Famous Quotes By Denis Diderot


  1. Although a man may wear fine clothing, if he lives peacefully and is good, self-possessed, has faith and is pure and if he does not hurt any living being, he is a holy man.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Good music is very close to primitive language.
  5. If there is one realm in which it is essential to be sublime, it is in wickedness. You spit on a petty thief, but you can't deny a kind of respect for the great criminal.
  6. It is not human nature we should accuse but the despicable conventions that pervert it.
  7. Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.
  8. Morals are in all countries the result of legislation and government they are not African or Asian or European: they are good or bad.
  9. No man has received from nature the right to command his fellow human beings.
  10. Only passions, great passions can elevate the soul to great things.
  11. 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.
  12. Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.
  13. 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.
  14. Pithy sentences are like sharp nails which force truth upon our memory.
  15. Poetry must have something in it that is barbaric, vast and wild.
  16. 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.
  17. The best doctor is the one you run to and can't find.
  18. The general interest of the masses might take the place of the insight of genius if it were allowed freedom of action.
  19. The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.
  20. 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.
  21. There are things I can't force. I must adjust. There are times when the greatest change needed is a change of my viewpoint.
  22. There are three principal means of acquiring knowledge... observation of nature, reflection, and experimentation. Observation collects facts reflection combines them experimentation verifies the result of that combination.
  23. There is only one passion, the passion for happiness.
  24. We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.
  25. When science, art, literature, and philosophy are simply the manifestation of personality they are on a level where glorious and dazzling achievements are possible, which can make a man's name live for thousands of years.
  26. 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.


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