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...neither recognize nor admit it. And thus a prejudice of self-love protects all the prejudices of the understanding, which are themselves the result of a stratagem of the _ego_. Humanity has always slain or persecuted those who have disturbed this selfish repose of hers. She only improves in spite of herself. The only progress which she desires is an increase of enjoyments. All advances in justice, in morality, in holiness, have been imposed upon or forced from her by some noble violence.Sacrifice, which is the passion of great souls, has never been the law of societies.It is too often by employing one vice against another--for example, vanity against cupidity, greed against idleness--that the great agitators have broken through routine. In a word, the human world is almost entirely directed by the law of nature, and the law of the spirit, which is the leaven of its coarse paste, has but rarely succeeded in raising it into generous expansion.
From the point of view of the ideal, humanity is _triste_ and ugly. But if we compare it with its probable... Amiel, Henri Frederic
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