Home > Uncategorized > Nicolas Malebranch: Ignorance, brutality and training for war

Nicolas Malebranch: Ignorance, brutality and training for war


Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

French writers on war and peace


Nicolas Malebranch
From Search After Truth: Or a Treatise of the Nature of the Human Mind
Translator unknown

The confused sensation which young men have of the disposition of their bodies make them please themselves in the thoughts of their strength and activity…Thus, by little and little, they strengthen their inclination for all bodily exercises, which is one of the chief causes of the ignorance and brutality  of men…This is the reason most part of the nobility, and such as are trained up to war, are incapable of applying themselves to anything; they argue about things according to the proverb, a word and a blow.


The great are united to many more things than others, their slavery is further extended. A general of an army is united to all his soldiers, because they all reverence him: This slavery often creates valor; and the desire of being esteemed by all those who look upon him often obliges him to sacrifice other more sensible and more reasonable desires to it. It is the same with those that are in power, or that are popular. ‘Tis vanity which often animates their virtue; because the love of glory is commonly stronger than the love of truth.

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