Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Haruki Murakami

1949 CE –

A “global” writer going beyond his time and culture to explore universal themes, Murakami takes his characters and readers into an inner dreamscape where they together look into the beyond thought world of imagery, perception, and consciousness. Grandson of a Buddhist priest and an Osaka merchant, he became both the most experimental and most popular Japanese novelist translated into English. Called a “voice of his generation,” his books create an allegorical world of magical realism and convey an understanding and appreciation for the vast sacredness of each moment.

Eras

Sources

1Q84

Dance, Dance, Dance

Killing Commendatore

Sputnik Sweetheart

Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Unlisted Sources

“So What Shall I Write About?” (2015)

2011 Catalunya International Prize acceptance speech

Men Without Women (2017)

What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

Quotes by Haruki Murakami (80 quotes)

“‘All you have to do is wait,’ I explained. ‘Sit tight and wait for the right moment, not try to change anything by force, just watch the drift of things… If you do that, you just naturally know what to do. But everyone’s always too busy. They’re too talented, their schedules are too full, they’re too interested in themselves…”

Chapters: 34. An Unmoored Boat

Themes: Change

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“… in this house that Carl Jung built, piling up stones with his own hands, at the very entrance, he found the need to chisel out these words… Sometimes I close my eyes and repeat them over and over, and they make me strangely calm. ‘Cold or Not, God Is Present.’”

Chapters: 47. Effortless Success

Themes: Travel

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“‘If you listen carefully, you can hear these things. If you look carefully, you’ll see what you’re after.’
‘Words of wisdom?’
‘No, just words — a way of life in words.’”

from Dance, Dance, Dance

Chapters: 36. The Small, Dark Light

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“From Ushikawa’s perspective, they were irretrievably shallow. To him, their minds were dull, their vision narrow and devoid of imagination, and all they cared about was what other people thought… completely lacking in… any degree of wisdom.”

Chapters: 44. Fame and Fortune

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“Nobody’s easier to fool, than the person who is convinced that he is right.”

from 1Q84

Chapters: 38. Fruit Over Flowers

Themes: Belief

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“In this world there is no absolute good, no absolute evil. Good and evil are not fixed, stable entities but are continually trading places. A good may be transformed into an evil in the next second. And vice versa… The most important thing is to maintain the balance between the constantly moving good and evil… Indeed, balance itself is the good.”

from 1Q84

Chapters: 49. No Set Mind

Themes: Evil Middle Way

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“The ones who did it always rationalize their actions and even forget what they did… But the surviving victims can never forget… That’s what the world is, after all: an endless battle of contrasting memories.”

from 1Q84

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

Themes: Memory Forget

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“the more desperately we try to be good and wonderful and perfect, the more Shadow develops a definite will to be black and evil and destructive.”

from 1Q84

Chapters: 45. Complete Perfection

Themes: Projection

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“Financial dealings have become a religious activity... People worship capital, adore its aura, genuflect before Porsches and land values”

from Dance, Dance, Dance

Chapters: 53. Shameless Thieves

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“You can be totally entranced by the glow of something one minute, be willing to sacrifice everything to make it yours, but then a little time passes, or your perspective changes a bit, and all of a sudden you're shocked at how faded it appears.”

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“When I should have felt real pain, I stifled it. I didn't want to take it on, so I avoided facing up to it. Which is why my heart is so empty now.”

Themes: Suffering

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“In the ancient world, 'to rule' was synonymous with 'listening to the voices of the gods.'”

from 1Q84

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“Most people in the world don't really use their brains to think. And people who don't think are the ones who don't listen to others.”

from 1Q84

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“Her tears dried up, as if her emotions had run into an invisible wall.”

from 1Q84

Themes: Suffering

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“Where there is light, there must be shadow, and where there is shadow there must be light. There is no shadow without light and no light without shadow…”

from 1Q84

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“The best thing you can buy with money is freedom, time. I don't know how much I earn a year. I have no idea.”

Themes: Time Freedom Money

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“When one is speaking of the essence of things, it often happens that one can only speak in generalities. Concrete things command attention but they are often little more than trivia. The more one tries to see into the distance, the more generalized things become.”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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“The magic touch, that special spark needed to create a successful business... spend your money for the things that money can buy, don't worry about profit or loss, and save your energy for the things that money can't buy.”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Themes: Business Money

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“When trying to accomplish something serious, I liked to do it myself. Having to check things out with other people and get them to understand seemed to me a great waste of time and energy when it was a lot easier to work along in silence.”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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“Memories and thoughts age, just as people do. But certain thoughts can never age, and certain memories can never fade”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Themes: Memory Forget

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“Curiosity can bring guts out of hiding but curiosity evaporates. We need guts to go for the long haul. Like an amusing friend you can’t really trust, curiosity turns you on but then leaves you to make it on your own—with whatever courage you can muster”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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“There is nothing so cruel in this world as the desolation of having nothing to hope for.”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Themes: Hope

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“Is it possible for one human being to understand another? We convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but do we really know anything important about anyone?”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

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“Hatred is like a long, dark shadow. Not even the person it falls upon knows where it comes from. It is like a two-edged sword. When you cut the other person, you cut yourself… Once it has taken root in your heart, hatred is the most difficult think in the world to shake off.”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Themes: Hate Aggression

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“Now all you can do is wait. Like the ebb and flow of tides. No one can do anything to change them. When it is time to wait, you must wait.”

from Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Themes: Patience

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“Latter-day capitalism. Like it or not, it’s the society we live in with hybrid styles of morality. It’s the way of the world – philosophy starting to look more and more like business and administration.”

from Dance, Dance, Dance

Themes: Capitalism

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“Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes—possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting”

from Dance, Dance, Dance

Themes: Time

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“Illusion, once you’ve got an illusion going, it can function on the market like any other product. Advanced capitalism churning out goods… give it a pretty name, a pretty package, and you can sell it.”

from Dance, Dance, Dance

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“The answer is dreams. Dreaming on and on. Entering the world of dreams, and never coming out. Living in dreams for the rest of time”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Dream

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“A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Magic Pluralism

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“Don’t pointless things have a place, too, in this far-from-perfect world? Remove everything pointless from an imperfect life and it’d lose even its imperfection.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“But tomorrow I’ll be a different person, never again the person I was. Not that anyone will notice... on the outside nothing will be different.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: True Self Change

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“We’re both looking at the same moon, in the same world. We’re connected to reality by the same line. All I have to do is quietly draw it towards me.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“I must be in love with this woman... I don't have any choice... Danger may be lurking there, I might end up losing everything but there's no turning back even if it means I'll be burned up and gone forever.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Perseverance Love

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“What's important is being attentive, being alert to things, not prejudging but listening to what's going on, keeping our ears, heart and mind open.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“Any explanation or logic that explains everything so easily has a hidden trap it it... if it's something a single book can explain, it's not worth having explained.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Golden Chains

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“she didn't try to hide her age but let it naturally rise to the surface, accepted it for what it was, and made peace with it.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Old Age

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“On the flip side of everything we think we absolutely have pegged lurks an equal amount of the unknown. Understanding is but the sum of our misunderstandings... Who can really distinguish between the sea and what's reflected in it? Or tell the difference between the falling rain and loneliness?”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Opinion

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“People have to come up with a clever strategy if they want what they know and what they don't know to live together in peace. And that strategy is thinking. We have to find a secure anchor. Otherwise, no mistake about it, we're on an awful collision course.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“In dreams you don't need to make any distinctions between things. Boundaries don't exist so there are hardly ever any collisions. Reality is different. Reality bites.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Reality

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“Am I spending all my time and energy in some useless pursuit? Hauling a bucket of water to a place that's on the verge of flooding? Shouldn't I give up any useless effort and just go with the flow?”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“I reach a point where, in a realm I cannot even give a name to, I conceive a dream, a sightless fetus called understanding, floating in the universal, overwhelming amniotic fluid of incomprehension.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

Themes: Creativity

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“What's really important is not the big things other people have thought up, but the small things you, yourself have.... Or maybe the smaller the notion, the harder it is to grasp?”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“Irrepressible curiosity vied with an instinctive fear... The principle that made other choices possible was missing. Or was it the choice that made the principle possible that was missing?”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“I felt as if I'd swallowed an overcast sky whole.”

from Sputnik Sweetheart

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“I was past the point of determining what was just and unjust. In a world outside space and time, all dualities—before and after, up and down—ceased to exist. In such a world, I could no longer perceive myself as myself. I and myself were being torn apart.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Moral Freedom

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“Paintings are strange things: as they near the end they acquire their own will, their own viewpoint, even their own powers of speech.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Art

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“Like trees grown together: our roots joined in the dark, our sap intermingled. In this condition, self and other blended like the paints on my palette, their borers ever more indistinct.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“Instead of a stable truth, I choose unstable possibilities. I choose to surrender myself to that instability.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Creativity

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“Can anything be completely correct, or completely incorrect? We live in a world where rain might fall 30% or 70% of the time. Truth is probably no different. There could be 30% or 70% truth.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Truth

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“No one can tell what is or is not the real thing. All that we see is a product of connectivity. Light here is a metaphor for shadow, shadow a metaphor for light.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“Just as a great poet can use one scene to bring another new, unknown vista into view… the best metaphors make the best poems… filled with hidden possibilities that only the finest metaphors can bring to the surface.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Poetry

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“Once you’re considered a legend, you can only trace the pattern of your rise for the rest of your life… it could be a real nightmare… I can’t think of anything more boring that that.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Anonymity Fame

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“There are plenty of things in history that are best left in the shadows. Accurate knowledge does not improve people’s lives… The objective does not necessarily surpass the subjective, you know. Reality does not necessarily extinguish fantasy…”

from Killing Commendatore

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“I have no need to challenge my life in such a troublesome or unnatural way because I am endowed with the capacity to ‘believe.’ I believe in all honesty that something will appear to guide me through the darkest and narrowest tunnel, or across the most desolate plain.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Belief

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“The best ideas are thoughts that appear, unbidden, from out of the dark.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Non-Thought

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“People devote a lot of energy to thinking about things. Whether they want to or not. Yet in the end we all just have to wait—only time can tell how events play out. The answers lie ahead.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“From a distance, most things look beautiful.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Beauty

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“If you want to know yourself better, you have to bring in something different from someplace else… that’s why we need pictures or literature, or music”

from Killing Commendatore

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“The truth is a symbol, and symbols are the truth. It is best to grasp symbols the way they are. When people try to use a method other than the truth to follow along the path of understanding, it is like trying to use a sieve to hold water. No one can ever float something full of holes on water… allegories and metaphors are not something you should explain in words. You just grasp them and accept them.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“Everything has a bright side. The top of even the blackest, thickest cloud shines like silver.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“People can accomplish anything if they want it badly enough… reality can become unreal. Or unreality can enter the realm of the real. If we desire it that strongly. Deep in our heart. But that doesn’t mean that we are free. It might demonstrate quite the opposite.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Inspiration

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“There’s a point in everyone’s life where they need a major transformation. And when that time comes, you have to grab it by the tail, grab it hard and never let go… They obliterate the stye they’ve worked in, and out of the ruins they rise up again.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“Gazing intently at a pure white canvas… Nothing is painted there yet, but it’s more than a simple blank space… various possibilities congeal into a perfect clue.. The moment when existence and nonexistence coalesce.”

from Killing Commendatore

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“Gazing intently at a pure white canvas… Nothing is painted there yet, but it’s more than a simple blank space… various possibilities congeal into a perfect clue.. The moment when existence and nonexistence coalesce.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Emptiness

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“Memory can give warmth to time. And art can—when it goes well—give shape to that memory, even fix it in history. Much as van Gogh inscribed the figure of a country mailman on our collective memory so well that he lives on, even today.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Memory

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“People can forget what they should remember, and remember what by all rights and purposes they should forget. Especially when death approaches.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Forget

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“No, I haven’t been in jail, or had to hide out for a long time. Someone once said unless you have those kinds of opportunities, you can’t read the whole of Proust.”

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“Nobody's going to win all the time. On the highway of life you can't always be in the fast lane.”

from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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“Maybe the chain of events will not flow so smoothly in reality… Just maybe, there are too many maybes. But there is no alternative. There is not the luxury of choice.”

from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Free Will

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“Dreaming is the day job of novelists, but sharing our dreams is a still more important task for us.”

from 2011 Catalunya International Prize acceptance speech

Themes: Dream

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“The key component is not the quality of the materials─what’s needed is magic. If that magic is present, the most basic daily matters and the plainest language can be turned into a device of surprising sophistication. First and foremost, though, is what’s packed away in your garage. Magic can’t work if your garage is empty. You’ve got to stash away a lot of junk”

from “So What Shall I Write About?” (2015)

Themes: Magic

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“The scene seemed somehow divorced from reality, although reality, he knew, could at times be terribly unreal.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Reality

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“So we're all actors... Leaving who one was for a brief time, then returning. But the self that one returned to was never exactly the same as the self that one had left behind.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

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“Dreams are the kinds of things you can—when you need to—borrow and lend out.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Inspiration

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“Music has that power to revive memories, sometimes so intensely that they hurt.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Music

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“A function beyond the will... twithout the intervention of that kind of independent organ—the kind that elevates us to new heights, thrusts us down to the depths, throws our minds into chaos, reveals beautiful illusions, and sometimes even drives us to death—our lives would indeed be indifferent and brusque.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Free Will

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“Maybe working on the little things as dutifully and honestly as we can is how we stay sane when the world is falling apart.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Simplicity

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“loneliness seeps deep down inside your body, like a red-wine stain on a pastel carpet... For Men Without Women, the world is a vast, poignat mix, very much the far side of the moon.”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Moon

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“It was a strange feeling, as if he were recollecting the present from the future. As if time had somehow been split in two, so that memory and experience revolved within a closed cycle”

from Men Without Women (2017)

Themes: Time

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