„There is nothing man desires more than a heroic life: there is nothing less common to men than heroism.“

—  Jacques Maritain, True Humanism (1938), p. xi.
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Jacques Maritain4
1882 - 1973
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„Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death.“

—  Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970
Context: Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth – more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. It sees man, a feeble speck, surrounded by unfathomable depths of silence; yet it bears itself proudly, as unmoved as if it were lord of the universe. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man. pp. 178-179

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„Nothing is more vain than to seek to unite men by a philosophic minimum.“

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„A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.“

—  George Bernard Shaw Irish playwright 1856 - 1950
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„Very simply, diverse personalities are to be found in the breast of each of us, and often the life of more than one superior man is nothing but the coexistence of a philosopher and a snob.“

—  Marcel Proust French novelist, critic, and essayist 1871 - 1922
Context: A man is not more entitled to be "received in good society," or at least to wish to be, because he is more intelligent and cultivated. This is one of those sophisms that the vanity of intelligent people picks up in the arsenal of their intelligence to justify their basest inclinations. In other words, having become more intelligent creates some rights to be less. Very simply, diverse personalities are to be found in the breast of each of us, and often the life of more than one superior man is nothing but the coexistence of a philosopher and a snob. Actually, there are very few philosophers and artists who are absolutely detached from ambition and respect for power, from "people of position." And among those who are more delicate or more sated, snobism replaces ambition and respect for power in the same way superstition arises on the ruins of religious beliefs. Morality gains nothing there. Between a worldly philosopher and a philosopher intimidated by a minister of state, the second is still the more innocent. Notes to Sesame and Lilies by John Ruskin, translated by Proust (1906); from Marcel Proust: On Reading Ruskin, trans. Jean Autret and William Burford

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„When we examine the opinions of men, we find that nothing is more uncommon, than common sense; or, in other words, they lack judgment to discover plain truths, or to reject absurdities, and palpable contradictions.“

—  Baron d'Holbach French-German author, philosopher, encyclopedist 1723 - 1789
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