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The 30 best phrases of Fernando Pessoa, the Portuguese poet

The 30 best phrases of Fernando Pessoa, the Portuguese poet

October 1, 2022

If there is a prominent representative of Portuguese literature and poetry, this is Fernando Pessoa.

Born in Lisbon in the year 1888, Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa he was an enigmatic and discreet character who, during his time, elaborated important works around journalism and literature in prose and verse.

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The best phrases and thoughts of Fernando Pessoa

Through his works, which are still studied and analyzed today, Pessoa considered himself a journalist by profession but literary by vocation.


In today's article Let's know 30 of his best reflections and phrases taken from his books and poems .

1. All love letters are ridiculous. They would not be love letters if they were not ridiculous.

Love stories often embrace the incomprehensible.

2. I have to choose what I detest: either the dream, which my intelligence hates, or the action, which disgusts my sensibility; or the action for which I was not born, or the dream for which nobody was born. It turns out that as I detest both, I do not choose any, but, as I have to dream or act, I mix one thing with the other.

The constant struggle between reason and emotion, embodied in this famous quote by Fernando Pessoa.


3. If after I die they would like to write my biography, nothing is simpler. It has only two dates, the one of my birth and the one of my death. Between them, every day is mine.

A philosophy of life based on discretion.

4. Who lives like me does not die: it ends, it withers, it becomes unveiled. The place where he was still without him being there, the street where he walked is still not seen in it, the house he inhabited is inhabited by not him.

One of the most remembered and studied phrases of Pessoa.

5. I was born at a time when most young people had stopped believing in God for the same reason that their elders had believed in Him.

A reflection on the beliefs and generational change that took place in Portugal during the beginning of the 20th century.

6. Beauty is Greek. But the awareness that it is Greek is modern.

The Greeks themselves were unaware that they were creating a model of beauty that would transcend their historical epoch.


7. To have been in a shipwreck or in a battle is something beautiful and glorious; the worst is that you had to be there to be there.

A phrase to reflect on wars.

8. Being a poet is not my ambition, it's my way of being alone.

A way of being, according to the great Fernando Pessoa.

9. Not knowing about oneself; That is living. To know badly about oneself, that is to think.

As in many of his writings, Pessoa recognizes that unconsciousness is an elemental part of happiness.

10. Art is the expression of self striving to be absolute.

Transcending times and fashions, that's art.

11. We are avatars of past stupidity.

A curious and very personal way of understanding the culture.

12. I have the duty to lock myself in the house of my spirit and to work as much as I can and in everything I can for the progress of civilization and the broadening of the conscience of humanity.

A way to express your involvement in the world of letters.

13. The delight of hatred can not be compared to the delight of being hated.

Awakening envy is one of the great pleasures of life, according to this phrase of Pessoa.

14. Thought is still the best way to escape thought.

A paradox: only thinking can we flee from thoughts.

15. I do not regret my conscience, but I am conscious.

When we are conscious we are vigilant of our actions.

16. God is God's best joke.

A phrase to free interpretation.

17. Man is an egoism mitigated by indolence.

Self-centeredness, a uniquely human characteristic.

18. Everything that the man exposes or expresses is a note on the margin of a text totally extinguished. More or less, by the sense of the note, we extract the meaning that was going to be that of the text; but there is always a doubt, and the possible meanings are many.

On the different ways of understanding reality.

19. The only attitude worthy of a superior man is to persist tenaciously in an activity that is recognized as useless, the habit of a discipline that is known to be sterile, and the fixed use of norms of philosophical and metaphysical thought whose importance is felt as null.

Persistence is the key on which the great findings and achievements are based.

20. It is enough, if we think, the incomprehensibility of the universe; to want to understand it is to be less than men, because to be a man is to know that it is not understood.

A reflection on knowledge.

21. Love is a deadly sign of immortality

Through love we express this double condition.

22. The zero is the biggest metaphor. The infinite the greatest analogy.The existence the greatest symbol.

In this sentence, Pessoa mixes mathematical concepts with concepts of language.

23. Freedom does not feel who never lived oppressed.

We are only able to perceive this sensation when we have been deprived of it.

24. We never love anyone: we love, only, the idea we have of someone. What we love is our concept, that is, to ourselves.

Love, according to Pessoa, is, after all, a self-referential perception.

26. If after I die they would like to write my biography, there is nothing simpler. It has only two dates-the one of my birth and the one of my death. Between them, every day is mine.

Nothing remains except the experience lived by himself.

27. First be free; then ask for freedom.

Only a person with a free thought is capable of claiming freedom for himself and his fellowmen.

28. Decadence is the total loss of unconsciousness; because unconsciousness is the foundation of life.

When we are fully conscious we become puppets sculpted by the mercantile society.

29. I write these lines, really badly annotated, not to say this, not to say anything, but to occupy something in my inattention.

A form of therapy, according to Pessoa, to write your thoughts.

30. With such a lack of people with whom to coexist, as there is today, what can a man of sensitivity do, but invent his friends, or at least, his companions in spirit?

A sad reflection about loneliness, in the eyes of the great Fernando Pessoa.


Fernando Pessoa Experience (October 2022).


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