Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 - August 12, 1955) was a German novelist, short story writer, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and 1929 Nobel Prize laureate, known for his series of highly symbolic and ironic epic novels and novellas, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist and the intellectual. (Click for full Wikipedia article.)
A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.
A man's dying is more his survivor's affair than his own.
A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.
All interest in disease and death is only another expression of interest in life.
Beauty can pierce one like pain.
Democracy is timelessly human, and timelessness always implies a certain amount of potential youthfulness.
Every reasonable human being should be a moderate Socialist.
Everything is politics.
Hold every moment sacred. Give each clarity and meaning, each the weight of thine awareness, each its true and due fulfillment.
Hold fast the time! Guard it, watch over it, every hour, every minute!
Human reason needs only to will more strongly than fate, and she is fate.
I stand between two worlds, am at home in neither, and in consequence have rather a hard time of it.
If you are possessed by an idea, you find it expressed everywhere, you even smell it.
It is a strange fact that freedom and equality, the two basic ideas of democracy, are to some extent contradictory. Logically considered, freedom and equality are mutually exclusive, just as society and the individual are mutually exclusive.
Only indifference is free. What is distinctive is never free, it is stamped with its own seal, conditioned and chained.
Opinions cannot survive if one has no chance to fight for them.
Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject- the actual enemy is the unknown.
Speech is civilization itself. The word, even the most contradictory word, preserves contact- it is silence which isolates.
The beautiful word begets the beautiful deed.
The good Lord sees your heart, not the braid on your jacket. Before Him we are all in our birthday suits, generals and common men alike.
The only religious way to think of death is as part and parcel of life; to regard it, with the understanding and the emotions, as the the inviolable condition of life.
There is something suspicious about music, gentlemen. I insist that she is, by her nature, equivocal. I shall not be going too far in saying at once that she is politically suspect.
Time cools, time clarifies, no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.
Time has no divisions to mark its passage; there is never a thunderstorm to announce the beginning of a new year. It is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.
Tolerance becomes a crime when applied to evil.
Wagner's art is the most sensational self-portrayal and self-critique of German nature that it is possible to conceive.
War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.
We are most likely to get angry and excited in our opposition to some idea when we ourselves are not quite certain of our own position, and are inwardly tempted to take the other side.
What a glorious gift is imagination, and what satisfaction it affords!
Writing well was almost the same as thinking well, and thinking well was the next thing to acting well.