„The only means of being great in life is having the consciousness that you will not retreat before death.“
— Jean-Marie Guyau
Context: We can judge ourselves and our ideal by posing this question: For what idea, for what person would I be ready to risk my life? He who cannot answer such a question has a vulgar and empty heart. He is incapable of feeling or doing anything grand in life, since he is unable to go beyond his individuality. He is impotent and sterile, dragging along his selfish ego like the tortoise its shell. On the contrary, he who has present in his spirit the idea of death for his ideal seeks to maintain this ideal at the height of this possible sacrifice. He draws from this supreme risk a constant tension and an indefatigable energy of the will. The only means of being great in life is having the consciousness that you will not retreat before death. [https://www.marxists.org/archive/guyau/1895/sacrifice.htm Sacrifice], Pages Choisies des Grands Écrivains (1895).