21. I feel in myself a life that is impelled towards death—that in every instant and every content, it will die. And I feel another life that is not headed for death. I do not know which one carries its true properties, its process and its fate—I know only that death is not included in its meaning. This dual life is visible in two forms: in the species-life that flows through me and in which posterity is propagated into eternity; and in the timeless significance of created thought—in the world’s becoming more valuable or more evil through the presence of our ethical goodness and ethical badness in that thought. The effects that our being and doing leave behind in the world, and whose propagation is imperishable, emerge as a third form. But these three forms nonetheless do not completely express that dual life—any more than does immortality, commonly understood.
Suggested by John Andrews and Arthur Frank
60. For the deeper person there is only one possibility of enduring life at all: a certain measure of superficiality. For if he were to ponder all the conflicting, irreconcilable impulses, duties, strivings, and yearnings as deeply, to feel them all as absolutely and ultimately as their nature and his properly require–then he would have to explode, go crazy, or run out on life…The truth is thus precisely reversed from how monistic optimism would have it: that one only has to follow the contradictions far enough down in order to come to their resolution. Or should the latter apply in its content-objective sense, and the former in its subjectively lived sense?
44. The human soul is the greatest cosmic endeavor with unsuitable means.
–From The View of Life
I don’t know which of these two shows man’s vulgarity more: when he gets accustomed to ugliness or when he gets accustomed to beauty.
To treat not only every person, but every thing as if it were its own end: this would be a cosmic ethics.
All that can be proved can also be disputed. Only the unprovable is indisputable.
–From the selection by Kurt H. Wolff, in The Sociology of Georg Simmel (1950), p. xx.
78. What better thing can humans wish themselves than a great task and a fortitude for it that no longer depends on the hope of its solution?
–Georg Simmel, The View of Life: Four Metaphysical Essays with Journal Aphorisms (trans. John A.Y. Andrews)