Alexander Herzen
Quotations


Never was Catholicism, never were the ideas of chivalry, impressed on men so deeply, so multifariously, as the bourgeois ideas.

We could hardly believe that after so many ordeals, after all the trials of modern skepticism, there was still so much left in our souls to destroy.

It must not be thought that the cowardly feeling of caution and uneasy self-preservation is innate in the English character. It is the consequence of a corpulence derived from wealth and of the training of all thoughts and passions for acquisitiveness.

It is possible to lead astray an entire generation, to strike it blind, to drive it insane, to direct it towards a false goal. Napoleon proved this.

People who have realized that this is a dream imagine that it is easy to wake up, and are angry with those who continue sleeping, not considering that the whole world that environs them does not permit them to wake. Life proceeds as a series of optical illusions, artificial needs and imaginary sensations.

Liberalism, austere in political trifles, has learned ever more artfully to unite a constant protest against the government with a constant submission to it.

Every man who has lived for fifty years has buried a whole world or even two; he has grown used to its disappearance and accustomed to the new scenery of another act: but suddenly the names and faces of a time long dead appear more and more often on his way, calling up series of shades and pictures kept somewhere, “just in case,” in the endless catacombs of the memory, making him smile or sigh, and sometimes almost weep.

You can no more bridle passions with logic than you can justify them in the law courts. Passions are facts and not dogmas.

Human development is a form of chronological unfairness, since late-comers are able to profit by the labors of their predecessors without paying the same price.



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