55 Famous Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

Jean-Paul Sartre was a renowned French philosopher, writer, and political activist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century. His ideas on existentialism, freedom, and human consciousness have left an indelible mark on philosophy, literature, and political theory. Sartre’s works include novels, plays, essays, and critical studies, and he is perhaps best known for his magnum opus, “Being and Nothingness”.

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Being and Nothingness
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 928 Pages – 09/07/2021 (Publication Date) – Washington Square Press (Publisher)

Sartre’s writings are filled with thought-provoking insights and memorable quotes that continue to inspire and challenge readers to this day. Today, we’ve compiled 55 of his most famous quotes that offer a glimpse into his philosophy and worldview. These quotes cover a wide range of topics, from freedom and responsibility to love and despair. Whether you’re a longtime fan of Sartre’s work or a newcomer to his ideas, these quotes are sure to provoke thought and spark conversation.

I hope you enjoy these quotes by Jean-Paul Sartre…

"A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost." - Jean-Paul Sartre
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1) “A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

2) “All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

3) “I am going to outlive myself. Eat, sleep, sleep, eat. Exist slowly, softly, like these trees, like a puddle of water, like the red bench in the streetcar.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

4) “As far as men go, it is not what they are that interests me, but what they can become.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

5) “You must be afraid, my son. That is how one becomes an honest citizen.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

6) “If I became a philosopher if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

7) “Before you come alive, life is nothing; it ‘s up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing else but the meaning that you choose.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

8) “Being is. Being is in itself. Being is what it is.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

9) “I do not believe in God; his existence has been disproved by Science. But in the concentration camp, I learned to believe in men.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Do what you do best…

"The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best." - Jean-Paul Sartre

10) “The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

11) “Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

12) “One cannot become a saint when one works sixteen hours a day.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

13) “Commitment is an act, not a word.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

14) “Do you think that I count the days? There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

15) “Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

16) “Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

17) “Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

18) “Existence precedes and rules essence.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

19) “For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre quotes on freedom…

"Freedom is what we do with what is done to us." - Jean-Paul Sartre

20) “Freedom is what we do with what is done to us.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

21) “I’m going to smile, and my smile will sink down into your pupils, and heaven knows what it will become.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

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22) “Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

23) “Hell is – other people!” – Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

24) “All human actions are equivalent and all are on principle doomed to failure.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

25) “I am alone in the midst of these happy, reasonable voices. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven’s name, why is it so important to think the same things all together.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

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Nausea (New Directions Paperbook)
  • Jean-Paul Sartre (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages – 03/25/2013 (Publication Date) – New Directions (Publisher)
"If you're lonely when you're alone, you're in bad company." - Jean-Paul Sartre

26) “If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

27) “Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

28) “It is only in our decisions that we are important.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

29) “Justice is a human issue, and I do not need a god to teach it to me.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

That is a fact!

"We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are - that is the fact." - Jean-Paul Sartre

30) “We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

31) “Life begins on the other side of despair.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

32) “Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

33) “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

34) “There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

35) “We must act out passion before we can feel it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

36) “Man is not the sum of what he has already, but rather the sum of what he does not yet have, of what he could have.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

37) “Man is nothing else but what he purposes, he exists only in so far as he realizes himself, he is, therefore, nothing else but the sum of his actions, nothing else but what his life is.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

38) “One always dies too soon or too late. And yet, life is there, finished: the line is drawn, and it must all be added up. You are nothing other than your life.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

39) “Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre quotes on responsibility and purpose…

 "Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed because it involves all mankind." - Jean-Paul Sartre

40) “Our responsibility is much greater than we might have supposed because it involves all mankind.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

41) “It’s quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don’t do it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

42) “She believed in nothing. Only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

43) “Smooth and smiling faces everywhere, but ruin in their eyes.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

44) “That God does not exist, I cannot deny, That my whole being cries out for God I cannot forget.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

45) “The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

46) “There is only one day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

47) “It is, therefore, senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

48) “Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

49) “We are our choices.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre quotes on life and love…

"What is life but an unpleasant interruption to a peaceful nonexistence." - Jean-Paul Sartre

50) “What is life but an unpleasant interruption to a peaceful nonexistence.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

51) “When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

52) “Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

53) “Words are loaded pistols.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

54) “The worst thing about being lied to is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

55) “You are – your life, and nothing else.”

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