Monasterium sine libris est sicut civitas sine opibus, castrum sine numeris, coquina sine suppellectili, mensa sine cibis, hortus sine herbis, pratum sine floribus, arbor sine foliis…[Trans.]A monastery without books is like a city without resources, a fortress without numbers, [i.e. troops] a kitchen without utensils, a table without food, a garden without plants, a meadow without flowers, a tree without leaves…
What is love? There is nothing in the world, neither man nor Devil nor any thing, that I hold as suspect as love, for it penetrates the soul more than any other thing. Nothing exists that so fills and binds the heart as love does. Therefore, unless you have those weapons that subdue it, the soul plunges through love into an immense abyss.
Verba vana aut risui apta non loqui.[Trans.]Do not speak words that are vain or give rise to laughter.
Until then I had thought each book spoke of the things, human or divine, that lie outside books. Now I realized that not infrequently books speak of books: it is as if they spoke among themselves. In the light of this reflection, the library seemed all the more disturbing to me. It was then the place of a long, centuries-old murmuring, an imperceptible dialogue between one parchment and another, a living thing, a receptacle of powers not to be ruled by a human mind, a treasure of secrets emanated by many minds, surviving the death of those who had produced them or had been their conveyors.
The city is the place where today live the people of God, of whom you, we, are the shepherds. It is the place of scandal in which the rich prelates preach virtue to poor and hungry people.
Learning does not consist only of knowing what we must or we can do, but also of knowing what we could do and perhaps should not do.
True learning must not be content with ideas, which are, in fact, signs, but must discover things in their individual truth.
There is only one thing that arouses animals more than pleasure, and that is pain. Under torture you are as if under the dominion of those grasses that produce visions. Everything you have heard told, everything you have read returns to your mind, as if you were being transported, not toward heaven, but toward hell. Under torture you say not only what the inquisitor wants, but also what you imagine might please him, because a bond (this, truly, diabolical) is established between you and him…