Octave Mirbeau Quotes
A chambermaid with her wits about her and a good pair of eyes knows perfectly well what goes on between her employers. She doesn't even need to listen at the door; the bathroom, the bedroom, the bedding and so many other things tell her everything. It's unbelievable how people make almost no effort to hide the signs of their dirty pleasures, yet at the same time they'll lecture others on morality, and insist on their servants being on their best behavior at all times.
As soon as I find myself in the presence of a rich man, I cannot help looking upon him as an exceptional and beautiful being, as a sort of marvellous divinity, and, in spite of myself, surmounting my will and my reason, I feel rising, from the depths of my being, toward this rich man, who is very often an imbecile, and sometimes a murderer, something like an incense of admiration. Is it not stupid? And why? Why?
By a simple wave of the wand of that miraculous fairy, kindness, there came instantly an end to the recollection of my past humiliations and a conception of all the duties laid upon me by the dignity that belongs to a human being, and at last vouchsafed to me.
Children, by nature, are keen, passionate and curious. What was referred to as laziness is often merely an awakening of sensitivity, a psychological inability to submit to certain absurd duties, and a natural result of the distorted, unbalanced education given to them. This laziness, which leads to an insuperable reluctance to learn, is, contrary to appearances, sometimes proof of intellectual superiority and a condemnation of the teacher.
Dead trees enclosed the bodies of men and women, violently distorted and subjected to hideous and shameful tortures.
Desire can attain the darkest human terror and give an actual ideal of hell and its horror.
During Humankind's long centuries societies have risen and fallen, all alike in this one fact which rules all history: the great are protected, the small are crushed.
Each footstep taken in this society bristles with privileges, and is marked with a bloodstain; each turn of the government machinery grinds the tumbling, gasping flesh of the poor; and tears are running from everywhere in the impenetrable night of suffering. Facing these endless murders and continuous tortures, what's the meaning of society, this crumbling wall, this collapsing staircase?
Every intellectual effort is bent towards committing the most diversified violations upon the human being.
For my part I feel an immense and imperative need of that pure embrace, of that chaste kiss, which is no longer the savage bite of the flesh, but the ideal caress of the soul.
Great ladies ... are like the best sauces - it is better not to know how they are made.
Habit, like a fog, tends to palliate things and beings. Little by little it obscures the features of a face and rubs down deformities; if you live with a humpback day in and day out, after a time he loses his hump.
Honesty is negative and sterile; it is ignorant of the correct evaluation of appetite and ambition - the only powers through which you can found anything durable.
I feel something like a powerful oppression, like an immense fatigue after marching across fever-laden jungles, or by the shores of deadly lakes ... And I am flooded by discouragement, so that it seems I shall never be able to escape from myself again.
I passionately scrutinize this past, in order to reconstruct from its scattered bits the illusion of a future.
If you really wish to become a man of society, you must learn first either to be an imbecile or to hold your tongue.
It is no exaggeration to say that the main aim of upper-class existence is to enjoy the filthiest of amusements.
It isn't dying that's sad. It's living when you're not happy.
Man is nothing but surprise, contradiction, incoherence, and folly.
Murder is born of love, and love attains the greatest intensity in murder.
Octave Mirbeau Profile
February 16, 1848
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