Paul Valéry Quotes

Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry was a French poet, essayist, and philosopher.

We hope vaguely but dread precisely.
– Paul Valéry

A great man is one who leaves others at a loss after he is gone.
– Paul Valéry

A difficulty is a light. An insurmountable difficulty is a sun.
– Paul Valéry

Politeness is organized indifference.
– Paul Valéry

What is simple is wrong, and what is complicated cannot be understood.
– Paul Valéry

A man’s true secrets are more secret to himself than they are to others.
– Paul Valéry

A poem is never finished, only abandoned.
– Paul Valéry

To enter into your own mind you need to be armed to the teeth.
– Paul Valéry

Every social system is more or less against nature, and at every moment nature is at work to reclaim her rights.
– Paul Valéry

It seems to me that the soul, when alone with itself and speaking to itself, uses only a small number of words, none of them extraordinary.
– Paul Valéry

An intelligent woman is a woman with whom one can be as stupid as one wants.
– Paul Valéry

History is the most dangerous product which the chemistry of the mind has concocted. Its properties are well known. It produces dreams and drunkenness. It fills people with false memories, exaggerates their reactions, exacerbates old grievances, torments them in their repose, and encourages either a delirium of grandeur or a delusion of persecution. It makes whole nations bitter, arrogant, insufferable and vainglorious.
– Paul Valéry

Nothing beautiful can be summarized.
– Paul Valéry

Breath, dreams, silence, invincible calm, you triumph.
– Paul Valéry

There are two ways to acquire the niceties of life:
1) To produce them or
2) To plunder them.
When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.
– Paul Valéry

War: a massacre of people who don’t know each other for the profit of people who know each other but don’t massacre each other.
– Paul Valéry

I know nothing more stupid and indeed vulgar than wanting to be right.
– Paul Valery

My soul is nothing now but the dream dreamt by matter struggling with itself!
– Paul Valery

But hope is only man’s mistrust of the clear foresight of his mind.
– Paul Valery

The purpose of psychology is to give us a completely different idea of the things we know best.
– Paul Valery

Stupidity is not my strong point.
– Paul Valery

Politics is the art of preventing people from busying themselves with what is their own business.
– Paul Valery

That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.
– Paul Valery

At the end of the mind, the body. But at the end of the body, the mind.
– Paul Valery

One should be light like a bird, and not like a feather.
– Paul Valery

History is the science of what never happens twice.
– Paul Valery

What one wrote playfully, another reads with tension and passion; what one wrote with tension and passion,another reads playfully.
– Paul Valery

Power without abuse loses its charm.
– Paul Valery

Our most important thoughts are those that contradict our emotions.
– Paul Valery

To live means to lack something at every moment.
– Paul Valery

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