- The invasion of technique desacralizes the world in which man is called upon to live. For technique nothing is sacred, there is no mystery, no taboo. ... Technique worships nothing, respects nothing. It has a single role: to strip off externals, to bring everything to light, and by rational use to transform everything into means. ... Science brings to the light of day everything man had believed sacred. Technique takes possession of it and enslaves it.
- Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (1964), p. 142
- Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” Essays: First Series (1883), p. 52
- Commerce is of trivial import; love, faith, truth of character, the aspiration of man, these are sacred.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Circles,” Essays: First Series (1883), p. 295
- God is for man the commonplace book where he registers his highest feelings and thoughts, the genealogical album into which he enters the names of the things most dear and sacred to him.
- Ludwig Feuerbach, as cited in the introduction to The Essence of Christianity (1957), p. xvi
- To theology, ... only what it holds sacred is true, whereas to philosophy, only what holds true is sacred.
- Ludwig Feuerbach, Lectures on the Essence of Religion, R. Manheim, trans. (1967), Lecture 2, p. 11
- In every well-governed state, wealth is a sacred thing; in democracies it is the only sacred thing.
- Anatole France, L’île des Pingouins (1908)
- Before the sacred, people lose all sense of power and all confidence; they occupy a powerless and humble attitude toward it. And yet no thing is sacred of itself, but by my declaring it sacred, by my declaration, my judgment, my bending the knee.
- Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own, ed. David Leopold (Cambridge: 1995), p. 66
- Why is it so important—what others have done? Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being your own?
- Don’t let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul—and his soul won’t be sacred to him. Kill reverence and you’ve killed the hero in man.
- The sacred interest is the uninteresting, because it is an absolute interest, an interest for its own sake, irrespective of whether you actually take an interest in it or not. You are obligated to make it your interest. It is not originally yours. It is not born not from you, but rather from the eternal, the common, the purely human. It is uninteresting, because no consideration is to be given to you or your interests. It is an interest with no interested parties, because it is a general interest, an interest of man. And because you are not the owner of yourself, but must rather become the disciple of man, the servant of man, egoism therefore ceases opposing itself to man, and true “disinteresteness” begins.
- Max Stirner, “Stirner’ Critics,” in Minor Writings (1898), p. 126
- That man who does not believe that each day contains an earlier, more sacred, and auroral hour than he has yet profaned, has despaired of life, and is pursuing a descending and darkening way.
- Not without a slight shudder at the danger, I often perceive how near I had come to admitting into my mind the details of some trivial affair,—the news of the street; and I am astonished to observe how willing men are to lumber their minds with such rubbish,—to permit idle rumors and incidents of the most insignificant kind to intrude on ground which should be sacred to thought. Shall the mind be a public arena, where the affairs of the street and the gossip of the tea-table chiefly are discussed? Or shall it be a quarter of heaven itself,—an hypæthral temple, consecrated to the service of the gods? I find it so difficult to dispose of the few facts which to me are significant, that I hesitate to burden my attention with those which are insignificant, which only a divine mind could illustrate. Such is, for the most part, the news in newspapers and conversation. It is important to preserve the mind’s chastity in this respect. Think of admitting the details of a single case of the criminal court into our thoughts, to stalk profanely through their very sanctum sanctorum for an hour, ay, for many hours! to make a very bar-room of the mind’s inmost apartment, as if for so long the dust of the street had occupied us,—the very street itself, with all its travel, its bustle, and filth, had passed through our thoughts’ shrine! Would it not be an intellectual and moral suicide?
- Henry David Thoreau, “Life without Principle”
- It is likely … that human society cannot exist without some source of sacredness. Those states which have sought openly to remove it have tended in the end to assume divinity themselves.
- Richard Weaver, Ideas Have Consequences (Chicago: 1948), p. 146