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Simone De Beauvoir Quotes & Sayings

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Simone De Beauvoir Quotes 2262149

The tie that binds her to her oppressors is unlike any other. The division of the sexes is a biological given, not a moment in human history. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Being on the fringes of the world is not the best place for someone who intends to re-create it: here again, to go beyond the given, one must be deeply rooted in it. Personal accomplishments are almost impossible in human categories collectively kept in an inferior situation. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Cooking is revolution and creation ... — Simone De Beauvoir

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Tragedies are all right for a while: you are concerned, you are curious, you feel good. And then it gets repetitive, it doesn't advance, it grows dreadfully boring: it is so very boring, even for me. — Simone De Beauvoir

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You have never had any confidence in him. And if he has no confidence in himself it is because he sees himself through your eyes. — Simone De Beauvoir

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One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The characteristic feature of all ethics is to consider human life as a game that can be won or lost and to teach man the means of winning. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Legislators, priests, philosophers, writers, ans scientists have striven to show that the subordinate position of woman is willed in heaven and advantageous on earth. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Jealousy is not contemptible, real love has a beak and claws. — Simone De Beauvoir

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There is a poetry in making preserves; the housewife has caught duration in the snare of sugar, she has enclosed life in jars. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I tried to love you less.I couldn't. — Simone De Beauvoir

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It is a mistake to seek in fantasies the key to concrete behaviour; for fantasies are created and cherished as fantasies. The little girl who dreams of violation with mingled horror and acquiescence does not really wish to be violated and if such a thing should happen it would be a hateful calamity. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The day had been spent in the expectation of these hours, and now they were crumbling away, becoming, in their turn, another period of expectancy ... It was a journey without end, leading to an indefinite future, eternally shifting just as she was reaching the present. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The role of a retired person is no longer to possess one. — Simone De Beauvoir

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History took hold of me and never let me go thereafter. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish ... You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger. — Simone De Beauvoir

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History is a great cemetery: men, deeds, ideas are always dying as soon as they are born. — Simone De Beauvoir

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To protest in the name of morality against 'excesses' or 'abuses' is an error which hints on active complicity. There are no 'abuses' or 'excesses' here, simpily an all-pervasive system. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Women's actions have never been more than symbolic agitation; they have won only what men have been willing to concede to them; they have taken nothing; they have received.5 It is that they lack the concrete means to organize themselves into a unit that could posit itself in opposition. They have no past, no history, no religion of their own; and unlike the proletariat, they have no solidarity of labor or interests; they even lack their own space that makes communities of American blacks, the Jews in ghettos, or the workers in Saint-Denis or Renault factories. They live dispersed among men, tied by homes, work, economic interests, and social conditions to certain men - fathers or husbands - more closely than to other women. As bourgeois women, they are in solidarity with bourgeois men and not with women proletarians; as white women, they are in solidarity with white men and not with black women. — Simone De Beauvoir

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They don't like being seen through: as for me I'm straight I don't join their act I tear masks off. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Alone: for the first time I understood the terrible significance of that word. Alone without a witness, without anyone to speak to, without refuge. The breath in my body, the blood in my veins, all this hurly-burly in my head existed for nobody. — Simone De Beauvoir

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To abstain from politics is in itself a political attitude. — Simone De Beauvoir

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From the origins of humanity, their biological privilege enabled men to affirm themselves alone as sovereign subjects; they never abdicated this privilege; they alienated part of their existence in Nature and in Woman; but they won it back afterward; condemned to play the role of the Other, woman was thus condemned to possess no more than precarious power: slave or idol, she was never the one who chose her lot. "Men make gods and women worship them," said Frazer; it is men who decide if their supreme divinities will be females or males; the place of woman in society is always the one they assign her; at no time has she imposed her own law. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Defending the truth is not something one does out of a sense of duty or to allay guilt complexes, but is a reward in itself. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Tonight, once more, life sinks its teeth into my heart. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The misfortune is that although everyone must come to [death], each experiences the adventure in solitude. We never left Maman during those last days ... and yet we were profoundly separated from her. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The time that one gains cannot be accumulated in a storehouse; it is contradictory to want to save up existence, which, the fact is, exists only by being spent and there is a good case for showing that airplanes, machines, the telephone, and the radio do not make men of today happier than those of former times. — Simone De Beauvoir

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But I was brought up on convent morals and paternal nationalism, I was getting bogged down in contradictions. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I hadn't known Chancel very well, but ten days earlier I had seen him laughing with the others around the Christmas tree. Maybe Robert was right; the distance between the living and the dead really isn't very great. And yet, like myself, those future corpses who were drinking their coffee in silence appeared ashamed to be so alive. — Simone De Beauvoir

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They [Americans] want to believe that Good and Evil can be defined in precise categories, that Good is already, or will be easily achieved ... if this optimism appears too superficial, they will try to create a kind of anti-God: the U.S.S.R. That is Evil, and it only needs to be annihilated to re-establish the reign of Good. — Simone De Beauvoir

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At night I would climb the steps to the Sacre-Coeur, and I would watch Paris, that futile oasis, scintillating in the wilderness of space. I would weep, because it was so beautiful, and because it was so useless. — Simone De Beauvoir

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What would Prince Charming have for occupation if he had not to awaken the Sleeping beauty? — Simone De Beauvoir

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We always come back to the same vicious circle - an extreme degree of material or intellectual poverty does away with the means of alleviating it. — Simone De Beauvoir

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To be oneself, simply oneself, is so amazing and utterly unique an experience that it's hard to convince oneself so singular a thing happens to everybody. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Youth and what the Italians so prettily call stamina. The vigor, the fire, that enables you to love and create. When you've lost that, you've lost everything. — Simone De Beauvoir

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It's only arrogance if you're wrong. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Even if one is neither vain nor self-obsessed, it is so extraordinary to be oneself - exactly oneself and no one else - and so unique, that it seems natural that one should also be unique for someone else. — Simone De Beauvoir

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But this element of failure is a very condition of his life; one can never dream of eliminating it without immediately dreaming of death. This does not mean that one should consent to failure, but rather one must consent to struggle against it without respite. — Simone De Beauvoir

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It must be said in addition that the men with the most scrupulous respect for embryonic life are also those who are most zealous when it comes to condemning adults to death in war. — Simone De Beauvoir

Simone De Beauvoir Quotes 377734

The terms masculine and feminine are
used symmetrically only as a matter of form, as on legal
papers. In actuality the relation of the two sexes is not quite
like that of two electrical poles, for man represents both the
positive and the neutral, as is indicated by the common use of
man to designate human beings in general ; whereas woman
represents only the negative, defined by limiting criteria, without
reciprocity. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Freedom is the source from which all significations and all values spring. It is the original condition of all justification of existence. — Simone De Beauvoir

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One of the problems he will seek to solve is how to make his wife both a servant and a companion; his attitude will evolve throughout the centuries, and this will also entail an evolution in woman's destiny.11 — Simone De Beauvoir

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If you live long enough, you'll see that every victory turns into a defeat. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I could easily understand why Lambert was bored with this peace which gave us back our lives without giving us back our reasons for living. — Simone De Beauvoir

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To be free is not to have the power to do anything you like; it is to be able to surpass the given toward an open future. — Simone De Beauvoir

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It is not mere chance that makes families speak of a child who is 'extraordinary for his age' and also of an old man who is 'extraordinary for his age'; the extraordinariness lies in their behaving like human beings when they are either not yet or no longer men. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Immortality is a terrible curse. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Why does one exist? That's not my problem. One does exist. The thing to do is to take no notice but go at it on the run and to keep on going right on until you die. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Charity is all very nice,but people want to get something out of it.That's the principle of charity affairs. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Scriassine studied me in turn. "You're not so dumb, you know. Generally I dislike intelligent women, maybe because they're not intelligent enough. They always want to prove to themselves, and to everyone else, how terribly smart they are. So all they do is talk and never understand anything. What struck me the first time I saw you was that way you have of keeping quiet. — Simone De Beauvoir

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There is not a single line in this diary that does not call for a correction or a denial ... Yes: throughout these pages I meant what I was writing and I meant the opposite; reading them again I feel completely lost ... I was lying to myself. How I lied to myself! — Simone De Beauvoir

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When Goya was 80 he drew an ancient man propped on two sticks, with a great mass of white hair and beard all over his face, and the inscription, "I am still learning." — Simone De Beauvoir

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To show your true ability is always, in a sense, to surpass the limits of your ability, to go a little beyond them: to dare, to seek, to invent; it is at such a moment that new talents are revealed, discovered, and realized — Simone De Beauvoir

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If I were to share Jaques' existence I would find it hard to hold my own against him, for already I found his nihilism contagious. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I was made for another planet altogether. I mistook the way. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Writing is a trade ... which is learned by writing. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Living by proxy is always a precarious expedient. — Simone De Beauvoir

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One afternoon Clairaut came over to me with a book in his hand: "Mademoiselle de Beauvoir," he began, in an inquisitorial tone, "what do you make of Brochard who is of the opinion that Aristotle's God would be able to experience sexual pleasure?" Herbaud cast him a disdainful look: "I should hope so, for his sake," he haughtily replied. — Simone De Beauvoir

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He reflected. 'I know a lot of different kids of people; what I want is to show each of them how the others really are. You hear so many lies! — Simone De Beauvoir

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The past is not a peaceful landscape lying there behind me, a country in which I can stroll wherever I please, and will gradually show me all its secret hills and dales. As I was moving forward, so it was crumbling. Most of the wreckage that can be seen is colourless, distorted, frozen: its meaning escapes me ... all that's left is a skeleton. I shall never find my plans again, my hopes and fears - I shall not find myself. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The state of emotional intoxication allows one to grasp existence in one's self and in the other, as both subjectivity and passivity. The two partners merge in this ambiguous unity; each one is freed of his own presence and achieves immediate communication with the other. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Biology alone cannot provide an answer to the question that concerns us: why is woman the Other? The question is how, in her, nature has been taken on in the course of history; the question is what humanity has made of the human female. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The fact is that a true human privilege is based upon the anatomical privilege only in virtue of the total situation. Psychoanalysis can establish its truths only in the historical context. — Simone De Beauvoir

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A man would never set out to write a book on the peculiar
situation of the human male. But if I wish to define myself, I
must first of all say: T am a woman — Simone De Beauvoir

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Some men, instead of building their existence upon the indefinite unfolding of time, propose to assert it in its eternal aspect & to achieve it as an absolute. They hope, thereby, to surmount the ambiguity of their condition. Thus, many intellectuals seek their salvation in either in critical thought or creative activity. — Simone De Beauvoir

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It is impossible to do anything for anyone. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I've always been keenly aware of the passing of time. I've always thought that I was old. Even when I was twelve, I thought it was awful to be thirty. I felt that something was lost. At the same time, I was aware of what I could gain, and certain periods of my life have taught me a great deal. But, in spite of everything, I've always been haunted by the passing of time and by the fact that death keeps closing in on us. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I had to call the past to life, and illuminate every corner of the five continents, descend to the centre of the earth and make the circuit of the moon and stars — Simone De Beauvoir

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The monologue is her form of revenge. FLAUBERT — Simone De Beauvoir

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Patience is one of those feminine qualities which have their origin in our oppression but should be preserved after our liberation. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Today, however, we are having a hard time living because we are so bent on outwitting death. — Simone De Beauvoir

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In every society the artist or writer remains an outsider ... — Simone De Beauvoir

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Society cares about the individual only in so far as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter in upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Dwelling-place and food are useful for life but give it no significance: the immediate goals of the housekeeper are only means, not true ends. — Simone De Beauvoir

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On the evenings when my parents held parties, the drawing-room mirrors multiplied to infinity the scintillations of a crystal chandelier. Mama would take her seat at the grand piano to accompany a lady dressed in a cloud of tulle who played the violin and a cousin who performed on a cello. I would crack between my teeth the candied shell of an artificial fruit, and a burst of light would illuminate my palate with a taste of blackcurrant or pineapple: all the colours, all the lights were mine, the gauzy scarves, the diamonds, the laces; I held the whole party in my mouth. — Simone De Beauvoir

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My worst mistake has been not grasping that time goes by. It was going by and there I was, set in the attitude of the ideal wife of an ideal husband. Instead of bringing our sexual relationship to life again I brooded happily over memories of our former nights together. — Simone De Beauvoir

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She was ready to deny the existence of space and time rather than admit that love might not be eternal. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Ce n'est gue' re que dans les asiles que les coquettes gardent avec ente tement une foi entie' re en des regards absents; normalement, elles re clament des te moins. Women fond of dress are hardly ever entirely satisfied not to be seen, except among the insane; usually they want witnesses. — Simone De Beauvoir

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La femme?sait que quand on la regarde on ne la distingue pas de son apparence: elle est juge e, respecte e, de sire e a' travers sa toilette. Woman?knows that when she is looked at she is not considered apart from her appearance: she is judged, respected, desired, by and through her toilette. — Simone De Beauvoir

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But women do not say 'We', except at some congress of feminists or similar formal demonstration; men say 'women', and women use the same word in referring to themselves. — Simone De Beauvoir

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If I were proud of anything in my life, it would be of our love. I feel we have to tell to each other as many things as we can, so we are not only lovers, but the closest of friends at the same time. — Simone De Beauvoir

Simone De Beauvoir Quotes 1607705

It is only on posters and in advertisement pages that Americans have those chubby cheeks, expanding smiles, smooth looks, and faces flushed with well-being. In fact, almost all are at odds with themselves; drink offers a remedy for this inner malady of which boredom is the most usual sign: as drinking is accepted by society, it does not appear as a sign of their [Americans'] inability to adapt themselves; it is rather the adapted form of inadaptability. — Simone De Beauvoir

Simone De Beauvoir Quotes 1656038

The proletariat could plan to massacre the whole ruling class; a fanatic Jew or black could dream of seizing the secret of the atomic bomb and turning all of humanity entirely Jewish or entirely black: but a woman could not even dream of exterminating males. The tie that binds her to her oppressors is unlike any other. The division of the sexes is a biological given, not a moment in human history. Their opposition took shape within an original Mitsein, and she has not broken it. The couple is a fundamental unit with the two halves riveted to each other: terristic of woman: she is the Other at the heart of a whole whose two components are necessary to each other. — Simone De Beauvoir

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There are cases where the slave does not know his servitude and where it is necessary to bring the seed of his liberation to him from the outside: his submission is not enough to justify the tyranny which is imposed upon him. — Simone De Beauvoir

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This privilege, which he alone possesses, of being a sovereign and unique subject amidst a universe of objects, is what he shares with all his fellow-men. In turn an object for others, he is nothing more than an individual in the collectivity on which he depends. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Man must not attempt to dispel the ambiguity of his being but, on the contrary, accept the task of realizing it. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Anger or revolt that does not get into the muscles remains a figment of the imagination. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I would have to have a bit of heroism and get out of myself. But I love myself so much! — Simone De Beauvoir

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Every time a man dies, a child dies too, and an adolescent and a young man as well; everyone weeps for the one who was dear to him. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I enjoyed my exhaustion, though; I liked overdoing things — Simone De Beauvoir

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[From a New York Times biography from May 27, 2010 entitled Introduction to Simone de Beauvoir's 'The Second Sex']
Beauvoir herself was as devout an atheist as she had once been a Catholic, and she dismisses religions - even when they worship a goddess - as the inventions of men to perpetuate their dominion. — Simone De Beauvoir

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I should like this sky, this quiet water, to think themselves within me, that it might be I whom they express in flesh and bone, and I remain at a distance. But it is also by this distance that the sky and the water exist before me. — Simone De Beauvoir

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(About Sartre ... )
His death does not separate us. My death will not bring us together again. That is how things are. It is in itself splendid that we were able to live our lives in harmony for so long. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The notion of ambiguity must not be confused with that of absurdity. To declare that existence is absurd is to deny that it can ever be given a meaning; so to say it is ambiguous is to assert that it's meaning is never fixed, that it must be constantly won. Absurdity challenges every ethics; but also the finished rationalization of the real would leave no room for ethics; it is because man's condition is ambiguous that he seeks, through failure & outrageousness, to save his existence. — Simone De Beauvoir

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The innumerable conflicts that set men and women against one another come from the fact that neither is prepared to assume all the consequences of this situation which the one has offered and the other accepted. — Simone De Beauvoir

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People seem to think that if you keep your head empty you automatically fill your balls. — Simone De Beauvoir

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One can hardly tell women that washing up saucepans is their divine mission, [so] they are told that bringing up children is their divine mission. But the way things are in the world, bringing up children has a great deal in common with washing up saucepans. — Simone De Beauvoir

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It was easier for me to think of a world without a creator than of a creator loaded with all the contradictions of the world. — Simone De Beauvoir

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Sex pleasure in woman is a kind of magic spell; it demands complete abandon; if words or movements oppose the magic of caresses, the spell is broken. — Simone De Beauvoir