Denis Diderot Quotes

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The general interest of the masses might take the place of the insight of genius if it were allowed freedom of action. Denis Diderot - Masses
It is said that desire is a product of the will, but the converse is in fact true: will is a product of desire. Denis Diderot - Desire
Gaiety --a quality of ordinary men. Genius always presupposes some disorder in the machine. Denis Diderot - Happiness
The infant runs toward it with its eyes closed, the adult is stationary, the old man approaches it with his back turned. Denis Diderot - Death and Dying
Genius is present in every age, but the men carrying it within them remain benumbed unless extraordinary events occur to heat up and melt the mass so that it flows forth. Denis Diderot - Genius
All abstract sciences are nothing but the study of relations between signs. Denis Diderot - Symbols
No man has received from nature the right to give orders to others. Freedom is a gift from heaven, and every individual of the same species has the right to enjoy it as soon as he is in enjoyment of his reason. Denis Diderot - Freedom
Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things. Denis Diderot - Passion
Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it. Denis Diderot - Patriotism
We swallow with one gulp the lie that flatters us, and drink drop by drop the truth which is bitter to us. Denis Diderot - Flattery
We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter. Denis Diderot - Truth
To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster. Denis Diderot - Asceticism
Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory. Denis Diderot - Maxim
There is only one passion, the passion for happiness. Denis Diderot - Passion
In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god. Its inhabitants will either have to possess money or make others believe that they do. Wealth will be the highest virtue, poverty the greatest vice. Those who have money will display it in every imaginable way. If their ostentation does not exceed their fortune, all will be well. But if their ostentation does exceed their fortune they will ruin themselves. In such a country, the greatest fortunes will vanish in the twinkling of an eye. Those who don't have money will ruin themselves with vain efforts to conceal their poverty. That is one kind of affluence: the outward sign of wealth for a small number, the mask of poverty for the majority, and a source of corruption for all. Denis Diderot - Money
Disturbances in society are never more fearful than when those who are stirring up the trouble can use the pretext of religion to mask their true designs. Denis Diderot - Revolutions and Revolutionaries
Impenetrable in their dissimulation, cruel in their vengeance, tenacious in their purposes, unscrupulous as to their methods, animated by profound and hidden hatred for the tyranny of man -- it is as though there exists among them an ever-present conspiracy toward domination, a sort of alliance like that subsisting among the priests of every country. Denis Diderot - Women
Do you see this egg? With this you can topple every theological theory, every church or temple in the world. Denis Diderot - Science and Scientists
In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go. Denis Diderot - Theory
The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them on occasion. Denis Diderot - Fanatics and Fanaticism
The following general definition of an animal: a system of different organic molecules that have combined with one another, under the impulsion of a sensation similar to an obtuse and muffled sense of touch given to them by the creator of matter as a whole, until each one of them has found the most suitable position for its shape and comfort. Denis Diderot - Animals
We are all instruments endowed with feeling and memory. Our senses are so many strings that are struck by surrounding objects and that also frequently strike themselves. Denis Diderot - Senses
The decisions of law courts should never be printed: in the long run, they form a counter authority to the law. Denis Diderot - Law and Lawyers
Good music is very close to primitive language. Denis Diderot - Music
Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild. Denis Diderot - Poetry and Poets
The world is the house of the strong. I shall not know until the end what I have lost or won in this place, in this vast gambling den where I have spent more than sixty years, dicebox in hand, shaking the dice. Denis Diderot - Gambling
People praise virtue, but they hate it, they run away from it. It freezes you to death, and in this world you've got to keep your feet warm. Denis Diderot - Virtue
There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge available to us: observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts; reflection combines them; experimentation verifies the result of that combination. Our observation of nature must be diligent, our reflection profound, and our experiments exact. We rarely see these three means combined; and for this reason, creative geniuses are not common. Denis Diderot - Knowledge
The possibility of divorce renders both marriage partners stricter in their observance of the duties they owe to each other. Divorces help to improve morals and to increase the population. Denis Diderot - Divorce
Morals are in all countries the result of legislation and government; they are not African or Asian or European: they are good or bad. Denis Diderot - Morality
Sentences are like sharp nails, which force truth upon our memories. Denis Diderot - Justice
Justice is the first virtue of those who command, and stops the complaints of those who obey. Denis Diderot - Leaders and Leadership
The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers. Denis Diderot - Philosophers and Philosophy
The best doctor is the one you run to and can't find. Denis Diderot - Doctors
When superstition is allowed to perform the task of old age in dulling the human temperament, we can say goodbye to all excellence in poetry, in painting, and in music. Denis Diderot - Superstition
It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it. Denis Diderot - Human Nature
There is no kind of harassment that a man may not inflict on a woman with impunity in civilized societies. Denis Diderot - Men and Women
Only a very bad theologian would confuse the certainty that follows revelation with the truths that are revealed. They are entirely different things. Denis Diderot - Theology
Distance is a great promoter of admiration. Denis Diderot - Admiration
Every man has his dignity. I'm willing to forget mine, but at my own discretion and not when someone else tells me to. Denis Diderot - Dignity
The blood of Jesus Christ can cover a multitude of sins, it seems to me. Denis Diderot - Jesus Christ
The arbitrary rule of a just and enlightened prince is always bad. His virtues are the most dangerous and the surest form of seduction: they lull a people imperceptibly into the habit of loving, respecting, and serving his successor, whoever that successor may be, no matter how wicked or stupid. Denis Diderot - Despotism
I have often seen an actor laugh off the stage, but I don't remember ever having seen one weep. Denis Diderot - Acting and Actors
The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled. Denis Diderot - Theater

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