The history of man is essentially zoological; it becomes human late in the day, and then only in the beautiful souls, the souls alive to justice, goodness, enthusiasm, and devotion. The angel shows itself rarely and with difficulty through the highly-organized brute.
Man is a willful and covetous animal, who makes use of his intellect to satisfy his inclinations, but who cares nothing for truth, who rebels against personal discipline, who hates disinterested thought and the idea of self-education. Wisdom offends him, because it rouses in him disturbance and confusion, and because he will not see himself as he is.
Whatever impatience we may feel towards our neighbor, and whatever indignation our race may rouse in us, we are chained one to another, and, companions in labour and misfortune, have everything to lose by mutual recrimination and reproach. Let us be silent as to each other's weakness, helpful, tolerant, many, tender towards each other! Or, if we cannot feel tenderness, may we at least feel pity!
Nature does at least what she can to translate into visible form the wealth of the creative formula. By the vastness of the abysses into which she penetrates, in the effort--the unsuccessful effort--to house and contain the eternal thought, we may measure the greatness of the divine mind.
The philosopher is like a man fasting in the midst of universal intoxication. He alone perceives the illusion of which all creatures are the willing playthings; he is less duped than his neighbor by his own nature. He judges more sanely, he sees things as they are. It is in this that his liberty consists - in the ability to see clearly and soberly, in the power of mental record.
What we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, the embryo, and it is the point of departure which, generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence. One single black speck may be the beginning of gangrene, of a storm, of a revolution.
It would have been a joy to me to be smiled upon, loved, encouraged, welcomed, and to obtain what I was so ready to give, kindness and goodwill. But to hunt down consideration and reputation -- to force the esteem of others -- seemed to me an effort unworthy of myself, almost a degradation.