Being wealthy isn't just a question of having lots of money. It's a question of what we want. Wealth isn't an absolute, it's relative to desire. Every time we seek something that we can't afford, we can be counted as poor, how much money we may actually have.
To this motive which encourages me is added another which made up my mind: after I have upheld, according to my natural intelligence, the side of truth, no matter what success I have, there is a prize which I cannot fail to win. I will find it in the depths of my heart.
But if the abberations of foolish youth made me forget suc wise lessons for a time,I have the happiness to sense at last that whatever the inclination one may have toward vice,it is difficult for an education in which the heart is involved to remain forever lost.
My bad head cannot adjust itself to the way things are.... If I want to depict spring, it has to be in wintertime; if I want to describe a beautiful landscape, I must be enclosed within walls; and I have said a hundred times that if I were put in the Bastille, there I would paint a picture of liberty.
There exists one book, which, to my taste, furnishes the happiest treatise of natural education. What then is this marvelous book? Is it Aristotle? Is it Pliny, is it Buffon? No-it is Robinson Crusoe.
Behold the works of our philosophers; with all their pompous diction, how mean and contemptible they are by comparison with the Scriptures! Is it possible that a book at once so simple and sublime should be merely the work of man?
People who know little are usually great talkers, while men who know much say little. It is plain that an ignorant person thinks everything he does know important, and he tells it to everybody. But a well-educated man is not so ready to display his learning; he would have too much to say, and he sees that there is much more to be said, so he holds his peace.
Too much apparatus, designed to guide us in experiments and to supplement the exactness of our senses, makes us neglect to use those senses...The more ingenious our apparatus, the coarser and more unskillful are our senses. We surround ourselves with tools and fail to use those which nature has provided every one of us.
[When anything happens, we interpret it as good or bad, but...] We do not know what is really good or bad fortune. [Only the future can decide. For example, what appears to be bad today may in fact lead us to a greater good tomorrow and by the very act of thinking and planning in that positive way, we can help make that good future come true.]
It is hard to prevent oneself from believing what one so keenly desires, and who can doubt that the interest we have in admitting or denying the reality of the Judgement to come determines the faith of most men in accordance with their hopes and fears.
And when the relics of humanity left among the Spaniards induced them to forbid their lawyers to set foot in America, what must they have thought of jurisprudence? May it not be said that they thought, by this single expedient, to make reparation for all the outrages they had committed against the unhappy Indians?
The English people believes itself to be free; it is gravely mistaken; it is free only during election of members of parliament; as soon as the members are elected, the people is enslaved; it is nothing. In the brief moment of its freedom, the English people makes such a use of that freedom that it deserves to lose it.
From the first moment of life, men ought to begin learning to deserve to live; and, as at the instant of birth we partake of the rights of citizenship, that instant ought to be the beginning of the exercise of our duty.
Plants are shaped by cultivation and men by education. .. We are born weak, we need strength; we are born totally unprovided, we need aid; we are born stupid, we need judgment. Everything we do not have at our birth and which we need when we are grown is given us by education.
I hear from afar the shouts of that false wisdom which is ever dragging us onwards, counting the present as nothing, and pursuing without pause a future which flies as we pursue, that false wisdom which removes us from our place and never brings us to any other.
The real world has its limits; the imaginary world is infinite. Unable to enlarge the one, let us restrict the other, for it is from the difference between the two alone that are born all the pains which make us truly unhappy.
I had brought from Paris the national prejudice against Italian music; but I had also received from nature that acute sensibility against which prejudices are powerless. I soon contracted the passion it inspires in all those born to understand it.
Now it is easy to perceive that the moral part of love is a factitious sentiment, engendered by society, and cried up by the women with great care and address in order to establish their empire, and secure command to that sex which ought to obey.
...an animal, at the end of a few months, is what it will be all its life; and its species, at the end of a thousand years, is what it was in the first of those thousand years. Why is man alone subject to becoming an imbecile~?
As evening approached, I came down from the heights of the island, and I liked then to go and sit on the shingle in some secluded spot by the lake; there the noise of the waves and the movement of the water, taking hold of my senses and driving all other agitation from my soul, would plunge me into delicious reverie in which night often stole upon me unawares.
You are worried about seeing him spend his early years in doing nothing. What! Is it nothing to be happy? Nothing to skip, play and run around all day long? Never in his life will he be so busy again.
At first we will only skim the surface of the earth like young starlings, but soon, emboldened by practice and experience, we will spring into the air with the impetuousness of the eagle, diverting ourselves by watching the childish behavior of the little men or awling miserably around on the earth below us.
We cannot teach children the danger of telling lies to men without realising, on the man's part, the danger of telling lies to children. A single untruth on the part of the master will destroy the results of his education.
In all the ills that befall us, we are more concerned by the intention than the result. A tile that falls off a roof may injure us more seriously, but it will not wound us so deeply as a stone thrown deliberately by a malevolent hand. The blow may miss, but the intention always strikes home.
Usurpers always bring about or select troublous times to get passed, under cover of the public terror, destructive laws, which the people would never adopt in cold blood. The moment chosen is one of the surest means of distinguishing the work of the legislator from that of the tyrant.
A blue-stocking is the scourge of her husband, children, friends, servants, and every one. [Fr., Une femme bel-esprit est le fleau de son mari, de ses enfants, de ses amis, de ses valets, et tout le monde.]