Adolphe Quetelet - Faculties Quotes
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The words cited from my work, when viewed isolatedly, are far from expressing the idea which I wished to attach to them. The works of genius upon which our judgments bear are in general complex; for there is no work, constructed by genius, which does not suppose the exercise of various of its faculties. A skilful analysis could alone make out the part of each of them...
This reaction of man upon himself, is one of his noblest attributes; it offers, indeed, the finest field for the display of his activity. As a member of the social body, he is subjected every instant to the necessity of these causes, and pays them a regular tribute; but as a man, employing all the energy of his intellectual faculties, he in some measure masters these causes, and modifies their effects, thus constantly endeavouring to improve his condition.
I would suggest... the idea of a work which should have for its object the analytic examination of the development of our intellectual faculties for each age. Now, I have aimed to present, in the work here reproduced, only an essay, only a particular example, of such an analysis, "which tends to show that the maximum of energy of the passions occurs about the age of twenty-five." The minimum is not then determined; and even when it shall be, by a sufficient number of observations, one will no more be able to apply it to any given individual in particular, than one could make use of a table of mortality to determine the period of his decease.