All known religious beliefs, whether simple or complex, present one common characteristic: they presuppose a classification of all things, real and ideal, of which men think, into two classes or opposed groups, generally designated profane and sacred.
The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, 1912 (translated by Joseph Ward Swain, 1965).
There is no sociology worthy of the name which does not possess a historical character.Émile Durkheim
At this point, an urgent question arises: ... Is it our duty to seek to become a thorough and complete human being, one quite sufficient unto himself; or, on the contrary, to be only a part of a whole, the organ of an organism? Briefly, is the division of labor, at the same time that it is a law of nature, also a moral rule of human conduct; and, if it has this latter character, why and in what degree?Émile Durkheim
This solidarity can grow only in inverse ratio to personality.... Solidarity which comes from likenesses is at its maximum when the collective conscience completely envelops our whole conscience and coincides in all points with it.... when this solidarity exercises its force, our personality vanishes, as our definition permits us to say, for we are no longer ourselves, but the collective life.Émile Durkheim
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