. . . I see an innumerable multitude of men, alike and equal, con­stantly circling around in pursuit of the petty and banal pleasures with which they glut their souls. Each one of them, withdrawn into himself, is almost unaware of the fate of the rest. Mankind, for him, consists in his children and his personal friends. . . . He exists in and for himself. . . . Over this kind of men stands an immense, protective power which is alone responsible for securing their enjoy­ment and watching over their fate. That power is absolute, provident, and gentle. . . . It gladly works for their happiness but wants to be sole agent and judge of it. . . . It covers the whole of social life with a network of petty, complicated rules that are both minute and uni­form. . . . It does not break men’s will, but softens, bends, and guides it . . . it is not at all tyrannical, but it hinders, restrains, enervates, stifles, and stultifies so much that in the end each nation is no more than a flock of timid and hardworking animals with the government as its shepherd.

Alexis de Tocqueville
French diplomat

He who thinks a great deal is not suited to be a party man: he thinks his way through the party and out the other side too soon.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Human, All Too Human (1878)

 

XCIII
Indeed the Idols I have loved so long
Have done my credit in this World much wrong:
Have drown’d my Glory in a shallow Cup
And sold my Reputation for a Song.

From:The Rubaiyat

By Omar Khayyam

Written 1120 A.C.E.