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Doubt
Dreams
Life
Social Conditioning
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Inspirational Quotes from the movie Waking Life

Filmed in 2001

Cast:

Wiley Wiggins

Kim Krizan

Ethan Hawke

Julie Delpy

Adam Goldberg

Timothy Levitch

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Waking Life

Waking Life was filmed in 2001 and is a brilliant philosophical dialogue between various philosophers on their quintessential theories combined with an artistically creative production. Truly a must see if you have an affinity for philosophy. The heart of this movie focused on dreams and how little we understand our dream like state. Dreams pumped the fuel that wandered from topic to topic as the main character stumbled through his inquiry on life. Waking Life is a testament to the unlimited potential of humanity. We’ve taken some of our favorite passages from Waking Life and transcribed them here, but you must watch the movie to experience the full effect.

As usual, feel free to jump from category to category through the table of contents on the left, or just work your way down.

Quotes About Doubt 


“Our critique began as all critiques begin, with doubt. Doubt became our narrative. Ours was a quest for a new story: our own. And we grasped towards this new history driven by the suspicion that ordinary language couldn’t tell it. Our past appeared frozen in the distance, and our every gesture and accent signified the negation of the Old World, and the reach for a new one. The way we lived created a new situation, one of exuberance and friendship; That of a subversive micro-society in the heart of a society which ignored it. Art was not the goal, but the occasion and the method for locating our specific rhythm and varied possibilities of our time. The discovery of a true communication was what it was about, or at least the quest for such a communication: the adventure of finding it and losing it. We, the unappeased, the unaccepting, continued looking, filling in the silences with our own wishes, fears, and fantasies, driven forward by the fact that no matter how empty the world seemed, no matter how degraded and used up the world appeared to us, we knew that anything was still possible, and, given the right circumstances, a new world was just as likely as an old one.”

-Waking Life

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Waking Life Quotes About Dreams 


“Do you ever feel that you’re observing the world you live in instead of participating in it?”

-Waking Life


“The worst mistake you can make is to think you’re alive, when you’re really just asleep in life’s waiting room.”

-Waking Life


“The trick is to combine your waking rational abilities with the infinite possibilities of your dreams. Because, if you can do that, you can do anything.”

-Waking Life


“I haven’t seen too many around lately. Things have been tough lately for dreamers. They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore. It’s not dead it’s just that it’s been forgotten, removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists. The dreamer is banished to obscurity. Well, I’m trying to change all that, and I hope you are too. By dreaming, every day. Dreaming with our hands and dreaming with our minds. Our planet is facing the greatest problems it’s ever faced, ever. So whatever you do, don’t be bored, this is absolutely the most exciting time we could have possibly hoped to be alive. And things are just starting.”

-Waking Life


“They say that dreams are only real as long as they last. Couldn’t you say the same thing about life?”

-Waking Life

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Waking Life Quotes About Life 


“The quest is to be liberated from the negative, which is really our own will to nothingness. And, once having said yes to the instant, the affirmation is contagious. It bursts into a chain of affirmations that knows no limit. To say yes to one instant, is to say yes to all of existence.”

-Waking Life


“I feel like my transport should be an extension of my personality. And this is like my little window to the world… and every minute’s a different show. I may not understand it. I may not even necessarily agree with it. But I’ll tell you what I’ve accepted: just sort of glide along. You want to keep things on an even key, this is what I’m saying. You want to go with the flow. The sea refuses no river. The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving. It saves on introductions and goodbyes. The ride does not require explanation – just occupance. That’s where you guys come in. It’s like you come onto this planet with a crayon box. Now you may get the 8 pack, you may get the 16 pack but it’s all in what you do with the crayons – the colors – that you’re given. Don’t worry about coloring within the lines or coloring outside the lines – I say color outside the lines, you know what I mean? Color all over the page; don’t box me in! We’re in motion to the ocean. We are not land locked, I’ll tell you that.”

-Waking Life


“The reason why I refuse to take existentialism as just another French fashion or historical curiosity, is that I think it has something very important to offer us for the new century. I’m afraid we’re losing the real virtues of living life passionately in the sense of taking responsibility for who you are, the ability to make something of yourself and feel good about life. Existentialism is often discussed as if it’s, a philosophy of despair, but I think the truth is just the opposite. Sartre, once interviewed, said he never really felt a day of despair in his life. One thing that comes out from reading these guys is not a sense of anguish about life so much as, a real kind of exuberance, of feeling on top of it, it’s like your life is yours to create. I’ve read the post modernists with some interest, even admiration, but when I read them I always have this awful nagging feeling that something absolutely essential is getting left out. The more you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as fragmented of marginalized, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. And when Sartre talks about responsibility, he’s not talking about something abstract. He’s not talking about the kind of self or soul that theologians would argue about. It’s something very concrete, it’s you and me talking, making decisions, doing things, and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are six billion people in this world, and counting, but nevertheless -what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms, it makes a difference to other people, and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off or see each other as a victim of various forces. It’s always our decision who we are.”

-Waking Life


“Hey. Could we do that again? I know we haven’t met, but I don’t want to be an ant. You know? I mean, it’s like we go through life with our antennas bouncing off one another, continuously on an autopilot, with nothing really human required of us. Stop. Go. Walk here. Drive there. All action basically for survival. All communication simply to keep this ant colony buzzing along in an efficient, polite manner. “Here’s your change.” “Paper or plastic?’ “Credit or debit?” “You want ketchup with that?” I don’t want a straw. I want real human moments. I want to see you. I want you to see me. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to be ant, you know?”

-Waking Life


“On really romantic evenings of self, I go salsa dancing with my confusion.”

-Waking Life


“A thousand years is but an instant. There’s nothing new, nothing different. Same pattern, over and over. The same clouds, the same music, the same as I felt an hour or an eternity ago. There’s nothing here for me now, nothing at all. Now I remember, this happened to me before, this is why I left. You have begun to find your answers. Although it will seem difficult, the rewards will be great. Exercise your human mind as fully as possible, knowing that it is only an exercise. Build beautiful artifacts, solve problems, explore the secrets of the physical universe, savor the input from all the senses, feel the joy, and sorrow, the laughter, the empathy, compassion, and tuck these emotional memories in your travel bag. I remember where I came from, and how I became a human, why I hung around. And now, my final departure schedule: this way out, escaping velocity, not just eternity, but infinity…”

-Waking Life


“When it was over, all I could think about was how this entire notion of oneself, what we are, is just this logical structure, a place to momentarily house all the abstractions. It was a time to become conscious, to give form and coherence to the mystery, and I had been a part of that. It was a gift. Life was raging all around me and every moment was magical. I loved all the people, dealing with all the contradictory impulses – that’s what I loved the most, connecting with the people. Looking back, that’s all that really mattered.”

-Waking Life

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Waking Life Quotes About Social Conditioning


“We have got to realize that we’re being conditioned on a mass scale. Start challenging this corporate slave state.”

-Waking Life


“You can’t fight city hall.” “Death and taxes.” “Don’t talk about politics or religion.” This is all the equivalent of enemy propaganda, rolling across the picket line. “Lay down, GI! Lay down, GI!”. We saw it all through the 20th Century. And now on the 21st Century, it’s time to stand up and realize, that we should NOT allow ourselves to be crammed into this rat maze. We should not SUBMIT to dehumanization. I don’t know about you, but I’m concerned with what’s happening in this world. I’m concerned with the structure. I’m concerned with the systems of control. Those that control my life, and those that seek to control it EVEN MORE! I want FREEDOM! That’s what I want, and that’s what YOU should want! It’s up to each and every one of us to turn loose of just some of the greed, the hatred, the envy, and yes, the insecurities, because that is the central mode of control, make us feel pathetic, small, so we’ll willingly give up our sovereignty, our liberty, our destiny. We have GOT to realize we’re being conditioned on a mass scale. Start challenging this corporate slave state! The 21st Century’s gonna be a new century! Not the century of slavery, not the century of lies and issues of no significance, of classism and statism, and all the rest of the modes of control… it’s gonna be the age of humankind, standing up for something PURE and something RIGHT! What a bunch of garbage, liberal, Democratic, conservative, Republican, it’s all there to control you, two sides of the same coin! Two management teams, bidding for control of the CEO job of Slavery Incorporated! The TRUTH is out there in front of you, but they lay out this buffet of LIES! I’m SICK of it, and I’M NOT GONNA TAKE A BITE OUT OF IT! DO YA GOT ME? Resistance is NOT futile, we’re gonna win this thing, humankind is too good, WE’RE NOT A BUNCH OF UNDERACHIEVERS, WE’RE GONNA STAND UP, AND WE’RE GONNA BE HUMAN BEINGS! WE’RE GONNA GET FIRED UP ABOUT THE REAL THINGS, THE THINGS THAT MATTER – CREATIVITY, AND THE *DYNAMIC* *HUMAN* *SPIRIT* THAT REFUSES TO *SUBMIT*! WELL THAT’S IT, that’s all I’ve got to say. It’s in your court now.”

-Waking Life


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Related Material

“Artists have here perhaps a finer intuition; they who know only too well that precisely when they no longer do anything “arbitrarily,” and everything of necessity, their feeling of freedom, of subtlety, of power, of creatively fixing, disposing, and shaping, reaches its climax–in short, that necessity and “freedom of will” are then the same thing with them….Read More Fredrick Nietzsche Quotes Here. 

“Hold fast to dreamsFor when dreams goLife is a barren fieldFrozen with snow...Read more Langston Hughes Quotes Here

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