Famous Quotes About Futility
Browse 107 famous quotes and sayings about Futility.
Top Quotes About Futility
1. "The silence of the storm weighs heavilyOn their strained spirits: sometimes one will saySome trivial thing as though to ward awayMysterious powers, that imminently lieIn wait, with the strong exorcising graceOf everyday's futility. DesireBecomes upon a sudden a crystal fire,Defined and hard: If he could kiss her face,Could kiss her hair! As if by chance, her handBrushes on his ... Ah, can she understand?Or is she pedestalled above the touchOf his desire? He wonders: dare he seekFrom her that little, that infinitely much?And suddenly she kissed him on the cheek."
Author: Aldous Huxley
2. "If it were true, that old legend about appearing before a supreme judge and naming one's record, I would offer, with all my pride, not any act I committed, but one thing I have never done on this earth: that I never sought an outside sanction. I would stand and say: I am Gail Wynand, the man who has committed every crime except the foremost one: that of ascribing futility to the wonderful act of existence and seeking justification beyond myself. This is my pride: that now, thinking of the end, I don not cry like all the men of my age: but what was the use and the meaning? I was the use and meaning. I, Gail Wynand. That I lived and that I acted."
Author: Ayn Rand
3. "Hence the sterile, uninspiring futility of a great many theoretical discussions of ethics, and the resentment which many people feel towards such discussions: moral principles remain in their minds as floating abstractions, offering them a goal they cannot grasp and demanding that they reshape their souls in its image, thus leaving them with a burden of undefinable moral guilt."
Author: Ayn Rand
4. "Like night, the desert is boundless, comfortless and infinite. Like night, it intrigues the mind and leads it to futility. When you have flown halfway across a desert, you experience the desperation of a sleepless man waiting for dawn which only comes when the importance of it's coming is lost. You fly forever, weary with an invariable scene, and when you are at last released from its monotony, you remember nothing of it because there was nothing there."
Author: Beryl Markham
5. "Sharing is the essence of teaching. It is, I have come to believe, the essence of civilization . . . Without it, the imagination is but the echo of the self, trapped in a soundproof chamber, reverberating upon itself until it is spent in exhaustion or futility"
Author: Bill Moyers
6. "(He) mourned mankind, and the blindness of men, who thought that the Kosmos had rules and limits that would shelter them from their own freedom. There were no shelters. There were no final purposes. Futility, and freedom, were Absolute"
Author: Bruce Sterling
7. "Heat magazine - the tittering idiot's lunchbreak-pamphlet-of-choice - has caused a bad stink by printing a collection of comedy stickers in its latest issue. Said stickers are clearly designed to be stuck round the fringes of computer monitors by the magazine's bovine readership in a desperate bid to transform their veal-fattening workstation pen into a miniature Chuckle Kingdom and thereby momentarily distract them from the bleak futility of their wasted, Heat-reading lives"
Author: Charlie Brooker
8. "A bad map is worse than no map at all for it engendered in the traveler a false confidence and might easily cause him to set aside these instincts which would otherwise guide him if he would but place himself in their care. He said that to follow a false map was to invite disaster. He gestured at the sketching in the dirt. As if to invite them to behold its futility. The second man on the bench nodded his agreement in this and said that the map in question was a folly and that the dogs in the street would piss upon it."
Author: Cormac McCarthy
9. "Having lived among the owning classes, he knew the utter futility of expecting any solution of the wage-squabble. There was no solution, short of death. The only thing was not to care, not to care about the wages.Yet, if you were poor and wretched, you had to care. Anyhow, it was becoming the only thing they did care about. The care about money was like a great cancer, eating away the individuals of all classes. He refused to care about money.And what then? What did life offer apart from the care of money? Nothing."
Author: D.H. Lawrence
10. "...he arrived late at the office, perceived that his doing so made no difference whatever to any one, and was filled with sudden exasperation at the elaborate futility of his life"
Author: Edith Wharton
11. "There is an increasingly pervasive sense not only of failure, but of futility. The legislative process has become a cruel shell game and the service system has become a bureaucratic maze, inefficient, incomprehensible, and inaccessible."
Author: Elliot Richardson
12. "The same feeling of not belonging, of futility, wherever I go: I pretend interest in what matters nothing to me, I bestir myself mechanically or out of charity, without ever being caught up, without ever being somewhere. What attracts me is elsewhere, and I don't know where that elsewhere is."
Author: Emil Cioran
13. "Since all life is futility, then the decision to exist must be the most irrational of all."
Author: Emile M. Cioran
14. "Housework is a treadmill from futility to oblivion with stop-offs at tedium and counter productivity."
Author: Erma Bombeck
15. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it without a sense of ironic futility."
Author: Errol Morris
16. "I must hold in balance the sense of the futility of effort and the sense of the necessity to struggle; the conviction of the inevitability of failure and still the determination to 'succeed'-and, more than these, the contradiction between the dead hand of the past and the high intentions of the future. If I could do this through the common ills-domestic, professional and personal-then the ego would continue as an arrow shot from nothingness to nothingness with such force that only gravity would bring it to earth at last."
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
17. "Closing the last chapter of our personal history and taking the first step on the Journey will come with the recognition of the futility of spiritual seeking."
Author: Frank M. Wanderer
18. "It becomes obvious the moment we acknowledge the futility of breeding men for special qualities as we breed cocks for game, greyhounds for speed, or sheep for mutton. What is really important in Man is the part of him that we do not yet understand. Of much of it we are not even conscious, just as we are not normally conscious of keeping up our circulation by our heart pump, though if we reject it we die. We are therefore driven to the conclusion that when we have carried selection as far as we can by rejecting from the list of eligible parents all persons who are uninteresting, unpromising, or blemished without any set-off, we shall have to trust to the guidance of fancy (alias Voice of Nature), both in the breeders and the parents, for that superiority in the unconscious self which will be the true characteristic of the Superman."
Author: George Bernard Shaw
19. "I had to grow foul with knowledge, realize the futility of everything; smash everything, grow desperate, then humble, then sponge myself off the slate, as it were, in order to recover my authenticity. I had to arrive at the brink and then take a leap in the dark."
Author: Henry Miller
20. "The futility of everything that comes to us from the media is the inescapable consequence of the absolute inability of that particular stage to remain silent. Music, commercial breaks, news flashes, adverts, news broadcasts, movies, presenters—there is no alternative but to fill the screen; otherwise there would be an irremediable void.... That's why the slightest technical hitch, the slightest slip on the part of the presenter becomes so exciting, for it reveals the depth of the emptiness squinting out at us through this little window."
Author: Jean Baudrillard
21. "Thus pleasure itself, also becoming a right, lost its aggressive futility."
Author: Jean Paul Sartre
22. "My mother was a pathetic patchwork witch who had used magic so much to meddle in her own life that she had no integrity left and was nothing but a coil of hatreds consuming themselves in futility. We had already hedged her power, with the help of the fairies."
Author: Jo Walton
23. "It was the masterful and incommunicable wisdom of eternity laughing at the futility of life and the effort of life.(Into the wild)"
Author: Jon Krakauer
24. "Chipper intuited that this feeling of futility would be a fixture in his life. A dull waiting and then a broken promise, a panicked realization of how late it was.This futility had let's call it a flavor."
Author: Jonathan Franzen
25. "I was hell-bent on being an effective humanitarian in Cambodia and Somalia. But a naïve fog is finally lifting. Revealed is a train wreck of illusions, the depravity of someone else's war, the futility of a competence stillborn there. To understand this you have to become this."
Author: Kenneth Cain
26. "Valkyrie, I will get answers from you one way or another. Either through this painful exercise in futility, as you believe, or through a civilized conversation.""You call this civilized?" She strained against her cuffs, leaning in to whisper, "Psst, Chase. The sexual tension between us is grueling."
Author: Kresley Cole
27. "(...) a Universe composed of one-trillionth part matter to one decillion parts black velvet futility."
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
28. "He was talking about the sign that said 'THE COMPLICATED FUTILITY OF IGNORANCE.''All knew was that I didn't want my daughter or anybody's child to see a message that negative every time she comes into the library,' he said. 'And then I found out it was you who was responsible for it.''What's so negative about it?' I said.'What could be a more negative word than "futility"?' he said.'"Ignorance,"' I said."
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
29. "Olivia watched him through a blur of tears, despising the futility of it. For there was nothing she could say to comfort a man whose family was long dead; there was no balm to heal wounds that scored a man's soul; and there was no way to make a man believe in the ties that bind."
Author: Laura Lee Guhrke
30. "Suddenly the clouds seem high above us. They're moving over us in an arch, circling the planet. They have seen abysmal oceans and charred, scorched islands. They have seen how we destroyed the world. If I could see everything, as the clouds do, would I swirl around this remaining continent, still so full of color and life and seasons, wanting to protect it? Or would I just laugh at the futility of it all, and meander onward, down the earth's sloping atmosphere?"
Author: Lauren DeStefano
31. "There is indeed a great deal of futility amongst the human race which we do not commonly see, for it all forms part of our illusion; but let a man be much annoyed by something that others do, so that he is separated from them and has to leave them, and looks back at what they are doing, and he'll see at once all manner of whimsical absurdities that he had not noticed before; and Ramon Alonzo in the shade of his oak, waiting for the noon to go by, grew very contemptuous of the attitude that the world took up towards shadows."
Author: Lord Dunsany
32. "Whereis my second road to the staircase of expanse? Whereis futility? Where is the road to the road?And where are we, the marching on the footpath of the presenttense, where are we? Our talk a predicateand a subject before the sea, and the elusive foamof speech the dots on the letters,wishing for the present tense a footholdon the pavement …"
Author: Mahmoud Darwish
33. "What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, criscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be."
Author: Margaret Atwood
34. "Life itself was only futility, vain words, a squabble of cap and bells."
Author: Michel Foucault
35. "Few beings have ever been so impregnated, pierced to the core, by the conviction of the absolute futility of human aspiration. The universe is nothing but a furtive arrangement of elementary particles. A figure in transition toward chaos. That is what will finally prevail. The human race will disappear. Other races in turn will appear and disappear. The skies will be glacial and empty, traversed by the feeble light of half-dead stars. These too will disappear. Everything will disappear. And human actions are as free and as stripped of meaning as the unfettered movements of the elementary particles. Good, evil, morality, sentiments? Pure ‘Victorian fictions.' All that exists is egotism. Cold, intact, and radiant."
Author: Michel Houellebecq
36. "What he yearned for at that moment, vaguely but with all his might, was unbounded music, absolute sound, a pleasant and happy all-encompassing, over-powering, window-rattling din to engulf, once and for all, the pain, the futility, the vanity of words. Music was the negation of sentences, music was the anti-word!"
Author: Milan Kundera
37. "Superficially my war was a comfortable exercise in futility carried out in a grand Scottish hotel amongst the bridge players and swillers of easy-come-by whisky. My chest got me out of active service and into guilt, as I wrote two, or is it three of the novels for which I am now acclaimed."
Author: Patrick White
38. "You can't make everybody love you. It's an exercise in futility, and it's probably not even a good idea to try."
Author: Robert Crumb
39. "First is the danger of futility; the belief there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills — against misery and ignorance, injustice and violence. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation, a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth, and a young woman reclaimed the territory of France. It was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and 32-year-old Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed that all men are created equal. "Give me a place to stand," said Archimedes, "and I will move the world." These men moved the world, and so can we all."
Author: Robert F. Kennedy
40. "My life as a professional musician is a joyless exercise in futility."
Author: Robert Fripp
41. "Tony's concern disintegrated. He could not understand C.J.'s determination to court death on a daily basis. Or maybe he did understand, and this was what caused his frustration. So many found the same solution his brother had. Selling death to their own people. The money was a difficult lure to resist. Additionally, the fear elicited from their hard core posturing proved nearly as addictive. They demanded to be heard, even though it didn't seem they had much to say. Perhaps the futility and smallness that characterized their lives was too overwhelming to articulate in any manner other than a primitive, incoherent scream. Maybe it was inevitable that those who felt they had no stake in society would opt to destroy it."
Author: Roy L. Pickering Jr.
42. "Go ahead into life, full-blooded, courageous and leap for the adventure. But you must do it soon—before the summer of your youth has cooled off into caution. You are magnificently charming—and you come like a torrent. But you will be spent on the futility of little things. You are not a watercolor. You are carved out of life—and there can be no petty hesitancies about you."
Author: Ruth Reichl
43. "You may look back on your life and accept it as good or evil. But it is far, far harder to admit that you have been completely unimportant; that in the great sum of things all a man's endless grapplings are no more significant than the scuttlings of a cockroach. The universe is neither friendly nor hostile. It is merely indifferent. This makes me ecstatic. I have reached a nirvana of negativity. I can look futility in the face and still see promise in the stars."
Author: Sebastian Horsley
44. "Reverie by the open window in the sweet futility of a mild evening was yet to strike the Australian male as a requirement. (There would be the question of fly screens, for one thing.)"
Author: Shirley Hazzard
45. "This is what it is to be human: to see the essential existential futility of all action, all striving -- and to act, to strive. This is what it is to be human: to reach forever beyond your grasp. This is what it is to be human: to live forever or die trying. This is what it is to be human: to perpetually ask the unanswerable questions, in the hope that the asking of them will somehow hasten the day when they will be answered. This is what it is to be human: to strive in the face of the certainty of failure. This is what it is to be human: to persist."
Author: Spider Robinson
46. "If man merely sat back and thought about his impending termination, and his terrifying insignificance and aloneness in the cosmos, he would surely go mad, or succumb to a numbing sense of futility. Why, he might ask himself, should he bother to write a great symphony, or strive to make a living, or even to love another, when he is no more than a momentary microbe on a dust mote whirling through the unimaginable immensity of space? Those of us who are forced by their own sensibilities to view their lives in this perspective — who recognize that there is no purpose they can comprehend and that amidst a countless myriad of stars their existence goes unknown and unchronicled — can fall prey all too easily to the ultimate anomie. The world's religions, for all their parochialism, did supply a kind of consolation for this great ache."
Author: Stanley Kubrick
47. "The meaning of man's life, as we have seen, is not measured by what he has, but by what he is. No matter how many possessions we have amassed, how much wealth we have accrued, how respected and secure our position is in society, how numerous the pieces of information we have accumulated, in moments of lucidity we may still abruptly perceive the dreadful futility of it all, the overwhelming emptiness and pointlessness of such a life."
Author: Stephen Batchelor
48. "As the situation developed, the futility of attempting suicide in the middle of a hospital became apparent."
Author: Stieg Larsson
49. "He feels a second pang now for the existence of perfection, the stubborn existence of perfection in the most vulnerable of things and in the face of his refusal-logical-admirable refusal-to engage with this existence in his heart, in his mind. For the comfortless logic, the curse of clear sight, no matter which string he pulls on the same wretched knot: (a) the futility of seeing given the fatality in a place such as this where a mother still bloody must bury her newborn, hose off, and go home to pound yam into paste; (b) the persistence of beauty, in fragility of all places!, in a dewdrop at daybreak, a thing that will end, and in moments, and in a garden, and in Ghana, lush Ghana, soft Ghana, verdant Ghana, where fragile things die."
Author: Taiye Selasi
50. "Baseball is known for superstitious players and cursed teams—and at the root of every curse there's a story. Boston's curse was to trade Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Cubs fans claim a billy goat is responsible for their futility. And Cleveland's curse? The club struggled after its Pennant-winning 1954 season, but it was rich with optimism just two years later as an onslaught of new talent promised to lift the club once more to the ranks of baseball's elite—and by 1959 the club was contending for the Pennant again. And then GM Frank Lane traded Rocky Colavito to the Detroit Tigers and cursed everything."
Author: Tucker Elliot
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