René Descartes

France
31 Mar 1596 // 11 Feb 1650
Philosopher

Quotes

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When I consider this carefully, I find not a single property which with certainty separates the waking state from the dream. How can you be certain that your whole life is not a dream?
Traveling is almost like talking with those of other centuries
To know what people really think, pay regard to what they do, rather than what they say
The two operations of our understanding, intuition and deduction, on which alone we have said we must rely in the acquisition of knowledge
It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve; and bad things are very easy to get
It is a mark of prudence never to trust wholly in those things which have once deceived us
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice
If I found any new truths in the sciences, I can say that they follow from, or depend on, five or six principal problems which I succeeded in solving and which I regard as so many battles where the fortunes of war were on my side
I hope that posterity will judge me kindly, not only as to the things which I have explained, but also to those which I have intentionally omitted so as to leave to others the pleasure of discovery
I am indeed amazed when I consider how weak my mind is and how prone to error
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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