I undertake the same project as Montaigne, but with an aim contrary to his own: for he wrote his Essays only for others, and I write my reveries only for myself.
It is a mania shared by philosophers of all ages to deny what exists and to explain what does not exist.
We are born, so to speak, twice over; born into existence, and born into life; born a human being, and born a man.
A good boxer, in striking the round blow, instead of loosening body and arm, gathers himself into a heap of muscularity and begins his blow where all blows ought to begin, from the solidarity of the right foot.
Virtue is a state of war, and to live in it we have always to combat with ourselves.
All of my misfortunes come from having thought too well of my fellows.
Women are at once the guardians and the well-spring of the world’s faith, morality, and tenderness; and if ever they are degraded to a commonplace level with men, this fine essential quality will be impaired, and their weakness will have to beg and follow where now it guides and controls.
No man has any natural authority over his fellow men.
It is heroic to prepare for war with a tyrant power. Patriots will always win the admiration of mankind for daring to meet the bloodshed of battle for their country’s liberty. But the patriot who is willing to go to that sacrifice will be the first to condemn the aimless and secret shedding of blood in time of peace.
Whoever blushes is already guilty; true innocence is ashamed of nothing.