Whoever shall review his life, will find that the whole tenor of his conduct has been determined by some accident of no apparent moment.
The fundamental rights, like the right to existence and life; the right to personal freedom or to conduct one’s own life as master of oneself and of one’s acts, responsible for them before God and the law of the community; the right to the pursuit of the perfection of moral and rational human life; the right to keep one’s body whole; the right to private ownership of material goods, which is a safeguard of the liberties of the individual; the right to marry according to one’s choice and to raise a family which will be assured of the liberties due it; the right of association, the respect for human dignity in each individual, whether or not he represents an economic value for society - all these rights are rooted in the vocation of the person (a spiritual and free agent) to the order of absolute values and to a destiny superior to time.
As a social and as a personal force, religion has become a dependent variable. It does not originate; it reacts. It does not denounce; it adapts. It does not set forth new models of conduct and sensibility; it imitates. Its rhetoric is without deep appeal; the worship it organizes is without piety. It has become less a revitalization of the spirit in permanent tension with the world than a respectable distraction from the sourness of life.
The only good histories are those that have been written by the very men who were in command in the affairs, or who were participants in the conduct of them or who at least have had the fortune to conduct others of the same sort... What can you expect of a doctor discussing war, or a schoolboy discussing the intentions of princes?
Mankind must not be governed with too much severity; we ought to make a prudent use of the means which nature has given us to conduct them. If we inquire into the cause of all human corruptions, we shall find that they proceed form the impunity of criminals, and not from the moderation of punishments.
People do not always understand the motives of sublime conduct, and when they are astonished they are very apt to think they ought to be alarmed. The truth is none are fit judges of greatness but those who are capable of it.
If you are visited by pain, examine your conduct.
We give advice, but we do not inspire conduct.
Every political society is composed of other smaller societies of different kinds, each of which has its interests and its rules of conduct: but those societies which everybody perceives, because they have an external and authorized form, are not the only ones that actually exist in the State... Unhappily personal interest is always found in inverse ratio to duty, and increases in proportion as the association grows narrower, and the engagement less sacred; which irrefragably proves that the most general will always the most just also, and that the voice of the people is in fact the voice of God.
True wisdom consists in not departing from nature and in molding our conduct according to her laws and model.
I know of nothing more opposite to revolutionary attitudes than commercial ones. Commerce is naturally adverse to all the violent passions; it loves to temporize, takes delight in compromise, and studiously avoids irritation. It is patient, insinuating, flexible, and never has recourse to extreme measures until obliged by the most absolute necessity. Commerce renders men independent of one another, gives them a lofty notion of their personal importance, leads them to seek to conduct their own affairs, and teaches how to conduct them well; it therefore prepares men for freedom, but preserves them from revolutions.
In times when the passions are beginning to take charge of the conduct of human affairs, one should pay less attention to what men of experience and common sense are thinking than to what is preoccupying the imagination of dreamers.
Short, isolated sentences were the mode in which ancient wisdom delighted to convey its precepts for the regulation of human conduct.
Better it is toward the right conduct of life, to consider what will be the end of a thing, than what is the beginning of it: for what promises fair at first may prove ill, and what seems at first a disadvantage, may prove very advantageous.
The true guide of our conduct is no outward authority, but the voice of God, who comes down to dwell in our souls, who knows all our thoughts.
People in our culture have a morbid tendency to avoid blame, because they do not wish to take the trouble to change their conduct in any way: blame-avoidance and blame-transference are therefore endemic amongst us. These are substitutes for repentance and renewal.
One should not (seek to) please others in an improper way, not be lavish of his words... To cultivate one’s person and fulfill one’s word is called good conduct. When the conduct is (thus) ordered, and the words are accordant with the (right) course, we have the substance of the rules of propriety... The course (of duty), virtue, benevolence, and righteousness cannot be fully carried out without the rules of propriety... nor can the clearing up of quarrels and discriminating in disputes be accomplished.
Great is the conduct of a man who lets rewards take care of themselves - come if they will or fail to come - but goes on his way, true to the truth simply because it is true, strongly loyal to the right for its pure righteousness.
Great becomes the fruit, great the advantage of earnest contemplation, when it is set round with upright conduct. Great becomes the fruit, great the advantage of intellect when it is set round with earnest contemplation.
The golden rule of conduct is mutual toleration, seeing that we will never all think alike and that we shall always see Truth in fragments and from different angles of vision.