Denis Diderot

Denis
Diderot
1713
1784

French Encyclopedist, Philosopher, Author and Art Critic

Author Quotes

To say that man is a compound of strength and weakness, light and darkness, smallness and greatness, is not to indict him, it is to define him.

When there is no, you should not write.

Could we not say that all religions of the world are only sects of natural religion, and that Jews, Christians, Muslims, pagans do that even naturalists heretics and schismatics?

How easy it is to tell tales!

If your little savage were left to himself and be allowed to retain all his ignorance, he would in time join the infant’s reasoning to the grown man’s passion, he would strangle his father and sleep with his mother.

Man was born to live with his fellow human beings.

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.

The best mannered people make the most absurd lovers.

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.

Truth is not for the philosopher a mistress who corrupts his imagination and whom he believes to be found everywhere; he contents himself with being able to unravel it where he can perceive it. He does not confound it with probability; he takes for true what is true, for false what is false, for doubtful what is doubtful, and probable what is only probable. He does more, and here you have a great perfection of the philosopher: when he has no reason by which to judge, he knows how to live in suspension of judgment.

Whether God exists or does not exist, He has come to rank among the most sublime and useless truths.

Distance is a great promoter of admiration!

How old the world is! I walk between two eternities... What is my fleeting existence in comparison with that decaying rock, that valley digging its channel ever deeper, that forest that is tottering and those great masses above my head about to fall? I see the marble of tombs crumbling into dust; and yet I don’t want to die!

Impenetrable in their dissimulation, cruel in their vengeance, tenacious in their purposes, unscrupulous as to their methods, animated by profound and hidden hatred for the tyranny of man - it is as though there exists among them an ever-present conspiracy toward domination, a sort of alliance like that subsisting among the priests of every country.

Man was born to live with his fellow human beings. Separate him, isolate him, his character will go bad, a thousand ridiculous affects will invade his heart, extravagant thoughts will germinate in his brain, like thorns in an uncultivated land.

Patriotism is an ephemeral motive that scarcely ever outlasts the particular threat to society that aroused it.

The best order of things, as I see it, is the one that includes me; to hell with the most perfect of worlds, if I'm not part of it.

The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.

Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me. A stranger appears and says to me: "My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly." This stranger is a theologian.

Yes, when you have talent. But when someone is not there?

A nation which thinks that it is belief in God and not good law which makes people honest does not seem to me very advanced.

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.

I am more affected by the attractions of virtue than by the deformities of vice; I turn gently away from the wicked and I fly to meet the good. If there is in a literary work, in a character, in a picture, in a statue, a beautiful spot, that is where my eyes rest; I see only that, I remember only that, all the rest is well-nigh forgotten. What becomes of me when the whole work is beautiful!

In any country where talent and virtue produce no advancement, money will be the national god. Its inhabitants will either have to possess money or make others believe that they do. Wealth will be the highest virtue, poverty the greatest vice. Those who have money will display it in every imaginable way. If their ostentation does not exceed their fortune, all will be well. But if their ostentation does exceed their fortune they will ruin themselves. In such a country, the greatest fortunes will vanish in the twinkling of an eye. Those who don't have money will ruin themselves with vain efforts to conceal their poverty. That is one kind of affluence: the outward sign of wealth for a small number, the mask of poverty for the majority, and a source of corruption for all.

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

Author Picture
First Name
Denis
Last Name
Diderot
Birth Date
1713
Death Date
1784
Bio

French Encyclopedist, Philosopher, Author and Art Critic