André Maurois Quotes
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At eighty, a man has experienced everything: love, and its ending; ambition, and its emptiness; several foolish beliefs, and their rectification. Fear of death is not very great; affections and interest concern people who have died and events of the past. In a cinema theatre when the show is continuous the spectator has the right to retain his seat as long as he wishes to do so, but actually, when the scenes he has already witnessed reappear on the screen, he leaves the theatre. Life is a continuous show. The same events take place every thirty years, and they become boring. One after another the spectators take their departure.
Some people believe themselves to be independent of surrounding influences because their lives have made rebels of them. But rebellion is not a guarantee of independence. On the contrary, it is an acute form of prejudice. The writer who has been too much dominated in childhood will put himself forward as a free thinker in his attacks on religion and family life, but this revolt is the revolt of a slave.
Character is of the first importance, but intelligence is nevertheless essential. Ii is desirable for a leader to have a broad education. History and poetry increase his knowledge of human passions. Culture offers the man of action opportunities now and then to capture his serenity; it puts at his disposal models of order and clarity. It is, in a sense, a work of art to reconstruct a country or to lead an army, and the man who has acquired a sense of beauty from his studies will be the more successful for it.
Clearly, the central argument of the opponents to marriage is that it is an institution whose purpose is to stabilize something that cannot be stabilized, to make something last that will not last. All are agreed that physical love is as natural an instinct as huger or thirst, but the permanence of love is not instinctive. If, as is the case with so many men, physical love must have change, then why the promise of a life's devotion?