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Thinking with Henri Bergson, Léon Bloy and Alain


Henri Bergson

“Art aims to imprint feelings in us rather than to express them.”

“Act as a man of thought and think as a man of action”

“Choose, therefore exclude”

“There are things which intelligence alone is capable of seeking, but which by itself it will never find. These things, instinct alone would find, but it will never seek them”

“The art of the writer consists above all in making us forget that he uses words”

“The future of humanity remains undetermined, because it depends on it”

“Man should put as much effort into simplifying his life as he puts into complicating it”

“The idea of the future is more fertile than the future itself”

“The idea is a stop of the thought”

“The intelligence is characterized by a natural incomprehension of life”

“Obedience to duty is resistance to oneself”

“Social cohesion is due in large part to the need for a society to defend itself against others”

“Comedy is much closer to real life than drama”

“Ancient science was about concepts, while modern science seeks laws”

“The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity”

“Speculation is a luxury, while action is a necessity”

“We find societies that have neither science, nor art, nor philosophy. But there has never been a society without religion”.

“All action is an encroachment on the future”

Leon Bloy

“He who can afford to pay interest should not need to borrow”

“The absolute is a journey without return”

“Pain is the auxiliary of creation”

“The true home of men is their desire”

“Work is the prayer of slaves; prayer is the work of free men”

“We ask God for what we like, and he gives us what we need”

“The closer we come to God, the more alone we are. It is the infinity of solitude”.


“To admire is to equalize”

“It is faith itself that is God”

“What we want to do, it is by doing that we discover it”.

“What is difficult is to never be fooled, and yet to believe everything about man”.

“It is the passions and not the interests that lead the world”.

“Since the plane flew without the permission of the theorists, the technicians make fun of the theorists”

“As soon as one educates oneself in order to teach, one educates oneself badly”

“Hasten to live well and remember that every day is a life”.

“It is true that we must think of the happiness of others; but it is not said enough that the best thing we can do for those who love us is still to be happy”

“There is no progress for any schoolboy in the world, neither in what he hears, nor in what he sees, but only in what he does”

“There is never any other difficulty in duty than in doing it”

“It is enough to believe oneself a slave to be one indeed”

“There is torment in passion, the word indicates it”

“The effect of drunkenness is to abolish the scruples of feeling”

“Error is easy to all; easier perhaps to the one who believes to know much”

“Intelligence is that which in a man always remains young”

“Morality begins where the police stop”.

“Death is a disease of the imagination”

“Fear is what rumbles in courage; fear is what pushes courage beyond its goal”

“The price of thinking is that you have to think well”

“A man’s virtue is much more like his own vices than the virtue of his neighbor”

“Happiness is a reward that comes to those who have not sought it”

“The storyteller, who wants to make things seem absent, succeeds much better by the thrill of fear than by a reasonable sequence of causes and effects”

“Times are short to him who thinks, and endless to him who desires”

“My great objection to money is that money is silly”

“Do not force yourself to think; but note at once every thought that proposes itself”

“Children should be well taught the art of being happy when circumstances are fair and all the bitterness of life is reduced to small troubles and discomforts”

“One hardly likes a happiness that falls to you; one wants to have made it”

“One can undo any happiness by ill will”

“You can prove whatever you want, and the real difficulty is to know what you want to prove”

“How difficult it is to be brave without being mean!”

“That citizens give their lives more willingly than their money is a rather strong paradox”

“Who is dissatisfied with others is always dissatisfied with himself”

“To refuse by giving reasons is not to refuse”

“To think is to deny what one believes”

“To know, and not to make use of what one knows, is worse than to ignore”

“Every man is sensitive when he is a spectator. Every man is insensitive when he acts”.

“Every man persecutes if he cannot convert. What does culture remedy, which makes diversity adorable?

“Every clear idea that we form decreases our slavery and increases our freedom”.

“A cultured man is like a music box. He has two or three little songs in his belly”.

“A man who is firm and even unwavering in his judgment of us, gives us strength and consistency”

“A learned man has understood a number of truths, a cultured man has understood a number of errors. And this is the difference between the right mind and the just mind.

“An idea that I have, I must deny it; it is my way of trying it”

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