Some like to understand what they BELIEVE in. Others like to believe in what they understand.
The last period will be very long, for it is probable that human societies will throw themselves into ventures which will retard real progress, as they are likely to rest on a complete comprehension of the true nature of man and of his profound and obscure aspirations. It may take as much time to liberate man from his age-long heritage as it did to give a skeleton to mollusks, for it is by the ACTION OF MAN HIMSELF that this progress must take place. From now on man will have to struggle against man, the SPIRIT MUST ATTEMPT TO VANQUISH THE BODY. Those who are ready to wage this fight are rare. They are as rare as the mutant forms at the beginning of any transformation.
To love, to eat, drink, and amuse oneself are not acts which are reprehensible in themselves as long as they are practiced with MODERATION, and the word 'moderation' implies a moderator which is the CONSCIENCE, the sense of human dignity. EXCESS indicates precisely the failure of the moderator and the victory of bestiality. A drunkard is repulsive not because he has drunk but because he has lost control of himself. A man who is intoxicated is no longer a man; he shows that his SELF-MASTERY is at the mercy of an excess which he cannot control. What confidence can we place in him? His weakness stupefies and slowly kills him.
Similarly, VIRTUE consists in the purely subjective effort, and not in its results. A spiritual endeavour counts independently of its cause, and it is the endeavour which uplifts us. We can only find within ourselves the elements which will enable our conscience to contribute to the progress of evolution, to collaborate with the divine task.
But I cannot agree with the view of certain prominent men today, who perceiving that the common notion of matter does not suffice . . .
Experience does not err; only your judgements err by expecting from her what is not in her power. Men wrongly complain of experience; with great abuse they accuse her of leading them astray but they set experience aside, turning from it with complaints as to our ignorance causing us to be carried away by vain and foolish desires to promise ourselves, in her name, things that are not in her power; saying that she is fallacious. Men are unjust in complaining of innocent experience, constantly accusing her of error and of false evidence.
Beyond a doubt truth bears the same relation to falsehood as light to darkness; and this truth is in itself so excellent that, even when it dwells on humble and lowly matters, it is still infinitely above uncertainty and lies, disguised in high and lofty discourses; because in our minds, even if lying should be their fifth element, this does not prevent that the truth of things is the chief nutriment of superior intellects, though not of wandering wits.
But you who lives in dreams are better pleased by the sophistical reasons and frauds of wits in great and uncertain things, than by those reasons which are certain and natural and not so far above us.
The more closely an artist's HIEROGLYPHS approximate sense impressions from nature - and all art is a HIEROGLYPH - the more imaginative effort is needed to invent them.
That which is FORBIDDEN is not ALLOWED. (a) That which is ALLOWED exists. (b) That which exists is ALLOWED. (c)
As I would not be a SLAVE, So I would not be a MASTER. This expresses my idea of DEMOCRACY.
PAINTING is the most astounding sorceress. She can persuade us through the most evident falsehoods that she is pure truth.
Where all THINK alike, no one think very much.
Within the compass of seven octaves it covers the spectrum of the orchestra, and the ten fingers of one man are enough to reproduce the sounds created by a hundred musicians in concert.
It is thanks to the piano that we have an opportunity to become familiar with works that would otherwise be little known or completely unknown because of the difficulty of assembling an orchestra to perform them. It has the same relation to orchestral music as engraving does to painting: it multiplies it and makes it available to all: if it does not reproduce its colours at least it reproduces its light and shade.
And the night shall be filled with MUSIC, And the cares that infest the day, Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, And as silently steal away.
. . . there are things with bodies Solid and everlasting; these we call Seeds of things, firstlings, ATOMS, and in them lies the sum of all created things.
Beneath the rule of men entirely great, The PEN is mightier than the sword.