As for what concerns me in particular I have only in my life carried to an extreme what you have not dared to carry halfway, and what's more, you have taken your cowardice for good sense, and have found comfort in deceiving yourselves.
There is nothing easier than lopping off heads and nothing harder than developing ideas.
Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.
The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.
If you want to be respected by others the great thing is to respect yourself. Only by that, only by self-respect will you compel others to respect you.
Neither man or nation can exist without a sublime idea.
Beauty is not only a terrible thing, it is also a mysterious thing. There God and the Devil strive for mastery, and the battleground is the heart of men.
There is only one thing that I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings.
One can know a man from a laugh, and if you like a man's laugh before you know anything of him, you may confidently say that he is a good man.
Man is fond of counting his troubles, but he does not count his joys. If he counted them up as he ought to, he would see that every lot has enough happiness provided for it.
By interpreting freedom as the propagation and immediate gratification of needs, people distort their own nature, for they engender in themselves a multitude of pointless and foolish desires, habits, and incongruous stratagems. Their lives are motivated only by mutual envy, sensuality, and ostentation.
Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer; nothing is more difficult than to understand him.
The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.
It's in the homes of spiteful old widows that one finds such cleanliness.
I utter what you would not dare think.
So that if a man rejects God, he will have to worship an idol that may be made of wood, gold, or ideas. So those who think they don't need God are really just idol worshipers, and that's what we should call them. But there must be true atheists too; only they're much more dangerous because they come to us with the name of God on their lips . . . There are some people like that, my friends, and there should be.