Claude Adrien Helvétius
De l'esprit or, Essays on the Mind, and Its Several Faculties (1758)
- English translation by William Mudford, 1807
- All men have an equal disposition for understanding.
- p. 286
- No nation has reason to regard itself superior to others by virtue of its innate endowment.
- p. 21
- Discipline is, in a manner, nothing else but the art of inspiring the soldiers with greater fear of their officers than of the enemy. This fear has often the effect of courage: but it cannot prevail against the fierce and obstinate valor of people animated by fanaticism, or warm love of their country.
- …there are men whom a happy disposition, a strong desire of glory and esteem, inspire with the same love for justice and virtue, which men in general have for riches and honours.
- The actions personally advantageous for these virtuous men are so truly just, that they tend to promote the general welfare, or, at least, not to lessen it.
- But the number of these men is so small, that I only mention them in honour of humanity.
- The degree of genius necessary to please us is pretty nearly the same proportion that we ourselves have.
- Essay II, Chapter X, note.
A Treatise on Man: His Intellectual Faculties & His Education, Vol. I (1773)
- De l'homme, de ses facultés intellectuelles et de son éducation (posth., 1773); English translation by W. Hooper, 1777
- To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves: such a prohibition ought to fill them with disdain.
- En anéantissant les désirs, on anéantit l'âme, & tout homme sans passion n'a en lui ni principe d'action, ni motif pour se mouvoir.
- By annihilating the desires, you annihilate the mind. Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act.