Quotes by Karl Kraus

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Karl Kraus (April 28, 1874 - June 12, 1936) was an eminent Austrian writer and journalist, known as a satirist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, and poet. He is generally considered one of the foremost German-language satirists of ...

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Do not learn more than you absolutely need to get through life.

If the reporter has killed our imagination with his truth, he threatens our life with his lies.
He who sleeps half a day has won half a life.
Language is the mother of thought, not its handmaiden.
Matrimony is the union of meanness and martyrdom.
Democracy means the opportunity to be everyone's slave.
How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.
Intercourse with a woman is sometimes a satisfactory substitute for masturbation. But it takes a lot of imagination to make it work.
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.
A man's eroticism is a woman's sexuality.
Education is a crutch with which the foolish attack the wise to prove that they are not idiots.
Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country.
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.
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.
The closer the look one takes at a word, the greater distance from which it looks back.
The press, that goiter of the world, swells up with the desire for conquest and bursts with the achievements which every day brings. A week has room for the boldest climax of the human drive for expansion.
In these great times which I knew when they were this small; which will become small again, provided they have time left for it in these times in which things are happening that could not be imagined and in which what can no longer be imagined must happen, for if one could imagine it, it would not happen; in these serious times which have died laughing at the thought that they might become serious; which, surprised by their own tragedy, are reaching for diversion and, catching themselves red-handed, are groping for words... in these times you should not expect any words of my own from me -- none but these words which barely manage to prevent silence from being misinterpreted.
The immorality of men triumphs over the amorality of women.
Morality is a venereal disease. Its primary stage is called virtue; its secondary stage, boredom; its tertiary stage, syphilis.
News reports stand up as people, and people wither into editorials. Clich?s walk around on two legs while men are having theirs shot off.
Progress celebrates victories over nature. Progress makes purses out of human skin. When people were traveling in mail coaches, the world got ahead better than it does now that salesmen fly through the air. What good is speed if the brain has oozed out on the way? How will the heirs of this age be taught the most basic motions that are necessary to activate the most complicated machines? Nature can rely on progress; 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.
When a culture feels that its end has come, it sends for a priest.
Scandal begins when the police put a stop to it.
Science is spectral analysis. Art is light synthesis.
The world has become uglier since it began to look into a mirror every day; so let us settle for the mirror image and do without an inspection of the original.
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.
Sentimental irony is a dog that bays at the moon while pissing on graves.
Democracy divides people into workers and loafers. It makes no provision for those who have no time to work.
It is the style of idealism to console itself for the loss of something old with the ability to gape at something new.
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.
The sound principle of a topsy-turvy lifestyle in the framework of an upside-down world order has stood every test.
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.
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.
Squeeze human nature into the straitjacket of criminal justice and crime will appear.
My unconscious knows more about the consciousness of the psychologist than his consciousness knows about my unconscious.
A child learns to discard his ideals, whereas a grown-up never wears out his short pants.
Children play soldier. That makes sense. But why do soldiers play children?
Experiences are savings which a miser puts aside. Wisdom is an inheritance which a wastrel cannot exhaust.
This is something that I cannot get over -- that a whole line could be written by half a man, that a work could be built on the quicksand of a character.
A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer.