Jean Rostand
Quotations


To be adult is to be alone.

It may offend us to hear our own thoughts expressed by others: we are not sure enough of their souls.

Certain brief sentences are peerless in their ability to give one the feeling that nothing remains to be said.

The divine is perhaps that quality in man which permits him to endure the lack of God.

Beauty in art is often nothing but ugliness subdued.

The nobility of a human being is strictly independent of that of his convictions.

The books one has written in the past have two surprises in store: one couldn't write them again, and wouldn't want to.

Far too often the choices reality proposes are such as to take away one's taste for choosing.

Take heed of critics even when they are not fair; resist them even when they are.

Falsity cannot keep an idea from being beautiful; there are certain errors of such ingenuity that one could regret their not ranking among the achievements of the human mind.

It is sometimes well for a blatant error to draw attention to overmodest truths.

Renown? I've already got more of it than those I respect, and will never have as much as those for whom I feel contempt.

There are certain moments when we might wish the future were built by men of the past.

God, that checkroom of our dreams.

I don't judge a regime by the damning criticism of the opposition, but by the ingenuous praise of the partisan.

Greatness, in order to gain recognition, must all too often consent to ape greatness.

Hatred, for the man who is not engaged in it, is a little like the odor of garlic for one who hasn't eaten any.

The ideal, without doubt, varies, but its enemies, alas, are always the same.

To love an idea is to love it a little more than one should.

One must either take an interest in the human situation or else parade before the void.

To say of men that they are bad is to say they are worse than we think we are, or worse than the ideal man whose image we have built up on the basis of a certain few.

Kill a man one is a murderer; kill a million, a conqueror; kill them all, a God.

We must watch over our modesty in the presence of those who cannot understand its grounds.

It takes a very deep-rooted opinion to survive unexpressed.

I should have no use for a paradise in which I should be deprived of the right to prefer hell.

In order to remain true to oneself one ought to renounce one's party three times a day.

In politics, yesterday's lie is attacked only to flatter today's.

The least one can say of power is that a vocation for it is suspicious.

Stupidity, outrage, vanity, cruelty, iniquity, bad faith, falsehood -- we fail to see the whole array when it is facing in the same direction as we.

We are not na´ve enough to ask for pure men; we ask merely for men whose impurity does not conflict with the obligations of their job.

Quotations -- always inexact. I don't trust people who cannot even copy out.

Prerequisite for rereadability in books: that they be forgettable.

I prefer the honest jargon of reality to the outright lies of books.

It is sometimes important for science to know how to forget the things she is surest of.

A body of work such as Pasteur's is inconceivable in our time: no man would be given a chance to create a whole science. Nowadays a path is scarcely opened up when the crowd begins to pour in.

It is not easy to imagine how little interested a scientist usually is in the work of any other, with the possible exception of the teacher who backs him or the student who honors him.

When a scientist is ahead of his times, it is often through misunderstanding of current, rather than intuition of future truth. In science there is never any error so gross that it won't one day, from some perspective, appear prophetic.

Nothing leads the scientist so astray as a premature truth.

I think I am one of those who can manage not to take on a completely different appearance under their own glance.

There are some persons we could not cut down to size without diminishing ourselves as well.

One must credit an hypothesis with all that has had to be discovered in order to demolish it.

To reflect is to disturb one's thoughts.

There are moments when very little truth would be enough to shape opinion. One might be hated at extremely low cost.

I still understand a few words in life, but I no longer think they make a sentence.

The biologist passes. The frog stays the same.

Science has made us gods even before we are worthy of being men.



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