70+ Existential Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes

How often do you contemplate existence, freedom, and the meaning of life? Our journey today brings us to the heart of existential philosophy through the profound thoughts of one of its most prominent figures – Jean-Paul Sartre.

Born on June 21, 1905, in Paris, France, Sartre was a distinguished philosopher, playwright, novelist, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. His philosophical reflections have spanned across various elements of human existence, carving out a fresh philosophical perspective now celebrated as existentialism.

Sartre, a brilliant intellectual, was a master of thought-provoking and reflective aphorisms, his words often veering into the depths of human responsibility, freedom, and the nature of reality. Beyond philosophy, he contributed to the literature world, earning the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964, which he famously declined for personal and philosophical reasons.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the abyss of existential thinking through some of most impactful Jean-Paul Sartre quotes, capturing the essence of his philosophy and highlighting its relevance in our modern lives.

You can also find his most amazing quotes in the following video:

Table of Contents

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on Existentialism

If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.


Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.


Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.


I hate victims who respect their executioners.


Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat.


A lost battle is a battle one thinks one has lost.


Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.


Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.


Being is. Being is in-itself. Being is what it is.


Existence precedes and rules essence.


No finite point has meaning without an infinite reference point.


The existentialist says at once that man is anguish.


Nothingness haunts Being.


There may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.


We are our choices.


My thought is me: that is why I cannot stop thinking. I exist because I think I cannot keep from thinking.


I exist, that is all, and I find it nauseating.


Everything comes to us from others. To Be is to belong to someone.


your judgement judges you and defines you.


All I can do is make the best of what I am, become accustomed to it, evaluate the possibilities, and take advantage of them the best I can.

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on Life

Commitment is an act, not a word.


Three o’clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.


Life begins on the other side of despair.


Hell is other people.


The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.


Evil is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete.


Everything has been figured out, except how to live.


For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it.


What is life but an unpleasant interruption to a peaceful nonexistence.


The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best.


Every word has consequences. Every silence, too.


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.


When the rich wage war, it’s the poor who die.


Words are loaded pistols.


the worst part about being lied to is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.


You are your life, and nothing else.


We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.


The poor don’t know that their function in life is to exercise our generosity.


To know what life is worth you have to risk it once in a while.


There is only one-day left, always starting over: it is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.


We make our own hell out of the people around us.


One is still what one is going to cease to be and already what one is going to become. One lives one’s death, one dies one’s life.


One cannot become a saint when one works sixteen hours a day.


There are two types of poor people, those who are poor together and those who are poor alone. The first are the true poor, the others are rich people out of luck.


Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.


Sometimes the truth is too simple for intellectuals.


It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.


I respect orders but I respect myself too and I do not obey foolish rules made especially to humiliate me.


Life gave me everything I asked. If all I asked was not a great deal, that’s my problem!

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on Death

I think of death only with tranquility, as an end. I refuse to let death hamper life. Death must enter life only to define it.


Death is a continuation of my life without me.


What the painter adds to the canvas are the days of his life. The adventure of living, hurtling toward death.


I felt myself in a solitude so frightful that I contemplated suicide. What held me back was the idea that no one, absolutely no one, would be moved by my death, that I would be even more alone in death than in life.

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on God

God is absence. God is the solitude of man.


I do not believe in God; his existence has been disproved by Science. But in the concentration camp, I learned to believe in men.


That God does not exist, I cannot deny, that my whole being cries out for God I cannot forget.


I tell you in truth: all men are Prophets or else God does not exist.


She believed in nothing; only her scepticism kept her from being an atheist.


God is dead. Let us not understand by this that he does not exist or even that he no longer exists. He is dead. He spoke to us and is silent. We no longer have anything but his cadaver. Perhaps he slipped out of the world, somewhere else like the soul of a dead man. Perhaps he was only a dream…God is dead.

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on Love

We must act out passion before we can feel it.


We do not judge the people we love.


In love, one and one are one.


Neither sex, without some fertilization of the complimentary characters of the other, is capable of the highest reaches of human endeavour.

Jean-Paul Sartre Quotes on Freedom

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.


Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.


Better to die on one’s feet than to live on one’s knees.


He was free, free in every way, free to behave like a fool or a machine, free to accept, free to refuse, free to equivocate; to marry, to give up the game, to drag this death weight about with him for years to come. He could do what he liked, no one had the right to advise him, there would be for him no Good or Evil unless he thought them into being.


Because we can imagine, we are free.


I can always choose, but I ought to know that if I do not choose, I am still choosing.


Imagination is not an empirical or superadded power of consciousness; it is the whole of consciousness as it realizes its freedom.


Once freedom lights its beacon in man’s heart, the gods are powerless against him.

Interesting Facts About Jean-Paul Sartre

Now, it’s time to get to know the man and his wisdom a bit better. Here are interesting facts about Jean-Paul Sartre. Enjoy!

  1. Turning Down the Nobel Prize – In 1964, Sartre turned down the Nobel Prize in Literature. The refusal came since he didn’t want to compromise his independence, but also because he despised the committee’s habit and decision to offer the Nobel prize only to Western writers or to the anti-Communist folk. He preferred that it would be awarded to revolutionary writers from the developing world.
  2. Being Bullied – Sartre was a short man with frail stature, which led to him being bullied during his life. If that wasn’t enough, he also suffered from an eye condition known as Strabismus (cross eyed). Being different than other kids, he was bullied during his childhood and while growing up. But that didn’t stop at adulthood, as his students and peers would also occasionally mock him. Even his American lover, Sally Swing, described him as being “ugly as sin.”
  3. Being Honored After His Death – During the last days of his life, Sartre was almost completely blind, and in 1980, when he’s 74 years old, he died in Paris due to complications in his lungs. Thousands of people from the city attended his funeral procession, as they celebrated and honoured the legend of his life.
  4. An Insane Drug Ritual – During those days, Corydrane was a budding psychoactive in Paris. The belief was that if 4 cups of coffee a day still weren’t enough for you, then it was time for an upgrade – 2 pills a day of Corydrane. His daily diet consisted of two packs of cigarettes and several pipes stuffed with black tobacco, more than a quart of alcohol — wine, beer, vodka, whisky, 200 milligrams of Corydrane, 15 grams of aspirin, several grams of barbiturates, coffee, tea, and rich meals.
  5. Founding an Underground Group – Sartre wasn’t only a writer. He was also a political and social activist. In 1941, along with Simone de Beauvoir by his side, the two helped to establish a group called Socialisme et Liberté (Socialism and Liberty) after he was released from the French military. This group was made up of young writers, philosophers, and students of thought. They focused on catching Nazi contingents and expose them for their acts. This was also a way for the group to be involved with the growing French Resistance movement.

For more profound and philosophical quotes, please visit our pages on Epicurus quotes, Immanuel Kant quotes, Albert Einstein quotes, and Salvador Dali quotes.

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