HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL QUOTES

Swiss philosopher, poet & critic (1821-1881)

Henri-Frederic Amiel quote

A belief is not true because it is useful.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: belief


Charm: the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: charm


Woman is the salvation or destruction of the family. She carries its destinies in the folds of her mantle.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, journal, Dec. 11, 1872

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Tags: women


A bubble of air in the blood, a drop of water in the brain, and a man is out of gear, his machine falls to pieces, his thought vanishes, the world disappears from him like a dream at morning. On what a spider thread is hung our individual existence!

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: life


Action is but coarsened thought; thought become concrete, obscure, and unconscious.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: action, thought


The ideal, after all, is true than the real: for the ideal is the eternal element in perishable things.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: idealism


One may guess the why and wherefore of a tear and yet find it too subtle to give any account of. A tear may be the poetical resume of so many simultaneous impressions, the quintessence of so many opposing thoughts! It is like a drop of one of those precious elixirs of the East which contain the life of twenty plants fused into a single aroma.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: tears


What doctor possesses such curative resources as those latent in a spark of happiness or a single ray of hope?

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: happiness, hope


A man without passion is only a latent force, only a possibility, like a stone waiting for the blow from the iron to give forth sparks.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: passion


The unfinished is nothing.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Does this mean that I am an opponent of democracy? Not at all. Fiction for fiction, it is the least harmful. But it is well not to confound its promises with realities. The fiction consists in the postulate of all democratic government, that the great majority of the electors in a state are enlightened, free, honest, and patriotic--whereas such a postulate is a mere chimera. The majority in any state is necessarily composed of the most ignorant, the poorest, and the least capable; the state is therefore at the mercy of accident and passion, and it always ends by succumbing at one time or another to the rash conditions which have been made for its existence. A man who condemns himself to live upon the tight-rope must inevitably fall; one has no need to be a prophet to foresee such a result.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: democracy


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.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: teaching


He who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no ideal, no convictions--such a man is a mere article of the world's furniture--a thing moved, instead of a living and moving being--an echo, not a voice. The man who has no inner life is the slave of his surroundings, as the barometer is the obedient servant of the air at rest, and the weathercock the humble servant of the air in motion.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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The history of man is essentially zoological; it becomes human late in the day, and then only in the beautiful souls, the souls alive to justice, goodness, enthusiasm, and devotion. The angel shows itself rarely and with difficulty through the highly-organized brute.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: humanity


I am a spectator, so to speak, of the molecular whirlwind which men call individual life; I am conscious of an incessant metamorphosis, an irresistible movement of existence, which is going on within me -- and this phenomenology of myself serves as a window opened upon the mystery of the world.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, introduction, Journal Intime

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Tags: life


To learn new habits is everything, for it is to reach the substance of life. Life is but a tissue of habits.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: habit


We are hemmed round with mystery, and the greatest mysteries are contained in what we see and do every day.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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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.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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The tragic solemnity of existence strikes us with terrible force on that morning when we wake to find the mournful words "too late" ringing in our ears.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Our life is nothing, it is true, but our life is divine. A breath of nature annihilates us, but we surpass nature in penetrating far beyond her vast phantasmagoria to the changeless and the eternal.

HENRI-FREDERIC AMIEL, Journal Intime

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Tags: life