What men have called friendship is only a social arrangement, a mutual adjustment of interests, an interchange of services given and received; it is, in sum, simply a business from which those involved propose to derive a steady profit for their own self-love.
The defects and faults of the mind are like wounds in the body; after all imaginable care has been taken to heal them up, still there will be a scar left behind, and they are in continual danger of breaking the skin and bursting out again.
Nothing is impossible; there are ways that lead to everything, and if we had sufficient will we should always have sufficient means. It is often merely for an excuse that we say things are impossible.
There are various sorts of curiosity; one is from interest, which makes us desire to know that which may be useful to us; and the other, from pride which comes from the wish to know what others are ignorant of.
Those who most obstinately oppose the most widely-held opinions more often do so because of pride than lack of intelligence. They find the best places in the right set already taken, and they do not want back seats.
Humility is often merely feigned submissiveness assumed in order to subject others, an artifice of pride which stoops to conquer, and although pride has a thousand ways of transforming itself it is never so well disguised and able to take people in as when masquerading as humility.
We often see malefactors, when they are led to execution, put on resolution and a contempt of death which, in truth, is nothing else but fearing to look it in the face--so that this pretended bravery may very truly be said to do the same good office to their mind that the blindfold does to their eyes.
On why I don't trust democracy without extremely powerful systems of accountability and recall What seems to be generosity is often only disguised ambition - which despises small interests to gain great ones.
Those great and glorious actions that dazzle our eyes with their luster are represented by statesmen as the result of great wisdomand excellent design; whereas, in truth, they are commonly the effects of the humors and passions.
Hope is the last thing that dies in man; and though it be exceedingly deceitful, yet it is of this good use to us, that while we are traveling through life it conducts us in an easier and more pleasant way to our journey's end.
It is difficult to define love; all we can say is, that in the soul it is a desire to rule, in the mind it is a sympathy, and in the body it is a hidden and delicate wish to possess what we love-Plus many mysteries.
Our desires always disappoint us; for though we meet with something that gives us satisfaction, yet it never thoroughly answers our expectation. [However disappointment can always be removed if we remember it could have turned out worse.]
When fortune surprises us by giving us some great office without having gradually led us to expect it, or without having raised our hopes, it is well nigh impossible to occupy it well, and to appear worthy to fill it.
L'absence diminue les mediocres passions, et augmente les grandes,comme le vent eteint les bougies, et allume le feu. Absence diminishes commonplace passions, and increases great ones, as wind extinguishes candles and kindles fire.
The passions are the only orators that always persuade: they are, as it were, a natural art, the rules of which are infallible; and the simplest man with passion is more persuasive than the most eloquent without it.
Some crimes get honor and renown by being committed with more pomp, by a greater number, and in a higher degree of wickedness thanothers. Hence it is that public robberies, plunderings, and sackings have been looked upon as excellencies and noble achievements, and the seizing of whole countries, however unjustly and barbarously, is dignified with the glorious name of gaining conquests.
The same strength of character which helps a man resist love, helps to make it more violent and lasting too. People of unsettled minds are always driven about with passions, but never absolutely filled with any.
We often in our misfortunes take that for constancy and patience which is only dejection of mind; we suffer without daring to holdup our heads, just as cowards let themselves be knocked on the head because they have not courage to strike back.
It is a mighty error to suppose that none but violent and strong passions, such as love and ambition, are able to vanquish the rest. Even idleness, as feeble and languishing as it is, sometimes reigns over them; it usurps the throne and sits paramount over all the designs and actions of our lives, and imperceptibly wastes and destroys all our passions and all our virtues.
There is a kind of elevation which does not depend on fortune; it is a certain air which distinguishes us, and seems to destine us for great things; it is a price which we imperceptibly set upon ourselves.