A diarist who searched for harmony and perfection, Swiss poet and philosopher Henri-Frédéric Amiel (1821–1881) was born on this day in Geneva. A sensitive, frail child, he was an orphaned at age 12.
"Blessed be childhood, which brings down something of heaven into the midst of our rough earthliness," he said.
As a student of German philosophy in Berlin, Amiel threw himself into his educational pursuits with a passion.
"My horizon is vaster; I have seen much more of men, things, countries, peoples, books; I have a greater mass of experiences," he explained.
Influenced by the writings of Friedrich Schelling and Georg Hegel, Amiel was a private soul who became an esteemed philosophy professor.
Often quoted, he is best known for his Journal intime. This masterpiece of honest self-observation covered a period of more than 30 years and was published after his death.
Amiel's journal was a celebration of his inner life--questioning, philosophizing, analyzing.
With remarkable insight, he once wrote, "He who floats with the current, who does not guide himself according to higher principles, who has no ideal, no convictions-such a man is a mere article of the world's furniture-a thing moved, instead of a living and moving being-an echo, not a voice."
Let your heart seek harmony within.
More AMIEL Quotations