Short summary - Reflections and Maxims
Luc de Clapiers, marquis de Vauvenargues
It is easier to say a new word than to reconcile the words that have already been said.
Our mind is more discerning than consistent, and embraces more than we can comprehend.
If a thought cannot be expressed in simple words, then it is insignificant and must be discarded.
Express a false thought clearly and it will refute itself.
An unchanging avarice in praise is a sure sign of a superficial mind.
Ardent ambition drives out all joy from our lives - it wants to rule with absolute power.
The best support in adversity is not reason, but courage.
Neither wisdom nor freedom is compatible with weakness.
Reason cannot correct what is imperfect by its very nature.
You cannot be fair without being human.
It is one thing to soften the rules of virtue in the name of its triumph, and another to equate it with vice in order to nullify it.
We don't like to be pitied for our mistakes.
Young people do not know what beauty is: they only know passion.
As soon as we feel that a person has nothing to respect us for, we begin to almost hate him.
Pleasure teaches the sovereign to feel like just a man.
The one who demands payment for his honesty most often sells his honor.
A fool is always convinced that no one who will deceive him will deceive an intelligent person.
Several fools, sitting down at the table, announce: "Where we are not, there is no good society." And everyone believes them.
Smart people would be completely alone if the fools did not include themselves among them.
It is not easy to appreciate a person the way he wants.
Let a person who does not have great talents be comforted by the same thought as a person who does not have great ranks: you can be higher in your heart than both.
Our judgments about others are not as fluid as we are about ourselves. It is a mistake to think that the poor are always superior to the rich.
People only willingly provide services as long as they feel that they can do it.
He who is incapable of great accomplishments despises great designs.
A great man takes on great things because he realizes their greatness, a fool - because he does not understand how difficult they are.
Strength easily prevails over cunning.
Excessive discretion is no less pernicious than its opposite: there is little use from people for someone who is always afraid of being cheated.
Bad people are always shocked by the discovery that good people are capable of wit.
It rarely happens to express a common thought to someone who always tries to be original.
Someone else's wit quickly gets boring.
Bad advice is far more influential than our own whims.
The mind deceives us more often than our nature.
Generosity is not required to give an account of prudence about the reasons for their actions.
The consciences of the dying are slanderous for their entire lives.
The thought of death is treacherous: captured by it, we forget to live.
Sometimes you think: life is so short that it's not worth the slightest of my displeasure. But when an annoying guest arrives, I am not able to patiently get bored for half an hour.
If even foresight cannot make our life happy, then what can we say about carelessness.
Who knows, maybe it is to the passions that reason owes its most brilliant conquests.
If people valued fame less, they would not have enough intelligence or valor for it. deserve.
People usually torture their neighbors on the pretext that they wish them well.
To punish unnecessarily is to challenge the mercy of the Lord.
No one sympathizes with a fool on the sole ground that he is foolish, and this is perhaps reasonable; but how absurd it is to think that he himself is to blame for his stupidity!
Most disgusting, but most common is the ancient ingratitude of children towards their parents. Sometimes our weaknesses bind us to each other no less than the highest virtues.
Hatred overpowers friendship, but gives in to love.
Whoever is born to conquer will be obedient on the throne.
Those deprived of power are looking for someone to obey them, for they need protection.
Who is able to endure everything, to him it is given to dare for everything.
It is better to swallow other insults in silence, so as not to cover yourself with dishonor.
We want to believe that satiety speaks of shortcomings, of the imperfection of what we are fed up with, while in fact it is only a consequence of the exhaustion of our feelings, evidence of our weakness.
A person dreams of peace, but he finds joy only in activity, only he values it.
An insignificant atom, called a man, is capable of one glance to embrace the universe in all its endless changes.
He who ridicules a penchant for serious things is seriously committed to trifles.
An unusual talent - an unusual taste. It is by no means always that one author belittles another just out of envy.
It is unfair when Deprevo is put next to Racine: after all, the first succeeded in comedy - a low genre, the second - in tragedy, a high one.
In the discussion, examples should be few; we must not be distracted by side topics, but immediately state the final conclusion.
The mind of most scientists is like a gluttonous person, but with bad digestion.
Superficial knowledge is always fruitless, and sometimes even harmful: it compels one to waste energy on trifles and pleases only the pride of fools.
Philosophers vilify human nature; we imagine that we ourselves are so different from the whole human race that, by slandering him, we ourselves remain untainted. Man is now out of favor with the intellectual.
Great people, having taught the weak-minded to think, instructed them on the path of reflection.
It is not true that equality is a law of nature. Submission and dependence are its supreme law.
The subjects flatter the sovereigns with much greater fervor than they listen to this flattery. The thirst to get something is always sharper than the pleasure of what has already been obtained.
A rare person is able, without flinching, to endure the truth or to say it in the face.
Even though we are reproached for vanity, all the same, sometimes we just need to hear how great our merits are.
People rarely come to terms with humiliation: they simply forget about it.
The more modest a person's position in the world, the more impunity his actions remain and the more imperceptible - the merits.
Inevitability eases even such troubles, before which the mind is powerless.
Despair completes not only our failures, but also our weakness.
It is easy to criticize an author, difficult to evaluate.
The works can be liked, even if something in them is wrong, because there is no correctness in our reasoning, as well as in the reasoning of the author. Our taste is easier to satisfy than the mind.
It is easier to take over the whole land than to take the least talent for yourself.
All leaders are eloquent, but they would hardly have succeeded in poetry, for such a high art is incompatible with the vanity that is necessary in politics.
You cannot deceive people for a long time where there is a matter of profit. You can deceive the whole people, but you have to be honest with each person individually. Lies are weak by nature - so speakers are sincere, at least in details. Therefore, truth itself is higher and more eloquent than any art.
Unfortunately, a talented person always wants to belittle other talents. Therefore, one should not judge poetry by the statements of a physicist.
You need to praise a person during life, if he deserves it. It is not dangerous to praise from the heart, it is dangerous to undeservedly denigrate.
Envy does not know how to hide, it attacks the most undeniable virtues. She is blind, irrepressible, insane, rude.
There are no contradictions in nature.
It is assumed that one who serves virtue, obeying reason, is able to exchange it for a useful vice. Yes, it would be so if vice could be useful - in the eyes of a person who knows how to reason.
If others do not suffer from a person's selfishness, it is useful and natural. We are receptive to friendship, justice, humanity, compassion, and intelligence. Isn't that what virtue is?
Laws, providing people with peace, diminish their freedom.
No one is ambitious at the behest of reason and depraved by stupidity.
Our actions are less kind and less vicious than our desires.
People argue: "Why know where the truth is, when you know where pleasure is?"
The strength or weakness of our faith depends more on courage than on reason. The one who laughs at omens is no smarter than the one who believes them.
What fear and hope do not convince a person of!
No unbeliever will die in peace if he thinks: “I have been mistaken thousands of times, which means that I could have been mistaken about religion. And now I have neither the strength nor the time to think about it - I am dying ... ”
Faith is the delight of the disadvantaged and the scourge of the lucky ones.
Life is short, but this can neither discourage us from its joys, nor console us in its sorrows.
The world is full of cold minds who, unable to think of anything on their own, take comfort in rejecting other people's thoughts.
Because of weakness or fear of incurring contempt, people hide their most cherished, ineradicable and sometimes virtuous inclinations.
The art of liking is the ability to deceive.
We are too careless or too busy with ourselves to study each other.