Nicolas Berdyaev

Words and Reality in Societal Life

"The vast masses of the people live not by realities and not by the essentials, but by the outer trappings of things, they see only the cut of the clothes and only in accord with the cut of the clothes is anyone met...The vast masses of the people accept on faith words and categories, worked out by others, like a vampire it lives off the experience of some stranger. There is no sort of properly real experience bound up with the words, by which however, are defined all the values in life. The words were real content for those whose own experience and whose own thought and spiritual life they were. But these selfsame words have become normal and without content for those which live by inertia, by rote and by imitation."