"We all live by treading on human beings, but we do not give it a thought; it takes a special effort to remember them. When we make a rare and praiseworthy effort to direct our attention to things which we easily forget, this is to be explained by our desire to be sincere with ourselves; it is not to be explained by sympathy, since an effort of this kind results in suffering…There is something within us which constrains us with the force of an imperative. When one is virtuous, one has the impression that one does the opposite of what one would naturally do."
"There are some people who get a positive pleasure from the cry; and many others simply do not hear it. […] These two states of mind are closer than they appear to be. The second is only a weaker mode of the first; its deafness is complacently cultivated because it is agreeable and it offers a positive satisfaction of its own. There are no other restraints upon our will than material necessity and the existence of other human beings around us. Any imaginary extension of these limits is seductive, so there is a seduction in whatever helps us to forget the reality of the obstacles. That is why upheavals like war and civil war are so intoxicating; they empty human lives of their reality and seem to turn people into puppets."