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Etty Hillesum's Quotes

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Born: 1914-01-15
Profession: Lawyer
Nation: Dutch
Biography of Etty Hillesum

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Every day I shall put my papers in order and every day I shall say farewell. And the real farewell, when it comes, will only be a small outward confirmation of what has been accomplished within me from day to day.

Tags: Farewell, Real, Small

Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.

Tags: Moral, Others, Peace

I think what weakens people most is fear of wasting their strength.

Tags: Fear, Strength, Wasting

Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.

Tags: Between, Deep, Sometimes

Greed probably figures in my intellectual life as well, as I attempt to absorb a massive amount of information with consequent mental indigestion.

Tags: Greed, Life, Mental

I'm cautious about a lot of words.

Tags: Cautious, Words

It's very hard to know what wisdom is.

Tags: Hard, Wisdom

It's very important for men to look downward, to the next generation.

Tags: Generation, Men, Next

The word power has such a generally negative implication in our society. What are people talking about? Are they talking about muscles, or control?

Tags: Control, Power, Society

We carve out risk-free lives where nothing happens.

Tags: Carve, Happens, Lives

We have to give value to authority. We have to give value to office, being in office, holding office.

Tags: Give, Office, Value

We need to work on the world so it will not be so oppressive.

Tags: Oppressive, Work

The capacity for people to kid themselves is huge. Living on illusions or delusions, and the re-establishing of these illusions or delusions requires a big effort to keep them from being seen through. But a very old idea is at work behind our current state of affairs: enantiodromia, or the Greek notion of things turning into their opposite.

Tags: Living, Old, Work

I can't read all the books I want to read, I can't watch all the phenomena that interest me in the world. The work calls me, and sometimes I wonder whether this is an obsession and I should drop it, or it's a necessity I'm obliged to fulfill.

Tags: Read, Sometimes, Work

I see happiness as a by-product. I don't think you can pursue happiness. I think that phrase is one of the very few mistakes the Founding Fathers made.

Tags: Few, Happiness, Mistakes

Remember that in the early days of the feminist movement, they refused to have a leader; different women would just stand up and speak. The early feminists were very careful to not put what was spontaneously arising back in the old bottle.

Tags: Leader, Remember, Women

The circumstances, including my body and my parents, whom I may curse, are my soul's own choice and I do not understand this because I have forgotten.

Tags: May, Parents, Understand

The culture is going into a psychological depression. We are concerned about our place in the world, about being competitive: Will my children have as much as I have? Will I ever own my own home? How can I pay for a new car? Are immigrants taking away my white world?

Tags: Car, Children, Home

The elder who is eliminating what time has done to the face, what life has done to the face, is making a statement for others to see: This is the way to be a good old person - it is to defeat this body that is doing things to you. Because you haven't changed. Your body's changing.

Tags: Good, Life, Time

The older people that one admires seem to be fearless. They go right out into the world. It's astounding. Maybe they can't see or they can't hear, but they walk out into the street and take life as it comes. They're models of courage, in a strange way.

Tags: Courage, Life, Strange

Too many people have been analyzing their pasts, their childhoods, their memories, their parents, and realizing that it doesn't do anything-or that it doesn't do enough.

Tags: Enough, Memories, Parents

We're an air bag society that wants guarantees on everything that we buy. We want to be able to take everything back and get another one. We want a 401-k plan and Social Security.

Tags: Able, Another, Society

When they talk about family values, it's in a repressive way, as if our American tradition were only the Puritan tradition or the 19th century oppressive tradition. The Christian tradition.

Tags: Christian, Family, Talk

Instead of seeing depression as a dysfunction, it is a functioning phenomenon. It stops you cold, sets you down, makes you damn miserable.

Tags: Depression, Makes, Miserable

Everything that everyone is afraid of has already happened: The fragility of capitalism, which we don't want to admit; the loss of the empire of the United States; and American exceptionalism. In fact, American exceptionalism is that we are exceptionally backward in about fifteen different categories, from education to infrastructure.

Tags: Afraid, Education, Everyone

If you are still being hurt by an event that happened to you at twelve, it is the thought that is hurting you now.

Tags: Hurt, Hurting, Thought

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Much more quotes by Etty Hillesum below the page.

In the history of the treatment of depression, there was the dunking stool, purging of the bowels of black bile, hoses, attempts to shock the patient. All of these represent hatred or aggression towards what depression represents in the patient.

Tags: Black, Depression, History

Just stop for a minute and you'll realize you're happy just being. I think it's the pursuit that screws up happiness. If we drop the pursuit, it's right here.

Tags: Happiness, Happy, Here

We approach people the same way we approach our cars. We take the poor kid to a doctor and ask, What's wrong with him, how much will it cost, and when can I pick him up?

Tags: Car, Him, Poor

It is impossible to see the angel unless you first have a notion of it.

Tags: Angel, Impossible, Unless

We forget that the soul has its own ancestors.

Tags: Ancestors, Forget, Soul

Depression opens the door to beauty of some kind.

Tags: Beauty, Depression, Door

I think we're miserable partly because we have only one god, and that's economics.

Tags: Economics, God, Miserable

I'm the result of upbringing, class, race, gender, social prejudices, and economics. So I'm a victim again. A result.

Tags: Again, Result, Social

It's important to ask yourself, How am I useful to others? What do people want from me? That may very well reveal what you are here for.

Tags: May, Others, Yourself

Sooner or later something seems to call us onto a particular path... this is what I must do, this is what I've got to have. This is who I am.

Tags: Call, Path, Seems

Loss means losing what was We want to change but we don't want to lose. Without time for loss, we don't have time for soul.

Tags: Change, Soul, Time

We can't change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently.

Tags: Change, Ideas, Until

Psychotherapy theory turns it all on you: you are the one who is wrong. If a kid is having trouble or is discouraged, the problem is not just inside the kid; it's also in the system, the society.

Tags: Problem, Society, Wrong

I don't think anything changes until ideas change. The usual American viewpoint is to believe that something is wrong with the person.

Tags: American, Change, Wrong

The moment the angel enters a life it enters an environment. We are ecological from day one.

Tags: Angel, Life, Moment

You don't know what you're going to get into when you follow your bliss.

Tags: Bliss, Follow

All we can do when we think of kids today is think of more hours of school, earlier age at the computer, and curfews. Who would want to grow up in that world?

Tags: Age, School, Today

As Plotinus tells us, we elected the body, the parents, the place, and the circumstances that suited the soul and that, as the myth says, belongs to its necessity.

Tags: Parents, Place, Soul

Whether we like it or not, men have more of the offices, more of the higher jobs, more of the seats in Congress. Men need to re-examine what their power is. We need to understand how to use it.

Tags: Men, Power, Understand

You don't attack the grunts of Vietnam; you blame the theory behind the war. Nobody who fought in that war was at fault. It was the war itself that was at fault. It's the same thing with psychotherapy.

Tags: Blame, Nobody, War

Fear is a huge thing for older people.

Tags: Fear, Huge, Older

I know my own deficiencies, one of which is that I had lived away from America for such a long time. It's called expatriate.

Tags: America, Away, Time