Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
Instinct guides the animal better than the man. In the animal it is pure, in man it is led astray by his reason and intelligence.
You risk just as much in being credulous as in being suspicious.
How had they met? By chance, like everybody else. What were there names? What's it to you? Where were they coming from? From the nearest place. Where were they going? Does anyone really know where they're going?
Scepticism is the first step towards truth.
One swallows the lie that flatters, but sips the bitter truth drop by drop.
All things must be examined, debated, investigated without exception and without regard for anyone's feelings.
Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
You live as if you were destined to live forever, no thought of your frailty ever enters your head, of how much time has already gone by you take no heed. You squander time as if you drew from a full and abundant supply, so all the while that day which you bestow on some person or thing is perhaps your last. You have all the fears of mortals and all the desires of immortals… What foolish forgetfulness of mortality to defer wise resolutions to the fiftieth or sixtieth year, and to intend to begin life at a point to which few have attained.
It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.
When science, art, literature, and philosophy are simply the manifestation of personality they are on a level where glorious and dazzling achievements are possible, which can make a man's name live for thousands of years.
There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination.
The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children.
The infant runs toward it with its eyes closed, the adult is stationary, the old man approaches it with his back turned.
Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.
We are far more liable to catch the vices than the virtues of our associates.
Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.
From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.
No man has received from nature the right to command his fellow human beings.
Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey.