Quotes by Henri Frederic Amiel

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Henri Frdric Amiel (September 27, 1821 - May 11, 1881) was a Swiss philosopher, poet and critic.

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Women wish to be loved not because they are pretty, or good, or well bred, or graceful, or intelligent, but because they are themselves.

Destiny has two ways of crushing us -- by refusing our wishes and by fulfilling them.
So long as a person is capable of self-renewal they are a living being.
Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.
We are never more discontented with others than when we are discontented with ourselves.
Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.
The fire which enlightens is the same fire which consumes.
To do easily what is difficult for others is the mark of talent. To do what is impossible for talent is the mark of genius.
Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.
It is not what he had, or even what he does which expresses the worth of a man, but what he is.
Thought is a kind of opium; it can intoxicate us, while still broad awake; it can make transparent the mountains and everything that exists.
In every loving woman there is a priestess of the past -- a pious guardian of some affection, of which the object has disappeared.
Melancholy is at the bottom of everything, just as at the end of all rivers is the sea. Can it be otherwise in a world where nothing lasts, where all that we have loved or shall love must die? Is death, then, the secret of life? The gloom of an eternal mourning enwraps, more or less closely, every serious and thoughtful soul, as night enwraps the universe.
The man who insists upon seeing with perfect clearness before he decides, never decides. Accept life, and you must accept regret.
Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.
Charm is the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.
For purposes of action nothing is more useful than narrowness of thought combined with energy of will.
Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism, and doubt.
Tears are the symbol of the inability of the soul to restrain its emotion and retain its self command.
The philosopher is like a man fasting in the midst of universal intoxication. He alone perceives the illusion of which all creatures are the willing playthings; he is less duped than his neighbor by his own nature. He judges more sanely, he sees things as they are. It is in this that his liberty consists -- in the ability to see clearly and soberly, in the power of mental record.
Our duty is to be useful, not according to our desires, but according to our powers.
There is no respect for others without humility in one's self.
To shun one's cross is to make it heavier.
To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
An error is the more dangerous in proportion to the degree of truth which it contains.
Our true history is scarcely ever deciphered by others. The chief part of the drama is a monologue, or rather an intimate debate between God, our conscience, and ourselves. Tears, grieves, depressions, disappointments, irritations, good and evil thoughts, decisions, uncertainties, deliberations --all these belong to our secret, and are almost all incommunicable and intransmissible, even when we try to speak of them, and even when we write them down.
Every life is a profession of faith, and exercises an inevitable and silent influence.
To live we must conquer incessantly, we must have the courage to be happy.
It is by teaching that we teach ourselves, by relating that we observe, by affirming that we examine, by showing that we look, by writing that we think, by pumping that we draw water into the well.
To marry unequally is to suffer equally.
Materialism coarsens and petrifies everything, making everything vulgar, and every truth false.
Mozart has the classic purity of light and the blue ocean; Beethoven the romantic grandeur which belongs to the storms of air and sea, and while the soul of Mozart seems to dwell on the ethereal peaks of Olympus, that of Beethoven climbs shuddering the storm-beaten sides of a Sinai. Blessed be they both! Each represents a moment of the ideal life, each does us good. Our love is due to both.
The obscure only exists that it may cease to exist. In it lies the opportunity of all victory and all progress. Whether it call itself fatality, death, night, or matter, it is the pedestal of life, of light, of liberty and the spirit. For it represents resistance -- that is to say, the fulcrum of all activity, the occasion for its development and its triumph.
Self-interest is but the survival of the animal in us. Humanity only begins for man with self-surrender.
To know how to suggest is the great art of teaching. To attain it we must be able to guess what will interest; we must learn to read the childish soul as we might a piece of music. Then, by simply changing the key, we keep up the attraction and vary the song.
Clever people will recognize and tolerate nothing but cleverness.
Great men are true men, the men in whom nature has succeeded. They are not extraordinary -- they are in the true order. It is the other species of men who are not what they ought to be.
Oh, order! Material order, intellectual order, moral order! What a comfort and strength, and what an economy! To know where we are going and what we want; that is order. To keep ones word, to do the right thing, and at the right time: more order. To have everything under ones hand, to put ones whole army through its manoeuvres, to work with all ones resources: still order. To discipline ones habits and efforts and wishes, to organize ones life and distribute ones time, to measure ones duties and assert ones rights, to put ones capital and resources, ones talents and opportunities to profit: again and always order. Order is light, peace, inner freedom, self-determination: it is power. To conceive order, to return to order, to realize order in oneself, around oneself, by means of oneself, this is aesthetic and moral beauty, it is well-being, it is what ought to be.
Uncertainty is the refuge of hope.
What we call little things are merely the causes of great things; they are the beginning, the embryo, and it is the point of departure which, generally speaking, decides the whole future of an existence. One single black speck may be the beginning of a gangrene, of a storm, of a revolution.
Order is power.
Order is a great person's need and their true well being.
To depersonalize man is the dominant drift of our times.
Sacrifice, which is the passion of great souls, has never been the law of societies.
Sacrifice still exists everywhere, and everywhere the elect of each generation suffers for the salvation of the rest.
He who asks of life nothing but the improvement of his own nature is less liable than anyone else to miss and waste life.
Society lives by faith, and develops by science.
The only substance properly so called is the soul.
If nationality is consent, the state is compulsion.
Sympathy is the first condition of criticism.
Mutual respect implies discretion and reserve even in love itself; it means preserving as much liberty as possible to those whose life we share. We must distrust our instinct of intervention, for the desire to make one's own will prevail is often disguised under the mask of solicitude.
The best path through life is the highway.
Pure truth cannot be assimilated by the crowd; it must be communicated by contagion.
Common sense is calculation applied to life.
Common sense is the measure of the possible; it is composed of experience and prevision; it is calculation applied to life.
Cleverness is serviceable for everything, sufficient for nothing.
Our systems, perhaps, are nothing more than an unconscious apology for our faults --a gigantic scaffolding whose object is to hide from us our favorite sin.
Analysis kills spontaneity. The grain once ground into flour springs and germinates no more.
Action is coarsened thought; thought becomes concrete, obscure, and unconscious.
We become actors without realizing it, and actors without wanting to.
The consciousness of wrong-doing makes us irritable, and our heart in its cunning quarrels with what is outside it, in order that it may deafen the clamor within.
Will localizes us; thought universalizes us.