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More adventurous than the average bear

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Friday, July 17, 2015

On convincing others, trolling etc

“I ceased in the year 1764 to believe that one can convince one’s opponents with arguments printed in books. It is not to do that, therefore, that I have taken up my pen, but merely so as to annoy them, and to bestow strength and courage on those on our own side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"Je demande une grâce que je crains qu’on ne m’accorde pas : c’est de ne pas juger, par la lecture d’un moment, d’un travail de vingt années ; d’approuver ou de condamner le livre entier, et non pas quelques phrases. Si l’on veut chercher le dessein de l’auteur, on ne le peut bien découvrir que dans le dessein de l’ouvrage...

Je me croirais le plus heureux des mortels, si je pouvais faire que les hommes pussent se guérir de leurs préjugés. J’appelle ici préjugés, non pas ce qui fait qu’on ignore de certaines choses, mais ce qui fait qu’on s’ignore soi-même."

--- Préface, De l’esprit des lois (1748) / Montesquieu

"I ask for a favour that I fear will not be given me: to not judge, from a momentary reading, a work of twenty years; to approve of or condemn the whole book, and not just a few sentences. If one wants took find the intention of the author, one cannot do better than to look at the plan of this work...

I would believe myself the happiest of mortals if I could get men to rid themselves of their prejudices. I call "prejudices", not that which causes us to not know certain things, but that which causes one to not know himself"

--- Preface, The Spirits of the Laws (1748) / Montesquieu
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