All religions have based morality on obedience, that is to say, on voluntary slavery. That is why they have always been more pernicious than any political organization. For the latter makes use of violence, the former- of the corruption of the will.
Compassionate love may be strong. It sobs, it burns, then it wipes away its tears- and it does nothing.
Education at school continues what has been done at home: it crystallizes the optical illusion, consolidates it with book learning, theoretically legitimizes the traditional trash and trains the children to know without understanding and to accept denominations for definitions.
Every man who has lived for fifty years has buried a whole world or even two; he has grown used to its disappearance and accustomed to the new scenery of another act: but suddenly the names and faces of a time long dead appear more and more often on his way, calling up series of shades and pictures kept somewhere, 'just in case,' in the endless catacombs of the memory, making him smile or sigh, and sometimes almost weep.
False gods must be repudiated, but that is not all: the reasons for their existence must be sought beneath their masks.
History is the autobiography of a madman.
History knocks at a thousand gates at every moment, and the gatekeeper is chance. We shout into the mist for this one or that one to be opened for us, but through every gate are a thousand more. We need wit and courage to make our way while our way is making us.
Human development is a form of chronological unfairness, since late-comers are able to profit by the labors of their predecessors without paying the same price.
I am truly horrified by modern man. Such absence of feeling, such narrowness of outlook, such lack of passion and information, such feebleness of thought.
I believe in nothing here, except a handful of people, a few ideas, and the fact that one cannot arrest movement.
If nations always moved from one set of furnished rooms to another- and always into a better set- things might be easier, but the trouble is that there is no one to prepare the new rooms. The future is worse than the ocean- there is nothing there. It will be what men and circumstances make it.
It is possible to lead astray an entire generation, to strike it blind, to drive it insane, to direct it towards a false goal. Napoleon proved this.
Laws to suppress tend to strengthen what they would prohibit. This is the fine point on which all legal professions of history have based their job security.
Life has taught me to think, but thinking has not taught me to live.
Science, which cuts its way through the muddy pond of daily life without mingling with it, casts its wealth to right and left, but the puny boatmen do not know how to fish for it.
Strong drink stupefies a man and makes it possible for him to forget; it gives him an artificial cheeriness, an artificial excitement; and the pleasure of this state is increased by the low level of civilization and the narrow empty life to which these men are confined.
The liberty of the individual is the greatest thing of all, it is on this and this alone that the true will of the people can develop.
The world will not know liberty until all that is religious and political is transformed into something simple and human and made susceptible to criticism and denial.
There is nothing in the world more stubborn than a corpse: you can hit it, you can knock it to pieces, but you cannot convince it.
We could hardly believe that after so many ordeals, after all the trials of modern skepticism, there was still so much left in our souls to destroy.
We have wasted our spirit in the regions of the abstract and general just as the monks let it wither in the world of prayer and contemplation.
We think the purpose of a child is to grow up because it does grow up. But its purpose is to play, to enjoy itself, to be a child. If we merely look to the end of the process, the purpose of life is death.
You can no more bridle passions with logic than you can justify them in the law courts. Passions are facts and not dogmas.
Found 23 occurence(s) in 51,786 quotation(s).