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Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head.
– Michel de Montaigne
The finest souls are those that have the most variety and suppleness.
I write to keep from going mad from the contradictions I find among mankind – and to work some of those contradictions out for myself.
Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.
I study myself more than any other subject. That is my metaphysics, that is my physics.
Unless a man feels he has a good enough memory, he should never venture to lie.
Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.
A straight oar looks bent in the water. What matters is not merely that we see things but how we see them.
Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.
It is an absolute and virtually divine perfection to know how to enjoy our being rightfully.
Confidence in others’ honesty is no light testimony of one’s own integrity.
The soul which has no fixed purpose in life is lost; to be everywhere, is to be nowhere.
The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.
There is no passion so contagious as that of fear.
The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them… Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will.
No wind serves him who addresses his voyage to no certain port.
Fortune, seeing that she could not make fools wise, has made them lucky.
Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.
There is not much less vexation in the government of a private family than in the managing of an entire state.
He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
I quote others only in order the better to express myself.
Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.
I have often seen people uncivil by too much civility, and tiresome in their courtesy.
A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.
A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.
If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.
My trade and art is to live.
The world is but a perpetual see-saw.
He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.
We only labor to stuff the memory, and leave the conscience and the understanding unfurnished and void.