Réflexions ou Sentences et Maximes morales (READ)
Ish fervently to believe in it Yet it is an incontestable fact that most of what we do even apparently altruistic actions benefits ourselves in one way or
ANOTHERPOLITICIANS FIGHT TO PASS LEGISLATION TOfight to pass legislation to their constituents who then return the politician to power businessmen give their employees a "raise who thus work harder and take less vacation a friend picks me "who thus work harder and take less vacation a friend picks me from the airport but he expects me to do something for him in the future a man returns a wallet he found on the street is given a reward and then is lauded on social media And of course altruism towards one s family is the easiest thing to explain this way since the family is just an extension of the self psychologically and genetically Some may find this way of thinking gloomy and unproductive But
I DO THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP INdo think it is important to keep in our tendency to act out of self interest for in my experience it is those who are most attached to the idea of selfless action who most often treat other people badly It is a dangerous thing to think that virtue is on our side And personally I find it a great relief to see myself as an ordinary animal rather than a moral machine Self knowledge reuires knowledge of our less honorable motives and pretending otherwise can lead to a kind of self alienation We become so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that at last we are disguised to ourselves But this dark view of human nature must be tempered in two respects First not even La Rochefoucauld thought that all actions were driven by vice He thinks true virtue is rare but that it does exist Second La Rouchefoucauld often points out that our vices prompt us to act virtuously than virtue ever could The praise bestowed upon us is at least useful in rooting us in the practice of virtue Or elsewhere Interest which is accused of all our misdeeds often should be praised for our good deeds After all the actions I described above are all virtuous actionsAnd this for me is the key insight of La Rochefoucauld s cynicism seeing our self interest not as inherently bad but as a kind of neutral force which can be channeled for good or for evil This insight alone could prevent a lot of needless guilt More importantly once we accept this premise we can easily shape our lives and societies For we have discovered the secret of living together finding arrangement in which self interest overlaps Depressing bitter single sentence maxims that opened my naive eyes and made me want to choose to be a better person than most La Rouchefoucauld published these first in 1665 France but at least 80 percent are still applicable today Fascinating observations Vanity causes me to pursue an accounting of the following exchange Nathan NR wrote There is nothing worse in the world than someone who has fallen in loveMoira Nathan ou get the La Rochefoucauld sp award for the day Some of the maxims that caught my eyePhilosophy triumphs easily over past evils and future evils but present evils triumph over itMaxim 22We have strength than will and it is often merely for an excuse we say things are impossible Maxim 30Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great thingsMaxim 41We have not enough strength to follow all our reason Maxim 42Happiness is in the taste and not in the things themselves we are happy from possessing what we like not from possessing what others like Maxim 48There are no accidents so unfortunate from which skilled men will not draw some advantage nor so fortunate that foolish men will not turn them to their hurt Maxim 59Old men delight in giving good advice as a consolation for the fact that they can no longer set bad examples Maxim 93It is far easier to be wise for others than to be so for oneself Maxim 132No man is clever enough to know all the evil he does Maxim 269We should not judge of a man s merit by his great abilities but by the use he makes of them Maxim 437Few things are needed to make a wise man happy nothing can make a fool content that is why most men are miserable Maxim LXXX There is only one kind of love but there are a thousand imitationsOne of the fundamental books that humanity has produce. Ns and insights of a life deeply engaged in the great eevnts of his time in his classic Maxims first published in 16. He does at any rate lead us to the end of our lives along a pleasant path 168When our vices give us up we flatter ourselves that we are giving up them 192Pride refuses our vices give us up we flatter ourselves that we are giving up them 192Pride refuses owe self love to pay 228We often forgive those who bore us but we cannot forgive those who find us boring 304We find few guilty of ingratitude while we are still in a position to help them 306There are few sensible people we find except those who share our opinions 347Our enemies are nearer the truth in their opinion of us than we "are ourselves 458The reason for so much outcry against maxims that lay bare "ourselves 458The reason for so much outcry against maxims that lay bare human heart is that people are afraid of having their own laid bare 524 Wow This is seeing the glass all the way empty maybe smashedLilian Tomlin said something like no matter how cynical ou get it s never enough to keep up If this jives with our view of humanity read RochefoucauldThe maxims are short and pithy and misanthropicSelf love is subtler than the subtlest man of the worldThe moderation of happy people comes from the tranuility that good fortune gives to their dispositionWhat is called generosity is most often just the vanity of giving which we like than what we giveWe make a mistake if we believe that only the violent passions like ambition and love can subdue the others Laziness for all her languor is nevertheless often mistress she permeates every aim and action in life and imperceptibly eats away and destroys passions and virtues alikeFew men are sufficiently discerning to appreciate all the evil they doNothing is so contagious as example and our every really good or bad action inspires a similar one We imitate good deeds through emulation and evil ones because of the evil of our nature which having been held in check by shame is now set free by exampleI could go on all night My French literature textbook included ten of these maxims and I was intrigued to see of these timeless tidbits Most people in my class thought Rochefoucauld displayed a very pessimistic viewpoint on life here but I thought it was fair and neutral Maybe I m just super pessimistic too and didn t realize it Video review We do not like to praise and we never praise without a motive Fran ois Duc de La Rochefoucauld was something of a bungler in life The scion of a great house the beneficiary of a princely education the oung nobleman got himself mixed up in all sort of plots and intrigues eventually getting himself locked in the Bastille and later banished to his estate As a result of this rather undistinguished career in the world he developed into a man of letters achieving far success on the page than in the palaceLa Rochefoucauld made a permanent contribution to literature with his Maximes a collection of cutting aphorisms on the vanity of human nature His perspective is cynical seeing bad motives behind even the best actions Or in his opening words Our virtues are most freuently but vices disguised And I do not think that one must be a defeated aristocrat in order to see the truth in many of his pronouncements Here he is his describing meOne of the reasons that we find so few persons rational and agreeable in conversation is there is hardly a person who does not think of what he wants to say than of his answer to what is said The most clever and polite content themselves with only seeming attentive while we perceive in their mind and eyes that at the very time they are wandering from what is said and desire to return to what they want to sayThis also certainly applies to me How is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us and et not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person But do not think that I am somehow superior for admitting to these shortcomings for We own to small faults to persuade others that we have not great ones And do not attempt to compliment me The refusal of praise is only the wish to be praised twice There is no way outI often found myself laughing at these aphorisms So many of them ring true to my experience And they represent a perspective too rarely expressed in daily life Selfless action is a deeply appealing concept and many people Isms and general maxims of conduct Francois de la Rochefoucauld 1613 1680 concentrated the results of the observatio. .
Maximes Supprime s after the First EditionLa sobri t EST L AMOUR DE LA SANT OU L IMPUISSANCE l amour de la sant ou l impuissance manger beaucoupp95 Flammarion Moderation is either a love of health or the inability to eat and drink any Comment pr tendons nous u un autre garder notre secret si nous ne pouvons le garder nous memes p99 Compare Ben Franklin s improvement Three men can keep a secret if two of them are dead Poor Richard s Almanac 70 ears after Maxims 1665C est une ennuyeuse maladie ue de conserver sa sant par un trop grand r gime Ahh Diet the sacred American program is an illness The very first suppressed maxim two pages long applies well to the Trumpster Self esteem is self love Il rend les hommes idol tres d eux m mes et les rend tyrans des autres si la fortune leur en donne les moyens91 It turns men into idolaters of themselves and tyrants to others if they gain means to be Nothing is so impetuous as the desires of self love Rien n est aussi imp tueux ue ses d sirsFunerals Les pompe des enterrements regarde plus la vanit des vivants ue l honneur des morts96 The pomp of funerals issues from the vanity of the living than from honoring the deadFor a cross cultural account of funerals see Dickens Medicine Men of CivilizationOn n est jamais si malheureux u on croit ni si heureux u on avait esper 93 You are never as unhappy as Göttliches Vermächtnis König der Welten 1 you think nor as happy asou had hopedNon Supprime sLe monde r compense plus souvent les apparences de m rite ue le m rite m mep59 US Election 2016 The world recompenses the appearance of merit than real meritTout le monde se plaint de sa m moire et personne ne se plaint de son jugementMax 89 p53Everyone complains of his memory no one of his judgement I first heard from my PhD director Leonard Unger L accent du pays o l on est n demeure dans l esprit et dans le coeur comme dans le langage reminds me of the regional accents of England and Italy but especially of my mid western wife from Minnesota Kansas and Wisconsin whose former accent betrayed her friendliness to arrogant New EnglandersNous avons tous assez de force pour supporter les maux d autrui We all have enough strength toendure the misfortunes of others or We find some pleasure in our best friend s misfortunesTextes Complimentaire Portrait LaR includes a self portrait where he says he has too much chin and that though he possesses his language rather well his passions especially anger often intrude so that he doesn t express himself as well as he hoped Cardinal de Retz for his part accuses LaR of lack of penetration perhaps because the writer avoids religion as a subject De la Retrait on Retirement Why old people don t make friends not finding many true friends but also thinking those who have died were truer than any new ones Ils deviennent insensibles d amiti non seulement parce ue u ils n en ont peut tre jamais trouv de v ritable mais "parce ui ils ont vu mourir un grand nombre de leur amis ui n avaient pas "ui ils ont vu mourir un grand nombre de leur amis ui n avaient pas eu le temps ni les occasions de manuer l amiti et ils se persuadent ais ment u ils auraient t plus fid les ue ceux ui leur restent 137 The full title of the text is Reflections or Aphorisms and Moral Maxims and in centered text below the title are the words Our virtues are usually only vices in disguise The subtitle says as much as the title These aphorisms are bitter as they are pithy Perhaps not bitter say rather that La Rochefoucauld was not optimistic about human nature Very few of these aphorisms speak of love friendship virtue or humility with anything but skepticismGiven how nearly sublimely pessimistic La Rochefoucauld s attitude is I m not sure what to think about the translator s claim that it is one of the most deeply felt most intensely lived texts in French literatureA selectionWe all have strength enough to endure the troubles of others 19Our promises are made in proportion to our hopes but kept in proportion to our fears 38In order to succeed in the world people do their utmost to appear successful 56Everyone complains of his memory but nobody of his judgement 89Old people are fond of giving good advice it consoles them for no longer being capable of setting a bad example 93Hope may be a lying jade but Greatest of the maxim writers of France in an age whose worldly wisdom habitually found its way into essential aphor.