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PAVESE, Cesare

The business of living

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The really clever thing, in affairs of this sort, is not to win a woman already desired by everyone, but to discover such a prize while she is still unknown.

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The only joy in the world is to begin. It is good to be alive because living is beginning, always, every moment. When this sensation is lacking—as when one is in prison, or ill, or stupid, or when living has become a habit—one might as well be dead.

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The man of action is not the headstrong fool who rushes into danger with no thought for himself, but the man who puts into practice the things he knows.

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When we read, we are not looking for new ideas, but to see our own thoughts given the seal of confirmation on the printed page. The words that strike us are those that awake an echo in a zone we have already made our own—the place where we live—and the vibration enables us to find fresh starting points within ourselves.

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War makes men barbarous because, to take part in it, one must harden oneself against all regret, all appreciation of delicacy and sensitive values. One must live as if those values did not exist, and when the war is over one has lost the resilience to return to those values.

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If it is true that one gets used to suffering, how is it that as the years go one always suffers more? No, they are not mad, those people who amuse themselves, enjoy life, travel, make love, fight—they are not mad. We should like to do the same ourselves.

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