Distance & Determination | Erich Kästner, 1899-1974

  Erich Kästner, 1899-1974


“If life has hit out at you, and you weren't prepared for it, a little
 housefly has only to cough and it will knock you flat” 

“Determination is all very well if you want to jump off a tower. But will
power is not enough when it comes to cooking beef and noodles.” 

“Lisa had confessed and Mommy had forgiven her. It had been a long, complicated
 confession, followed by a brief absolution for all the sins committed--a look, a kiss--
nothing more was needed...Oh how wonderful it was to have told the truth at last!
How free she felt, as free as air!” *

“The only people who attain power are those who crave it.”

“It is always the same. Whether you are walking or going by train, the way always seems
shorter the second time than the first. (And that is true of distances that are not to be
measured in miles and yards.)” 

“He was fond of that early stage of intoxication which leads a man to believe that he can
feel the earth revolving. The trees and houses still stand quietly in their places, the
street-lamps have not yet acquired a twin, but the earth revolves; you feel it at last!
But today even that displeased him. He walked on beside his intoxication and pretended
they did not know each other. What a queer globe it was, whether it revolved or not!
He could not help thinking of a drawing by Daumier, entitled "Progress". Daumier
had drawn a number of snails crawling after each other; that was the pace of human
development. But the snails were crawling in a circle. And that was the worst of it.” ^

“Most people put their childhood away as if it was an old hat. They forget it as if it
was a phone number that does not apply anymore. They think about their life as if
it was a salami which they are eating slice by slice and then they become grown-ups,
but what are they now? Only those who grow up and still remain children are real
human beings.” 

“You can build something beautiful from stones that are put in your way.”

“Emil was already familiar with those people who always say, “Goodness, everything
was better in the old days.” And he no longer listened when people told him that in the
old days the air was cleaner or that cows had bigger heads. Because it usually wasn’t
true. Those people simply wanted to be dissatisfied, because otherwise they would
have to be satisfied.” 

“One must not wait till the snowball has become an avalanche. One must
squelch the rolling snowball. The avalanche can't be stopped anymore.”

“There is nothing good unless you do it.” 


 Erich Kästner

^ Fabian, the Story of a Moralist, 1931 / * Lottie and Lisa: The Parent Trap, 1949



Erich Kästner, 1899-1974


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