Quotations about   absurdity

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Always struck by the “comical” aspect of everything in Algeria connected with death. I find nothing more justified. Impossible to exaggerate the ridiculous quality of an event that is normally accompanied by sweat and gurgling. Similarly, it could not be too far demoted from the sacred status normally attributed to it. Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear. And from this point of view, death is no more worthy of respect than Nero or the inspector at my local police station.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) Algerian-French novelist, essayist, playwright
Notebooks, Vol. 1 (1935-1942)
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Added on 31-May-19 | Last updated 31-May-19
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The most absurd customs and the most ridiculous ceremonies are everywhere excused by an appeal to the phrase, but that’s the tradition. This is exactly what the Hottentots say when Europeans ask them why they eat grasshoppers and devour their body lice. That’s the tradition, they explain.

Nicolas Chamfort (1741-1794) French writer, epigrammist (b. Nicolas-Sébastien Roch)
Maxims and Thoughts, ch. 3, #249 (1796)
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Added on 14-Aug-17 | Last updated 14-Aug-17
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That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.

mill-height-of-absurdity-wisdom-wist_info-quote

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) English philosopher and economist
(Attributed)
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Often cited from a quote in Adlai Stevenson, Call to Greatness (1954), but appears earlier in, e.g., National Magazine (Nov 1911). Unverified in Mills' writings.
Added on 15-Dec-16 | Last updated 15-Dec-16
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If you can’t joke about the most horrendous things in the world, what’s the point of jokes? What’s the point in having humor? Humor is to get us over terrible things. That’s all it’s for. That’s why you should laugh at funerals. Of course it’s the wrong thing to say. That’s why it’s funny.

Gervais - humor terrible things - wist_info quote

Ricky Gervais (b. 1961) English comedian, actor, director, writer
Interview with Chris Heath, GQ (15 May 2013)
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Added on 7-Jul-16 | Last updated 7-Jul-16
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Scientists have calculated that the chances of something so patently absurd actually existing are millions to one. But magicians have calculated that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Mort (1987)
Added on 19-Aug-15 | Last updated 19-Aug-15
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Every absurdity has now a champion to defend it: and as he is generally much in the wrong, so he has always much to say; for error is ever talkative.

Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774) Irish poet, playwright, novelist
The Traveller: Or, A Prospect of Society (1764)
Added on 7-Aug-14 | Last updated 7-Aug-14
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A sense of humor keen enough to show a man his own absurdities will keep him from the commission of all sins, or nearly all, save those that are worth committing.

Samuel Butler (1835-1902) English novelist, satirist, scholar
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler, “Life” [ed. Jones (1907)]
Added on 31-Jul-14 | Last updated 31-Jul-14
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There is nothing so absurd but some philosopher has said it.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC) Roman orator, statesman, philosopher
De Divinatione [On Divination], Book 2, sec. 58 (45 BC)

Alt. trans.:
  • "There is nothing so absurd as but some philosopher has said it." Also cited as sec. 119.
  • "In short, somehow or other, I know nothing is so absurd as not to have found an advocate in one of the philosophers." [tr. Yonge (1902)]
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-Jun-15
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