Marcel Proust

France
10 Jul 1871 // 18 Nov 1922
Writer

Phylosophy and Good Society

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.

Marcel Proust, in "On Reading Ruskin"

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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays