Quote for Today: Fernando Pessoa


The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd–The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

Public Domain Image via Pixabay

9 thoughts on “Quote for Today: Fernando Pessoa


    True! But I think, the best way is to live in the present, forgetting about the regrets of the past, and reckless of what will happen in the future. Then, probably the things will be better.

    • katmcdaniel Reply

      Hi Nikesh! Thanks for your response.
      Everyone lives differently, so you have to take Pessoa at face value that he is giving you the truth for himself. He made some decisions that tormented him, but they also made him Pessoa. 🙂
      I think there is a balance. If we get caught up in the regret of the past or fear of the future we have difficulty living, so it makes sense to be centered in the present. On the other hand, there are things in the past that have to be acknowledged to move forward, especially for those who have experienced grief, pain or abuse, otherwise they keep resurfacing in different ways and interrupting the flow of life. As to the future, it’s good to have a plan, but sometimes all we do is plan and never get around to living. Life requires us to change gears.


        I absolutely and utterly agree with you. I guess, your words speak way louder than Pessoa’s quote!☺☺

      • alibey

        “He made some decisions that tormented him, but they also made him Pessoa.”

        what might those be?

      • katmcdaniel

        “Nothing had ever obliged him to do anything. He had spent his childhood alone. He never joined any group. He never pursued a course of study. He never belonged to a crowd. The circumstances of his life were marked by that strange but rather common phenomenon – perhaps, in fact, it’s true for all lives – of being tailored to the image and likeness of his instincts, which tended towards inertia and withdrawal.” Pessoa wrote that about himself. His own preference for inertia and withdrawal kept him from change and growth in some ways, but this also refined what he thought and expressed in his writing. He was isolated and that made him unique. It also made him lonely. This is a person who wrote with multiple, distinct personalities. I don’t know if he would have done that if he had been more gregarious. He might have had an easier and longer life if he had approached things differently, but it would probably have been less interesting. He once said literature was “the best way to ignore life.” I think sometimes he regretted having isolated himself, but he didn’t know how else to proceed. That’s the torment I feel when I read Pessoa… the terrible loneliness of being trapped in your own head.

  2. alibey Reply

    Great. Thx for the reply. Im starting to read him now, and will post on what I read as I go along. I did notr realize he died at 45. he looks much older in his later photos. cheers.

    • katmcdaniel Reply

      Thanks Alibey! I look forward to hearing what you find.

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