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A collection of quotations and thoughts by Arthur Koestler on politics, revolution, creativity, ethics, inspiration, history, idealism, evil, truth and technology.

27 Top Arthur Koestler Quotes That You Can Connect With

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Born On
05 September 1905 AD

Died On
01 March 1983 AD

Born In
Budapest, Austria-Hungary

Died At Age
77

Arthur Koestler was an acclaimed British author and journalist. In the early days of his career he moved to Palestine to find a job. After struggling with some menial jobs for a year he landed up a job as Jerusalem-based correspondent for ‘German Newspapers’. He had to travel extensively for work which helped him gain expertise in political writing and nurtured his reputation as a journalist. He then wrote his first memoir ‘Spanish Testament’ which described his experiences as a prisoner during the Spanish Civil War. This got him some fame which encouraged him to write his first novel ‘The Gladiators’ which discussed the corrupt practices in Stalin’s socialism. Then he wrote ‘Darkness at Noon’ which turned out to be his most notable work. His second memoir ‘Scum of the Earth’ which described his life as a prisoner of the concentration camp in France, was also well-appreciated. He was honored with the ‘Sonning Prize’ for ‘Outstanding contribution to European culture". He shared his experiences and thoughts through his writings and some of his thoughts and sayings are quoted extensively. Here is a collection of sayings and quotes by Arthur Koestler which have been excerpted from his work, writings, books, memoirs and thoughts.

The principal mark of genius is not perfection but originality, the opening of new frontiers.

- Arthur Koestler

Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

- Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955-1967, Arthur Koestler

Nothing is more sad than the death of an illusion.

- Arthur Koestler

Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality.

- Arthur Koestler

The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.

- Arthur Koestler

The principle that the end justifies the means is and remains the only rule of political ethics; anything else is just a vague chatter and melts away between one’s fingers.

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

Show us not the aim without the way. For ends and means on earth are so entangled That changing one, you change the other too; Each different path brings other ends in view

- Arthur Koestler

History had a slow pulse; man counted in years, history in generations

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

The hangman is a disgrace to any civilized country.

- Arthur Koestler

I went to Communism as one goes to a spring of fresh water, and I left Communism as one clambers out of a poisoned river strewn with the wreckage of flooded cities and the corpses of the drowned.

- Arthur Koestler

The fact is: I no longer believe in my own infallibility. That is why I am lost.

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

The 'gallows' are not only a symbol of death, but also a symbol of cruelty, terror and irreverence for life; the common denominator of primitive savagery, medieval fanaticism and modern totalitarianism.

- Arthur Koestler

History knows no scruples and no hesitation. Inert and unnering flows towards her goal. History knows herway. She makes no mistakes.

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

Honor is decency without vanity.

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

[My father] loved me tenderly and shyly from a distance, and later on took a naive pride in seeing my name in print.

- Arthur Koestler

Some of the greatest discoveries...consist mainly in the clearing away of psychological roadblocks which obstruct the approach to reality; which is why,post factum they appear so obvious.

- The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe, Arthur Koestler

And there was only one revolutionary virtue which he had not learned, the virtue of self-deception

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

But who will be proved right? It will only be known later. Meanwhile he is bound to act on credit and sell his soul to the devil, in the hope of history's absolution.

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

Nothing is worse in prison than the consciousness of one's innocenc; it prevents acclimatizatin and undermines one's morale...

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

Perhaps he did not know himself - like all these intellectual cynics...

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

There was a dense fog in my brain,impenetrable to any coherent thought,except the dull obsession of counting the minutes - an aching state of semi concsiousness and numb idiocy.

- Scum of the Earth, Arthur Koestler

Aberrations of the human mind are to a large extent due to the obsessional pursuit of some part-truth, treated as if it were a whole truth.

- The Ghost in the Machine, Arthur Koestler

Hitherto man had to live with the idea of death as an individual; from now onward mankind will have to live with the idea of its death as a species.

- Arthur Koestler

Revolutionary theory had frozen to a dogmatic cult, with a simplified, easily graspable catechism, and with No. 1 as the high priest celebrating the Mass.

- Darkness at Noon, Arthur Koestler

Creative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

- Arthur Koestler

The deterioration of the intelligentsia is as much a symptom of disease as the corruption of the ruling class or the sleeping sickness of the proletariat.

- The Yogi and the Commissar and Other Essays, Arthur Koestler

The addiction to the Soviet myth is as tenacious and difficult to cure as any other addiction.

- The God That Failed, Arthur Koestler