Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues (1715 – 1747) was a French writer and moralist. He was born into nobility, but his family was poor so at the age of 18 that he began a military career as a cadet in the King’s Regiment. By 1739 he had achieved the rank of lieutenant and was later promoted to captain. Following his time in the army his health became increasingly poor, particularly after he contracted smallpox. This led to a move to Paris in 1745, where he lived as a recluse until his death. In 1746 he anonymously published his sole volume, a collection of writings which included the essay Introduction a la connaissance de l’esprit humain, supplemented by his Reflexions and Maximes.
Quotes by Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues…
Our indifference to the truth is due to our determination to follow our desires. “It is of no importance,” men say, “to know where the truth is, since we know what will give us pleasure.”
Men must be aware of the wisdom and the strength that is in them if their understanding is to be expanded.
We ought never to be afraid to repeat an ancient truth when we feel that we can make it more striking by a neater turn, or bring it alongside of another truth, which may make it clearer, and thereby accumulate evidence. It belongs to the inventive faculty to see clearly the relative state of things, and to be able to place them in connection, but the discoveries of past ages belong less to their first authors than to those who make them practically useful to the world.
A new principle is an inexhaustible source of new views.
Despair is the greatest of our errors.
The usual excuse of those who hurt others is that they do it for their own good.
We are too careless and too self-absorbed to understand one another. Whoever has seen a masked ball where people dance together in friendliness, then separate and never see each other again, will have some idea of the world we live in.
Most become happy only through imitation, and deliberately counterfeit high spirits and cheerfulness.
So helpless does slavery make men that they grow fond of it.
Weak people prefer to be dependent in order to be protected. Those who fear men love the laws of the land.