Author

Jean-Jacques
Rousseau
1712
1778

Swiss-born French Philosopher, Novelist, Political Theorist

Author Quotes

Teach him to live a life rather than to avoid death; life is not breath but action.

There is a period of life when we go back as we advance.

That which renders life burdensome to us generally arises from the abuse of it.

They must know but little of mankind who imagine that, having once been seduced by luxury, they can ever renounce it.

The first person who, having enclosed a plot of land, took it into his head to say this is mine and found people simple enough to believe him was the true founder of civil society. What crimes, wars, murders, what miseries and horrors would the human race have been spared, had someone pulled up the stakes or filled in the ditch and cried out to his fellow men: "Do not listen to this imposter. You are lost if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to all and the earth to no one!

To endure is the first thing a child ought to learn, and that which he will have most need to know.

The great inequality in manner of living, the extreme idleness of some, and the excessive labor of others, the easiness of exciting and gratifying our sensual appetites, the too exquisite foods of the wealthy which overheat and fill them with indigestion, and, on the other hand, the unwholesome food of the poor, often, bad as it is, insufficient for their needs, which induces them, when opportunity offers, to eat voraciously and overcharge their stomachs; all these, together with sitting up late, and excesses of every kind, immoderate transports of every passion, fatigue, mental exhaustion, the innumerable pains and anxieties inseparable from every condition of life, by which the mind of man is incessantly tormented; these are too fatal proofs that the greater part of our ills are our own making, and that we might have avoided them nearly all by adhering to that simple, uniform and solitary manner of life which nature prescribed.

To live is not merely to breathe, it is to act; it is to make use of our organs, senses, faculties, of all those parts of ourselves which give us the feeling of existence. The man who has lived longest is not the an who has counted most years, but he who has enjoyed life most.

The greater number of nations, as of men, are only impressible in their youth; they become incorrigible as they grow old.

To write a good love-letter, you ought to begin without knowing what you mean to say, and to finish without knowing what you have written.

The legislative power belongs to the people, and can belong to it alone... What then is government? An intermediate body set up between the subjects and the Sovereign, to secure their mutual correspondence, charged with the execution of the laws and the maintenance of liberty, both civil and political.

Two kinds of people: ... those who think and those who don't; the difference comes almost entirely from education.

Nature never deceives us; it is always we who deceive ourselves.

The money which a man possesses is the instrument of freedom; that which we eagerly pursue is the instrument of slavery.

War... is a relation, not between man and man, but between State and State, and individuals are enemies only accidentally, not as men, nor even as citizens, but as soldiers; not as members of their country, but as its defenders. Finally, each State can have for enemies only other States, and not men.

No more by the law of reason than by the law of nature can anything occur without a cause.

The opportunity of making happy is more scarce than we imagine; the punishment of missing it is, never to meet with it again; and the use owe make of it leaves us an eternal sentiment of satisfaction or repentance.

We do not know either unalloyed happiness or unmitigated misfortune. Everything in this world is a tangled yarn; we taste nothing in its purity; we do not remain two moments in the same state. Our affections as well as bodies, are in a perpetual flux.

One may live tranquilly in a dungeon; but does life consist in living quietly?

The problem is to find a form of association which will defend and protect with the whole common force the person and goods of each associate, and in which each, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before. This is the fundamental problem of which the Social Contract provides the solution.

Were there a people of gods, their government would be democratic. So perfect a government is not for men.

Our greatest misfortunes come to us from ourselves.

The tone of good conversation is brilliant and natural; it is neither tedious nor frivolous; it is instructive without pedantry, gay without tumultuousness, polished without affectation, gallant without insipidity, waggish without equivocation.

Presence of mind, penetration, fine observation, are the sciences of women; ability to avail themselves of these is their talent.

The training of children is a profession where we must know to lose time in order to gain it.

First Name
Jean-Jacques
Last Name
Rousseau
Birth Date
1712
Death Date
1778
Bio

Swiss-born French Philosopher, Novelist, Political Theorist