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French philosopher, physicist, geometer and writer
(1623 - 1662)
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Fashion is a tyrant from which nothing frees us. We must suit ourselves to its fantastic tastes. But being compelled to live under its foolish laws, the wise man is never the first to follow, nor the last to keep it.
      - [Fashion]

Few men speak humbly of humility, chastely of chastity, skeptically of skepticism.
      - [Hypocrisy]

Force rules the world, and not opinion; but opinion is that which makes use of force.
      - [Force]

From whence comes it that a cripple in body does not irritate us, and that a crippled mind enrages us? It is because a cripple sees that we go right, and a distorted mind says that it is we who go astray. But for that we should have more pity and less rage.
      - [Deformity]

Generally we are occupied either with the miseries which now we feel, or with those which threaten; and even when we see ourselves sufficiently secure from the approach of either, still fretfulness, though unwarranted by either present or expected affliction, fails not to spring up from the deep recesses of the heart, where its roots naturally grow, and to fill the soul with its poison.
      - [Uneasiness]

Give him the same amount of money every morning that he is likely to win during the day's play on condition that does not gamble, and you will make him thoroughly unhappy. It will perhaps be said that he only cares about the fun of gambling and not about the winnings. But make him play for nothing; he will not get any excitement out of it at all and will merely be bored. This means that he is not for entertainment alone. . . . He must grow exited and fool himself into believing that he would be delighted to win
  the money that he would hate to be given t him on the condition that he does not gamble.
      - [Gambling]

Great and small suffer the same mishaps.
      - [Greatness]

Happiness is neither within us nor without us, it is the union of ourselves with God.
      - [Happiness]

However bright the comedy before, the last act is always stained with blood. The earth is laid upon our head, and there it lies forever.
      - [Graves]

However vast a man's spiritual resources, he is capable of but one great passion.
      - [Spirituality]

Human things must be known to be loved; but Divine things must be loved to be known.
      - [Religion]

I can approve of those only who seek in tears for happiness.
      - [Tears]

I can readily conceive of a man without hands or feet; and I could conceive of him without a head, if experience had not taught me that by this he thinks, Thought then, is the essence of man, and without this we cannot conceive of him.
      - [Thought]

I have often said that all the unhappiness of men comes from not knowing how to remain quiet m a chamber.
      - [Contentment]

I have spent much time in the study of the abstract sciences; but the paucity of persons with whom you can communicate on such subjects disgusted me with them. When I began to study man, I saw that these abstract sciences are not suited to him, and that in diving into them, I wandered farther from my real object than those who knew them not, and I forgave them for not having attended to these things. I expected then, however, that I should find some companions in the study of man, since it was so specifically a duty. I was in error. There are fewer students of man than of geometry.
      - [Science]

I lay it down as a fact that if all men knew what others say of them, there would not be four friends in the world.
      - [Gossip]

I take it as a matter not to be disputed, that if all knew what each said of the other, there would not be four friends in the world. This seems proved by the quarrels and disputes caused by the disclosures which are occasionally made.
      - [Gossip]

If a man loves a woman for her beauty, does he love her? No; for the smallpox, which destroys her beauty without killing her, causes his love to cease. And if any one loves me for my judgment or my memory, does he really love me? No; for I can lose these qualities without ceasing to be.
      - [Love]

If all persons knew what they said of each other there would not be four friends in the world.
      - [Gossip]

If man should commence by studying himself, he would see how impossible it is to go further.
      - [Man]

If our condition were truly happy, we would not seek diversion from it in order to make ourselves happy.
      - [Happiness]

If we regulate our conduct according to our own convictions, we may safely disregard the praise or censure of others.
      - [Conscience]

If we subject everything to reason, our religion will have nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we violate the principles of reason, our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.
      - [Religion]

Imagination decides everything.
      - [Imagination]

Imagination disposes of everything; it creates beauty, justice, and happiness, which is everything in this world.
      - [Imagination]

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