walter benjamin Quotes

Not to find one’s way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance—nothing more," says the twentieth-century philosopher-essayist Walter Benjamin. “But to lose oneself in a city—as one loses oneself in a forest—that calls for quite a different schooling.” To lose yourself: a voluptuous surrender, lost in your arms, lost to the world, utterly immersed in what is present so that its surroundings fade away. In Benjamin’s terms, to be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery. And one does not get lost but loses oneself, with the implication that it is a conscious choice, a chosen surrender, a psychic state achievable through geography.

- Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out.

- Walter Benjamin

It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed.

- Walter Benjamin

The film is the first art form capable of demonstrating how matter plays tricks on man.

- Walter Benjamin

Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom.

- Walter Benjamin

All human knowledge takes the form of interpretation.

- Walter Benjamin

Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.

- Walter Benjamin

The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion.

- Walter Benjamin

The idea that happiness could have a share in beauty would be too much of a good thing.

- Walter Benjamin

The fairy tale, which to this day is the first tutor of children because it was once the first tutor of mankind, secretly lives on in the story. The first true storyteller is, and will continue to be, the teller of fairy tales. Whenever good counsel was at a premium, the fairy tale had it, and where the need was greatest, its aid was nearest. This need was created by myth. The fairy tale tells us of the earliest arrangements that mankind made to shake off the nightmare which myth had placed upon its chest.

- Walter Benjamin

You focus on telling stories,
we do everything else.