- What transforms this world is — knowledge. Do you see what I mean? Nothing else can change anything in this world. Knowledge alone is capable of transforming the world, while at the same time leaving it exactly as it is. When you look at the world with knowledge, you realize that things are unchangeable and at the same time are constantly being transformed. You may ask what good it does us. Let's put it this way — human beings possess the weapon of knowledge in order to make life bearable. For animals such things aren't necessary. Animals don't need knowledge or anything of the sort to make life bearable. But human beings do need something, and with knowledge they can make the very intolerableness of life a weapon, though at the same time that intolerableness is not reduced in the slightest. That's all there is to it.
- The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (1959)
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- I want to make a poem of my life.
- As quoted by Mishima's biographer, Henry Scott-Stokes in the documentary Yukio Mishima : Samurai Writer (1985)
Sun and Steel (1968)
In its essence, any art that relies on words makes use of their ability to eat away — of their corrosive function — just as etching depends on the corrosive power of nitric acid.