Reality seems valueless by comparison with the dreams of fevered imaginations; reality is therefore abandoned.
A society whose members are united by the fact that they think in the same way in regard to the sacred world and its relations with the profane world, and by the fact that they translate these common ideas into common practices, is what is called a Church. In all history, we do not find a single religion without a Church.
That men have an interest in knowing the world which surrounds them, and consequently that their reflection should have been applied to it at an early date, is something that everyone will readily admit.
Sadness does not inhere in things; it does not reach us from the world and through mere contemplation of the world. It is a product of our own thought. We create it out of whole cloth.
By definition, sacred beings are separated beings. That which characterizes them is that there is a break of continuity between them and the profane beings.
It is too great comfort which turns a man against himself. Life is most readily renounced at the time and among the classes where it is least harsh.
A person is not merely a single subject distinguished from all the others. It is especially a being to which is attributed a relative autonomy in relation to the environment with which it is most immediately in contact.
The liberal professions, and in a wider sense the well-to-do classes, are certainly those with the liveliest taste for knowledge and the most active intellectual life.
A monomaniac is a sick person whose mentality is perfectly healthy in all respects but one; he has a single flaw, clearly localized. At times, for example, he has an unreasonable and absurd desire to drink or steal or use abusive language; but all his other acts and all his other thoughts are strictly correct.
Whoever makes an attempt on a man’s life, on a man’s liberty, on a man’s honour inspires us with a feeling of horror in every way analogous to that which the believer experiences when he sees his idol profaned.