Denis Diderot

France
5 Oct 1713 // 31 Jul 1784
Philosopher / Writer

Quotes

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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
Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it
The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers
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
Bad company is as instructive as licentiousness. One makes up for the loss of oneís innocence with the loss of oneís prejudices
It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it
Power acquired by violence is only a usurpation, and lasts only as long as the force of him who commands prevails over that of those who obey
To say that man is a compound of strength and weakness, light and darkness, smallness and greatness, is not to indict him, it is to define him
We are constantly railing against the passions; we ascribe to them all of manís afflictions, and we forget that they are also the source of all his pleasures
Happiest are the people who give most happiness to others
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On Anger: "For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind."
Essays
On Destiny: "Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today."
Human, All Too Human
On Friendship: "A crowd is not company; and faces are but a gallery of pictures; and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."
Essays