"The moral virtues, then, are produced in us neither by nature nor against nature. Nature, indeed, prepares in us the ground for their reception, but their complete formation is the product of habit."
"In a normal person the motor and sensory nervous systems act as the windows of the individual personality.... The broken, many-stained and pictorial windows through which the light is struggling under disadvantages to harmonize itself with the physical world at large are found in three classes of persons--the mentally deficient, the morally deficient, and the insane. In these, the light is there, but the images, as in a broken cathedral window, are more or less shattered and confused."
"... this I conceive to be no time to prate of moral influences. Our men's nerves require their accustomed narcotics and a glass ofwhiskey is a powerful friend in a sunstroke, and these poor fellows fall senseless on their heavy drills."
"While it is generally agreed that the visible expressions and agencies are necessary instruments, civilization seems to depend farmore fundamentally upon the moral and intellectual qualities of human beings--upon the spirit that animates mankind."
"All those who write either explicitly or by insinuation against the dignity, freedom, and immortality of the human soul, may so far forth be justly said to unhinge the principles of morality, and destroy the means of making men reasonably virtuous."
"... the structure of our public morality crashed to earth. Above its grave a tombstone read, "Be tolerant--even of evil." Logically the next step would be to say to our commonwealth's criminals, "I disagree that it's all right to rob and murder, but naturally I respect your opinion." Tolerance is only complacence when it makes no distinction between right and wrong."
"I think it saves much confusion to regard religion as quite distinct from morality, or the right conduct of life--as having necessarily nothing to do with these, but as a system of faith and worship, a belief in something extranatural.... Indeed, the most religious people are by no means the most moral. Hence it is that religion so rarely changes the man, or makes him practically any better. Let us keep things separated, religion by itself, and morality by itself. Religion implies a belief in the supernatural; in a personal deity who takes sides with or against us. A man may be pure, noble, virtuous, high-minded, spiritual, and not have a religion."
"One measure of a civilization, either of an age or of a single individual, is what that age or person really wishes to do. A man'shope measures his civilization. The attainability of the hope measures, or may measure, the civilization of his nation and time."
"I knew very well that this hope was chimerical. I was like a pauper who mingles fewer tears with his dry bread if he tells himselfthat at any moment a stranger will bequeath to him his fortune. We must all, in order to make reality more tolerable, keep alive in us a few little follies."
"For women who do not love us, as for the "disappeared", knowing that we no longer have any hope does not prevent us form continuing to wait. We live on our guard, on watch; women whose son has gone asea on a dangerous exploration imagine at any minute, although it has long been certain that he has perished, that he will enter, miraculously saved, and healthy."