Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Claude-Adrien Helvétius

French Encyclopedist, Materialist Philosopher and Littérateur

"By annihilating the desires, you annihilate the mind. Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act."

"Genius is nothing but continued attention."

"Of all the vices, avarice is the most generally detested; it is the effect of an avidity common to all men; it is because men hate those from whom they; can expect nothing. The greedy misers rail at sordid misers."

"The men of sense, the idols of the shallow, are very inferior to the men of passions. It is the strong passions which, rescuing us from sloth, impart to us that continuous and earnest attention necessary to great attention."

"There is but one man who can believe himself free from envy; and it is he who has never examined his own heart."

"To be loved, we should merit but little esteem; all superiority attracts awe and aversion."

"Truth is a torch which gleams in the fog but does not dispel it."

"Virtue has many preachers, but few martyrs."

"When a miser contents himself with giving nothing, and saving what he has got, and is in others respects guilty of no injustice, he is, perhaps, of all bad men the least injurious to society; the evil he does is properly nothing more than the omission of the good he might do. If, of all the vices, avarice is the most generally detested, it is the effect of an avidity common to all men; it is because men hate those from whom they can expect nothing. The greedy misers rail at sordid misers."

"To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves."

"Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act."

"He who will warrant his virtue in every possible situation is either an impostor or a fool. "