José Ortega y Gasset

Ortega y Gasset

Spanish Liberal Philosopher and Essayist

Author Quotes

The cynic, a parasite of civilization, lives by denying it, for the very reason that he is convinced that it will not fail.

Thinking is the desire to gain reality by means of ideas.

The characteristic note of our time is the dire truth that, the mediocre soul, the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be mediocre, has the gall to assert its right to mediocrity, and goes on to impose itself where it can.

Our firmest convictions are apt to be the most suspect; they mark our limitations and our bounds. Life is a petty thing unless it is moved by the indomitable urge to extend its boundaries.

The type of human being we prefer reveals the contours of our heart.

Youth does not require reasons for living, it only needs pretexts.

To live is to feel oneself lost.

The essence of man is, discontent, divine discontent; a sort of love without a beloved, the ache we feel in a member we no longer have.

The difficulties which I meet with in order to realize my existence are precisely what awaken and mobilize my activities, my capacities.

The characteristic of the hour is that the commonplace mind, knowing itself to be commonplace, has the assurance to proclaim the rights of the commonplace and to impose them wherever it will.

Rancor is an outpouring of a feeling of inferiority.

Living is a constant process of deciding what we are going to do.

Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.

Law is born from despair of human nature.

I am I plus my circumstances.

Hatred is a feeling which leads to the extinction of values.

For the person for whom small things do not exist, the great is not great.

Excellence means when a man or woman asks of himself more than others do.

An 'unemployed' existence is a worse negation of life than death itself.

A revolution only lasts fifteen years, a period which coincides with the effectiveness of a generation.

Hatred is a feeling which leads to the extinction of values.

The only true revolt is creation - the revolt against nothingness.

When people talk of the “new morality” they are merely committing a new immorality and looking for a way of introducing contraband goods.

To live is to feel ourselves fatally obliged to exercise our liberty, to decide what we are going to be in this world. Not for a single moment is our activity of decision allowed to rest. Even when in desperation we abandon ourselves to whatever may happen, we have decided not to decide.

We live at a time when man believes himself fabulously capable of creation, but he does not know what to create. Lord of all things, he is not lord of himself. He feels lost amid his own abundance. With more means at its disposal, more knowledge, more techniques than ever, it turns out that the world today goes the same way as the worst of worlds that have been; it simply drifts.

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Spanish Liberal Philosopher and Essayist