François Fénelon

France
6 Aug 1651 // 7 Jan 1715
Theologian / Poet / Writer

The Right Spirit

There is a great difference between a lofty spirit and a right spirit. A lofty spirit excites admiration by its profoundness; but only a right spirit achieves salvation and happiness by its stability and integrity. Do not conform your ideas to those of the world. Scorn the "intellectual" as much as the world esteems it. What men consider intellectual is a certain facility to produce brilliant thoughts. Nothing is more vain. We make an idol of our intellect as a woman who believes herself beautiful worships her face. We take pride in our own thoughts. We must reject not only human cleverness, but also human prudence, which seems so important and so profitable.

François Fénelon, in 'Meditations'
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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