Julien Benda Quotes

Christianity exhorted man to set himself up against Nature, but did so in the name of his spiritual and disinterested attributes. Pragmatism exhorts him to do so in the name of his practical attributes. Formerly man was divine because he had been able to acquire the concept of justice, the idea of law, the sense of God; today he is divine because he has been able to create equipment which makes him the master of matter.

Julien Benda

Teachers preach the superiority of the intelligence; but they preach it because in their opinion it is the intelligence which shows us the actions required for our interests, i.e. from exactly the same passion for the practical.

Julien Benda

If shame is cried upon him, he will point out that today he has to earn his living, and that it is not his fault if he is eager to support the class which takes a pleasure in his productions.

Julien Benda

That teaching according to which intellectual activity is worthy of esteem to the extent that it is practical and to that extent alone.

Julien Benda

From his loftiest pulpit the modern clerc assures man that he is great in proportion as he is practical.

Julien Benda

Philosophy, which formerly raised man to feel conscious of himself because he was a thinking being and to say, I think therefore I am, now raises him to say I think, therefore I am not, (unless he takes thought into consideration only in that humble region where it is confused with action).

Julien Benda

That teaching of modern metaphysics which exhorts man to feel comparatively little esteem for the truly thinking portion of himself and to honor the active and willing part of himself with all his devotion...

Julien Benda

The desire to abase the values of knowledge before the values of action...

Julien Benda

The modern moralists extol the cult of practical activity in defiance of the disinterested life.

Julien Benda

The modern clercs have created in so-called cultivated society a positive romanticism of harshness. The have also created a romanticism of contempt.

Julien Benda

Formerly, leaders of states practiced realism, but did not honor it With them morality was violated, but moral notions remained intact. The modern governor, owing to the fact that he addresses crowds, is compelled to be a moralist, and to present his acts as bound up with a system of morality.

Julien Benda

Up until our own times men had only received two sorts of teaching in what concerns the relations between politics and morality. One was Platos and it said: Morality decides politics; and the other was Machiavellis, and it said Politics have nothing to do with morality. Today we receive a third. M. Maurras teaches: Politics decide morality.

Julien Benda

For M. Maurras the practical is the divine, and his atheism consists less in denying God than in shifting him to man and his political work. It is the divinizing of politics.

Julien Benda

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