Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Live Quotes
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Teach him to live rather than to avoid death: life is not breath, but action, the use of our senses, our mind, our faculties, every part of ourselves which makes us conscious of our being. Life consists less in length of days than in the keen sense of living. A man maybe buried at a hundred and may never have lived at all. He would have fared better had he died young.
J. J. did not always flee from men, but he has always loved solitude. He enjoyed himself with the friends he velieved he had, but he enjoyed himself still more alone. He valued their society, but he sometimes needed to withdraw, and he would perhaps have preferred to live always alone than always with them.
Let's not be dazzled by the sententious glitter with which error and lying often cover themselves. Society is not created by the crowd, and bodies come together in vain when hearts reject each other. The truly sociable man is more difficult in his relationships than others; those which consist only in false appearances cannot suit him. He prefers to live far from wicked men without thinking about them, than to see them and hate them. He prefers to flee his enemy rather than seek him out to harm him. A person who knows no other society than that of the heart will not seek his society in you circles. That is How J. J. must have thought and behaved before the conspiracy of which he is the object.
The origin of our passions, the root and spring of all the rest, the only one which is born with man, which never leaves him as long as he lives, is self-love; this passion is primitive, instinctive, it precedes all the rest, which are in a sense only modifications of it. In this sense, if you like, they are all natural. But most of these modifications are the result of external influences, without which they would never occur, and such modifications, far from being advantageous to us, are harmful. They change the original purpose and work against its end; then it is that man finds himself outside nature and at strife with himself.