous, as indifferent, as the last atom of that paperweight, as your morning bowel movement. Get into your head, Lola, that they died fot nothing! For absolutely nothing, the idiots! I say it and I'll say it again! I've proved it! The one thing that counts is life! In ten thousand years, I'll bet you, this war, remarkable as it may seem to us at present, will be utterly forgotten... Maybe here and there in the world a handful of scholars will argue about its causes or the dates of the principal hecatombs that made it famous. Up until now those are the only things about men that other men have thought worth remembering after a few centuries, a few years, or even a few hours... I don't believe in future, Lola...
We went there to grope for our happiness, which all the world was threatening with the utmost ferocity. We were ashamed of wanting what we wanted, but something had to be done about it all the same. Love is harder to give up than life. In this world we spend our time killing or adoring, or both together. "I hate you! I adore you!" We keep going, we fuel and refuel, we pass on our life to a biped of the next century, with frenzy, at any cost, as if it were the greatest of pleasures to perpetuate ourselves, as if, when all's said and done, it would make us immortal. One way or another, kissing is as indispensable as scratching.
In the whole of your absurd past you discover so much that's absurd, so much deceit and credulity, that it might be a good idea to stop being young this minute, to wait for youth to break away from you and pass you by, to watch it going away, receding in the distance, to see all its vanity, run your hand through the empty space it has left behind, take a last look at it, and then start moving, make sure your youth has really gone, and then calmly, all by yourself, cross to the other side of Time to see what people and things really look like.
She knew her duty inside and out. The prosperity of the cash drawer brought happiness to husband and wife. Not that Madame Puta was bad looking, not at all, she could even, like so many others, have been rather pretty, but she was so careful, so distrustful that she stopped short of beauty just as she stopped short of life—her hair was a little too well dressed, her smile a little too facile and sudden, and her gestures a bit too abrupt or too furtive. You racked your brains trying to figure out what was too calculated about her and why you always felt uneasy when she came near you. This instinctive revulsion that shopkeepers inspire in anyone who goes near them who knows what's what, is one of the few consolations for being as down at heel as people who don't sell anything to anybody tend to be.
But when you are week the best way to fortify yourself is to strip the people you fear of the last bit of prestige you’re still inclined to give them. Learn to consider them they are, worse than they are in fact and from every point of view. That will release you, set you free, protect you more than you can possibly imagine. It will give you another self. There will be two of you. That will strip their words and deeds of the obscene mystical fascination that weakens you and makes you waste your time. From then on you’ll find their act no more amusing, no more relevant to your inner progress than that of the lowliest pig.
The best way to make a sort of peace, a fragile armistice to be sure, but precious all the same, with men, officers or not, is to let them bask and wallow in childish self-glorification. There’s no such thing as intelligent vanity. It’s an instinct. And you’ll never find a man who is not first and formenost vain. The role of admiring doormat is about the only one that one man is glad to tolerate in another. With these soldiers I had no need to tax my imagination.
I've never been able to forget the infinite little smile of pure affection that danced across his livid face. Enough gaiety to fill the universe. Few people past twenty preserve any of the affection, the affection of animals. This world isn't what we expected. So our looks change! They change plenty! We made a mistake! And turned into a thorough stinker in next to no time! Past twenty it shows in our face! A mistake! Our face is just a mistake!
The religion of the flag promptly replaced the cult of heaven, an old cloud which had already been deflated by the Reformation and reduced to a network of episcopal money boxes. In olden times the fanatical fashion was: 'Long live Jesus! Burn the heretics!' . . . But heretics, after all, were few and voluntary . . . Whereas today vast hordes of men are fired with aim and purpose by cries of ‘Hang the limp turnips! The juiceless lemons! The innocent readers! By the millions, eyes right!’ If anybody doesn’t want to fight or murder, grab ‘em, tear ‘em to pieces! Kill them in thirteen juicy ways. For a starter, to teach them how to live, rip their guts out of their bodies, their eyes out of their sockets, and the years out of their filthy slobbering lives!
Dreams rise in the darkness and catch fire from the mirage of moving light. What happens on the screen isn't quite real; it leaves open a vague cloudy space for the poor, for dreams and the dead. Hurry hurry, cream yourself full of dreams to carry you through the life that's waiting for you outside, when you leave here, to help you last a few days more in that nightmare of things and people. Among the dreams, choose the ones most likely to warm your soul. I have to confess that I picked the sexy ones. No point in being proud; when it comes to miracles, take the ones that will stay with you.
It is, I believe, one of the few dangerous forms of eccentricity, a highly contagious mania, to be precise, of the rampant social variety! In your friend's case, we may not yet be dealing with out-and-out insanity . . . No . . . Maybe his trouble is only exaggerated conviction . . . But the contagious manias are well known to me! . . . I've known a good many sufferers from conviction mania . . . Of many different types . . . And in the last analysis, those who talk about justice seem to be the maddest of the lot! . . . At first, I must confess, I took a certain interest in justice fanatics . . . Today those particular maniacs annoy and exasperate me more than I can tell . . . Don't you feel the same way? . . . Human beings show a strange aptitude for transmitting this mania. It terrifies me, and we find it, mind you, in all human beings!