To write the lives of the great in separating them from their works necessarily ends by above all stressing their pettiness, because it is in their work that they have put the best of themselves.
Two prisoners whose cells adjoin communicate with each other by knocking on the wall. The wall is the thing which separates them but is also their means of communication. It is the same with us and God. Every separation is a link.
The mysteries of faith are degraded if they are made into an object of affirmation and negation, when in reality they should be an object of contemplation.
There is no detachment where there is no pain. And there is no pain endured without hatred or lying unless detachment is present too.
Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.
When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder.
For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation.
We can only know one thing about God – that he is what we are not. Our wretchedness alone is an image of this. The more we contemplate it, the more we contemplate him.
Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.
It is only the impossible that is possible for God. He has given over the possible to the mechanics of matter and the autonomy of his creatures.
Who were the fools who spread the story that brute force cannot kill ideas? Nothing is easier. And once they are dead they are no more than corpses.
In the intellectual order, the virtue of humility is nothing more nor less than the power of attention.
There can be a true grandeur in any degree of submissiveness, because it springs from loyalty to the laws and to an oath, and not from baseness of soul.
There is one, and only one, thing in modern society more hideous than crime namely, repressive justice.
In struggling against anguish one never produces serenity; the struggle against anguish only produces new forms of anguish.
Imagination is always the fabric of social life and the dynamic of history. The influence of real needs and compulsions, of real interests and materials, is indirect because the crowd is never conscious of it.
It is an eternal obligation toward the human being not to let him suffer from hunger when one has a chance of coming to his assistance.
Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.
A self-respecting nation is ready for anything, including war, except for a renunciation of its option to make war.
Culture is an instrument wielded by teachers to manufacture teachers, who, in their turn, will manufacture still more teachers.
An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.
What a country calls its vital… interests are not things that help its people live, but things that help it make war.
Nothing can have as its destination anything other than its origin. The contrary idea, the idea of progress, is poison.
The only hope of socialism resides in those who have already brought about in themselves, as far as is possible in the society of today, that union between manual and intellectual labor which characterizes the society we are aiming at.
To want friendship is a great fault. Friendship ought to be a gratuitous joy, like the joys afforded by art or life.
More than in any other performing arts the lack of respect for acting seems to spring from the fact that every layman considers himself a valid critic.
With no matter what human being, taken individually, I always find reasons for concluding that sorrow and misfortune do not suit him; either because he seems too mediocre for anything so great, or, on the contrary, too precious to be destroyed.
Equality is the public recognition, effectively expressed in institutions and manners, of the principle that an equal degree of attention is due to the needs of all human beings.
We are like horses who hurt themselves as soon as they pull on their bits – and we bow our heads. We even lose consciousness of the situation, we just submit. Any re-awakening of thought is then painful.
To set up as a standard of public morality a notion which can neither be defined nor conceived is to open the door to every kind of tyranny.
The role of the intelligence – that part of us which affirms and denies and formulates opinions is merely to submit.