Paul Valéry Quotes
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The very object of an art, the principle of its artifice, is precisely to impart the impression of an ideal state in which the man who reaches it will be capable of spontaneously producing, with no effort of hesitation, a magnificent and wonderfully ordered expression of his nature and our destinies.
In the eyes of those lovers of perfection, a work is never finished—a word that for them has no sense—but abandoned; and this abandonment, whether to the flames or to the public (and which is the result of weariness or an obligation to deliver) is a kind of an accident to them, like the breaking off of a reflection, which fatigue, irritation, or something similar has made worthless.
Freedom of mind and mind itself have been most fully developed in regions where trade developed at the same time. In all ages, without exception, every intense production of art, ideas, and spiritual values has occurred in some locality where a remarkable degree of economic activity was also manifest.
I said that to invite minds to concern themselves with Mind and its destiny was a sign and symptom of the times. Would that idea have occurred to me, had not a whole body of impressions been sufficiently significant and powerful to reflect themselves in me, and for that reflection to become action? And that action, which consists of expressing it in your presence, would not perhaps have been accomplished had I not felt that my impressions were those of many other people, that the sensation of a diminution of mind, of a menace to culture, of a twilight of the most pure gods was a sensation which imposed itself with increasing strength on all those who are capable of feeling something in the order of superior values of which we are speaking.
There is a value called mind as there is a value oil, wheat, or gold. … One can invest in that value, one can follow it as they say on the stock exchange; one can watch its fluctuations in I know not what price list which is the world's general opinion of it. … All these rising and falling values constitute the great market of human affairs. And of these the unfortunate value mind does not stop falling.