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A test of what is real is that it is hard and rough. Joys are found in it, not pleasure. What is pleasant belongs to dreams.
The afflicted are not listened to. They are like someone whose tongue has been cut out and who occasionally forgets the fact. When they move their lips no ear perceives any sound. And they themselves soon sink into impotence in the use of language, because of the certainty of not being heard.
Those who are unhappy have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention.
Difficult as it is really to listen to someone in affliction, it is just as difficult for him to know that compassion is listening to him.
Most idealistic people are skint. I have discovered that people with money have no imagination, and people with imagination have no money.
A beautiful woman looking at her image in the mirror may very well believe the image is herself. An ugly woman knows it is not.”
A doctrine serves no purpose in itself, but it is indispensable to have one if only to avoid being deceived by false doctrines.
Affliction hardens and discourages us because, like a red hot iron, it stamps the soul to its very depths with the scorn, the disgust, and even the self-hatred and sense of guilt that crime logically should produce but actually does not.”
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.' To remit debts is to renounce our own personality. It means renouncing everything that goes to make up our ego, without any exception. It means knowing that in the ego there is nothing whatever, no psychological element, that external circumstances could not do away with. It means accepting that truth. It means being happy that things should be so.”
Bourgeois society is infected by monomania the monomania of accounting. For it, the only thing that has value is what can be counted in francs and centimes. It never hesitates to sacrifice human life to figures which look well on paper, such as national budgets or industrial balance sheets.
Culture is an instrument wielded by professors to manufacture professors who when their turn comes, will manufacture professors.
Force is as pitiless to the man who possesses it, or thinks he does, as it is to its victims; the second it crushes, the first it intoxicates. The truth is, nobody really possesses it.
History is a tissue of base and cruel acts in the midst of which a few drops of purity sparkle at long intervals.
It is because the will has no power to bring about salvation that the idea of secular morality is an absurdity. What is called morality only depends on the will in what is, so to speak, its most muscular aspect. Religion on the contrary corresponds to desire, and it is desire that saves...To long for God and to renounce all the rest, that alone can save.”
Misfortunes leave wounds which bleed drop by drop even in sleep thus little by little they train man by force and dispose him to wisdom in spite of himself. Man must learn to think of himself as a limited and dependent being and only suffering teaches him this.
Oppression that is clearly inexorable and invincible does not give rise to revolt but to submission.
The beauty of the world is the tender smile of Christ to us through matter. He is really present in universal beauty. Love of this beauty proceeds from God and descends into our souls and goes out to God present in the universe. It too is something like a sacrament.
The love of our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, What are you going through
There is something else which has the power to awaken us to the truth. It is the works of writers of genius. They give us, in the guise of fiction, something equivalent to the actual density of the real, that density which life offers us every day but which we are unable to grasp because we are amusing ourselves with lies.
When a contradiction is impossible to resolve except by a lie, then we know that it is really a door.
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. But above this level, far above, separated by an abyss, is the level where the highest things are achieved. These things are essentially anonymous.