There is no ladder out of any world; each world is rimless.

—Amy Leach, Things That Are

ANNA. Listen, Mr. Honesty! It is impolite to escort a lady and to spend the whole journey talking to her solely about your own honesty! It may be true, but at the very least it’s boring. Never talk to women about your own good qualities. Let them find out for themselves. When he was your age, my Nikolay, in the company of women, only used to sing songs and tell stories, but at the same time every woman knew what kind of man he was.

—Anton Chekhov, Ivanov

The day can be foreseen when silent natural creation will have yielded altogether to human creation, hideous and flashing, resounding with revolutionary and warlike clamors, humming with factories and trains, at last definitive and triumphant in the course of history — having completed its task on this earth, which was perhaps to prove that everything grandiose and staggering it could accomplish throughout thousands of years was not worth the fleeting scent of the wild rose, the olive grove, the beloved dog.

—Albert Camus, Notebooks

She had always enjoyed waking people who were asleep; and indeed it is as great an alteration to the state of a fellow-creature that we can make short of killing them or giving birth to them.

—Rebecca West, This Real Night

We are all… children of this universe. Not just Earth, or Mars, or this System, but the whole grand fireworks. And if we are interested in Mars at all, it is only because we wonder over our past and worry terribly about our possible future.

—Ray Bradbury, Mars and the Mind of Man

The story of M. De Bocquande’s grandfather. At school he is accused of an impropriety. He denies it. Locked up for three days. He denies it. “I cannot confess a wrong I didn’t do.” The father is informed. He gives his son three days to confess. Otherwise he will be a cabin boy (the family is rich). Locked up for three days. He comes out. “I cannot confess what I haven’t done.” The father, inflexible, sends him to sea as a cabin boy. The child grows up, spends his life at sea, becomes a captain. The father dies. He grows old. And on his death bed: “It was not I.”

—Albert Camus, Notebooks

In the midst of the self-importance of the contemporary generation there is revealed a sense of despair over being human.

—Søren Kierkegaard

I had a great chance to meet Chris Marker, once. I got to go outside of Paris, and he was editing, and he was starting to work in video, early video. So he took a camera and he filmed me for a while, and he had all these trims in a bin, and he said ‘This is a film project I’m working on, but I don’t touch it, because look inside.’ And inside the bin was a mother cat with her little newborn babies, and he said ‘I leave them alone, they are a priority. So now I work on the video until she takes them out and then I can go back to the film project.’

—Jim Jarmusch

In another time I guess I would have been content with filming girls and cats. But you don’t choose your time.

—Chris Marker

If I ever had a passion in the field of politics, it’s a passion for understanding. Understanding how people manage to live on a planet like ours. Understanding how they seek, how they try, how they make mistakes, how they get over them, how they learn, how they lose their way… That immediately put me on the side of the people who seek and make mistakes, as opposed to those who seek nothing, except to conserve, defend themselves, and deny all the rest.

—Chris Marker