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Senselessness is the quality of a thing which lacks a meaning or purpose or a person who lack awareness or sound judgment.
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- When we see a great man desiring power instead of his real goal we soon recognize that he is sick, or more precisely that his attitude to his work is sick. He overreaches himself, the work denies itself to him, the incarnation of the spirit no longer takes place, and to avoid the threat of senselessness he snatches after empty power. This sickness casts the genius on to the same level as those hysterical figures who, being by nature without power, slave for power, in order that they may enjoy the illusion that they are inwardly powerful, and who in this striving for power cannot let a pause intervene, since a pause would bring with it the possibility of self-reflection and self-reflection would bring collapse.
- Martin Buber, Between Man and Man (1965), p. 151
- Like one who has eaten and drunk too much and vomits painfully, and then feels better, so did the restless man wish he could rid himself with one terrific heave of these pleasures, of these habits of this entirely senseless life. … It seemed to him that he had spent his life in an entirely worthless and senseless manner; he retained nothing vital, nothing in any way precious or worth while. He stood alone, like a shipwrecked man on the shore.
- Herman Hesse, Siddhartha, H. Rosner, trans. (Bantam: 1971), p. 82
- For positivism, which has assumed the judicial office of enlightened reason, to speculate about intelligible worlds is no longer merely forbidden but senseless prattle. ... For the scientific temper, any deviation of thought from the business of manipulating the actual, any stepping outside the jurisdiction of existence, is no less senseless and self-destructive than it would be for the magician to step outside the magic circle drawn for his incantation; and in both cases violation of the taboo carries a heavy price for the offender.
- Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment, E. Jephcott, trans., p. 19
- Our National wish and purpose are only to be amused; our National religion is the performance of church ceremonies, and preaching of soporific truth (or untruths) to keep the mob quietly at work, while we amuse ourselves; and the necessity for this amusement is fastening on us, as a feverous disease of parched throat and wandering eyes—senseless, dissolute, merciless.
- John Ruskin, “Sesame and Lilies” (1865)
- My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), § 6.54
- The argument “I may be dreaming” is senseless for this reason: if I am dreaming, this remark is being dreamed as well—and indeed it is also being dreamed that these words have any meaning.
- Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty (1969), § 383