From his letters
To Madame d'Epinay, Naples, 31 August, 1771
You, my dear lady, have done me a terrible wrong. I saw that a big package arrived from you; I enjoyed the thought of it in advance; I imagined the longest letter in the world, and instead of finding that you wrote me, I found that you had transcribed a selection from Voltaire to send to me. To avenge myself, I may transcribe a selection from my prayer book to send you. I admit that the bit about curiosity from Voltaire is superb, sublime, new, and true. I admit also that he would be right in everything if he didn't forget that curiosity is a passion, or, if you like, a feeling excited in us once we feel a perfect secuirty and don't occupy ourselves anymore with ourselves: that is the origin of all spectacles... (skipping over some)... it's a feeling particular to man, unique in him, which he has in common with no other animal. Animals don't have quite the same idea. Do in front of a troupe of sheep anything you want; if you don't touch them, they're not interested in you. If animals give some sign of curiosity, it's because they are frightened, and nothing else. One can frighten animals, one cannot make them curious. However, according to what I said, fear is opposed to curiosity. If curiosity is impossible for animals, a curious human being is therefore more of a human being than a non-curious one: and this is in fact true. Newton was so curious that he looked for the cause of the movement of the moon, the sea, etc.. The most curious people therefore are more human than other people. That is the most beautiful praise that has ever been made of the idlers in Paris. This idea is profound, and I haven't the time to detail it to you. Without a doubt, Voltaire didn't have to write as fast in his article on curiosity. He wrote better, because he knows his language; but if you want to take the pains to develop what I've scrawled, you will find a great piece of the human heart; man, the curious animal; man, susceptible to spectacles. Nearly all the sciences are only curiosities, and the key to everything is a base of safety and a situation without suffering in the curious animal... (skipping over a few sentences where he asks her to say hello to friends)... Good night, I am short on time. I embrace you.
... We are wrong to think that children know nothing or nearly nothing before they begin to speak. A child receives the greater part of its education before it is two years old, but since we are unable to recognize what another human knows by their face alone, without communicating to us with their voice or signs, we conclude that infants know nothing. It is a gross error. A man who would stay in London for a year, without learning a single word of english, would come to know an infinite number of things about the country, the streets, the houses, the mores, the laws, the men, the jobs, the political system, etc..
... May god preserve you from legal freedom of the press! Nothing contributes more to making a nation vulgar, to destroying taste, to debasing eloquence and every sort of spirit. Do you know the definition of sublime oratory? It's the art of saying everything without being put in the Bastille, in a country where one isn't protected to say anything. If you open the gates to freedom of language, instead of eloquent masterpieces, you will have remonstrances of Parliament, like the following: You, sir, are a s... j... f... . Instead of a masterpiece of rascality by the young Crébillon, one will see a novel where a lover says to his mistress: I, madmoiselle, want you... Fie! The horror! The constraints of decency and of the press have been the cause of the perfection of spirit, taste, and expression among the French. Guard the one and the other; without which, you are lost. A freedom such as there is now is good; one enjoys it already; it must only be founded on the personal virtues of a tolerant and magnanimous minister. In that way, the nation will cherish the minister more, who pardons when he could prevail; but if you accord a freedom by law, there will be no more good-will toward the minister, and one will insult him, like they do in London. The nation will become as vulgar as the English, and honor (the pivot of your monarchy) will suffer. You will be as rude as the English, without being as robust; you will be as foolish, but much less profound in your folly...
... I have a book in mind that is quite overheating my imagination; I would like to make it, but I haven't the time. It's title would be: Moral and political instructions of a cat to his little ones, translated from cat into French by M. d'Egrattigny, interpreter of cat languages at the library of the King. Since I have no other society except for that of my cat, I am always dreaming of this work, which would be very original. At first, the cat teaches his littles ones to fear the god-men; then he teaches them theology and the two principles, the good god-man and the evil demon-dog; then it would teach them morality, war with rats and sparrows, and she would then speak to them about the future life in the celestial Ratopolis, which is a city where the walls are made of parmesan cheese, the floors of butter, the columns of fish, etc., and which is full of rats destined for their amusement. She would inculcate respect for the castrated cats, who are the predestined cats, called into this state by the god-men to be happy in this world and in the other; witness how fat they are; and it is for this reason that they don't have to chase mice; and finally, she would recommend the most perfect resignation, in case the god-man might call them into this state of perfection. Is there anything in the world more mad than this work?...
From a Letter to Madame d'Epinay, Naples, 20 January, 1770
... The georgic is not a type of poetry fit for our age. There needs to be an agricultural religion practiced by farmers, to speak with bombast and grandeur about bees, leeks, and onions. What can we sing about with our consubstantiation and transubstantiation? There are two types of religions: those of new peoples are cheerful, and are only agriculture, medicine, athletics, and procreation. Those of old peoples are sad and are only metaphysics, rhetoric, contemplation, and elevation of soul; they make people abandon the field, procreation, good health, and pleasures. We are old. ...
To Madame d'Epinay, Naples, 4 August, 1770
The Abbé Coyer would have succeeded the Abbé Saint-Pere if his zealotry were the effect of the enthusiasm of virtue, and not a secret ambition to become something. His plan of education is assuredly not worth as much as your critique. Meanwhile, you only made it to reawaken my verve, which I see very well. I have no need of being re-awoken in that way. My treatise on education is completely finished. I prove that education is the same for man as it is for animals. It reduces itself to these two points: to learn to bear injustice, and to learn to suffer boredom. What makes one place gear upon a horse? The horse naturally paces, trots, walks; but he does it when it seems good to him and according to his pleasure. One teaches him to make these paces despite himself, against his own reason (here is injustice), and to continue them for two hours (here is boredom). It is the same when one teaches Latin, or Greek, or French to a child; the main point is not the utility of the thing, it is to accustom him to perform the will of others (and to be bored), and to be beaten by a being born his equal (and to suffer). Once he is accustomed to this, he is dressed up, he is social; he goes into the world, he respects magistrates, ministers, kings (and he does not pity himself). He performs the functions he is charged with; he is at the office, or in an audience, or in a guard house, or in a waiting room at Versailles; he yawns, rests there, and wins his life. If he did not do this, he would be good for nothing in the social order. Therefore, education is only the pruning of natural talents to give place to social responsibilities. Education must amputate and prune talent. If it doesn't, you have poets, improvisers, brave men, painters, jokers, originals, who amuse people and die of hunger, unable to place themselves in any niche in the social order. England, the nation that has received the least education in the universe, is consequently the greatest, most embarrassing, and soon the most unhappy of any.
The rules for education, then, are very simple and very short. Education should be given less in a republic than in a monarchy, and under despotism one must guard children in a seraglio more strictly than slaves and women. The despotism of monks is the result of the unjust and boring rigors of the novitiate; and thus artificial and modern theocracy has its power. Very ancient and primitive theocracy came from the fear of thunder and the trembling of the skies; it made gods and saw them everywhere. Modern theocracy begins by wanting to purify men with austerities and macerations; once accustomed to constant suffering and boredom, the pope, the abbé, the confessor, the master of novices, is a tyrant, a God, he is everything. One can do with a being so overcome anything one likes. Public education pushes toward democracy; private education leads straight to despotism. There are no colleges in Constantinople, Spain, or Portugal. The few that are there were brought in these countries by the Jesuits with a cruelty that denatured them. With the rest, this rule is true in general: all agreeable methods for teaching children knowledge are false and absurd; because it is not a question of teaching either geography or geometry. It is a question of accustoming them to work, that is to say, to boredom, to fixing their ideas on an object, etc.. A child who knew all the capitals of the universe would not have the practice to fix himself an assessment of revenue and spending, and Monsieur the geographer will be flown over the world by the head waiter, and will become bankrupt in every capital. Take these theories, develop them, and you will have a book that is the complete opposite of Emile, and which is only the better for it. But you are defended from ever being the mother of a family, and here is an hour I have been chatting about education...
To Madame d'Epinay, Naples, 16 January 1773
Your health annoys more than worries me: you are at a critical age; you have been suffering for a long time and you are not dead: therefore, you won't die; therefore, you will arrive at the extreme old age when people begin to think, which is ten years short of when people begin to vegetate. Therefore, let's talk about gay things...
To Madame d'Epinay, Naples, 5 June 1773
You know very well, my beautiful lady, that our correspondence, after we both die, will be printed. What a pleasure! How that will amuse us! Now I'm working with all my force to make my letters better than yours, and I am beginning to think that I'm succeeding. People will remark that yours are a little too full of a monotonous friendship that is always tender, affectionate, caressing, and praising: mine, on the contrary, will have a charming variety: sometimes I insult you, sometimes I am sarcastic; I have the humor of a dog, and sometimes I even begin with one tone and finish with another, and I always succeed very well...
... Then I must, despite my torpidity, respond to your metaphysical question: 'Why do people have a bad opinion of the man who invented the character of Lovelace?' - Because of laziness. People have not studied the effects of laziness on the human spirit enough. I'll have to write a treatise about it some fine day. In the end, it is true that, as I read, for example, the novel about Lovelace, I absolutely have to create a mental picture of this gentleman. Now, one of two things occurs: if by luck I happen to know someone who I think resembles Lovelace, I put him in my imagination and so both the author is saved, and I have acquired a double hatred for the person I know. However, if no one comes to my imagination, then, because of the effect of laziness on my spirit, I put the author in his place and he becomes the target of my hatred. This is so true that Machiavelli, in his age, suffered no hatred on account of his books, since everyone knew Cesare Borgia. As soon as the image of this monster disappeared, Machiavelli himself became odious. If Tiberius and Nero had not been such great emperors that it is impossible to forget them, Tacitus would also be as odious as Machiavelli; and I have known people who destested Tacitus just as much as Tiberius. Finally, I think that after the death of M. Malouin, Moliere will pass for an abominable doctor: these are my ideas on the subject. Everything is an effect of laziness on our imagination, which, so that it doesn't have to take the trouble of finding a prototype, makes the author one. ...
... A thousand thanks for the dialogue between Panurge and Pantagruel. Panurge is as bad a moralist as an economist. On the contrary, a victim of the plague does not have a right to sit down to the baron's dinner. Nature gives men strength, liberty, and what the Romans call occupation. Society, that is to say the law, gives rights. A right is a balance between things that are useful. 'Utility is practically the mother of justice and the law'. Thus, rights are the result of strengths; and laws are a proof of how old society is, because a series of centuries of strengths has to have occurred, and the trial of all these strengths, in the last analysis, has produced laws and given birth to rights. Thus a plague victim can have the will and even the strength to seat himself in company, but he doesn't have the right, because society doesn't give it to him at all, but rather refuses it to him. But Panurge confounds everything like the economist that he is. Adieu. Here is a letter written at a gallop, because I have to go out.
To Madame d'Epinay Naples, 18 May, 1771
... How the devil did you spend whole days discussing which is more dangerous; a fool who is in command or an intelligent person who counsels nonsense? This resolves itself in two minutes; fools only do foolish things because the intelligent people who advise them are full of nonsense. Thus, they aren't different cases, or two different misfortunes; it's always a single case, a single effect of the same cause. According to the essential and natural order of this admirable world, there are fools and intelligent people. Nature wanted everything (in as much as it ever wanted anything) to play a role in it. Now, there are only two roles to play: to command, and to advise. One cannot leave advising to fools; they wouldn't even have enough intelligence to be unreasonable. Therefore, fools had to command, because if they didn't do that, they wouldn't do anything, and they would be a superfluity of nature, which has made nothing superfluous, except itself in its entirety. Here is the very good remark Fra Paolo put in his book on the History of the Council of Trent; that theologians go to consult dogma, and the church fathers, that is to say the bishops who don't know a word of theology, create it. What happens politically also happens with letters; fools write the texts and intelligent people write the commentaries. This is the reason why Panurge tried to explain paintings of rural physionomy and why he is so persisent in believing he understands it. It's for this reason that Newton wrote a commentary on the book of Daniel and the Apocalypse...
To Madame d'Epinay Naples, 25 May, 1771
... The striking contrast between what happened in Poland with such little effort, and what doesn't happen in London or Paris despite so much effort, has revealed the fundamental principles of liberty to me. First principle: there must be no carriages, and everyone must go on horseback. A carriage stops an uprising in its infancy; and the leader of a revolutionary party who would take a carriage loses too much time in getting to his mob, because he has to call his lackey Christophe and say to him: "Christophe, open the carriage; Christophe, close the carriage, - and all this takes a lot of time. Second principle: chairs must be made of straw, and there must be no comfortable chairs. A man who has fallen into a comfortable chair at Madame Geoffrin's has a difficult time getting back up. - Third principle: there must be no mirrors with paintings around them, because in uprisings they can get broken by flying stones, and they cost a lot of money. - Fourth principle: there must be very bad hotels along the main roads. When a person finds horrible beds filled with bedbugs, he gets up earlier and makes more of an effort while marching. Fifth principle, and this is the essential one: people must not powder their hair: after a vigorous uprising, a man with unpowdered hair is a frightful sight, and he wouldn't dare appear in good company again, or accept an invitation to supper. On these principles, I think, depends the maintenance of liberty, and you can derive the essential reciprocal duties of the sovereign and the people. Thus Rousseau, in his Social Contract, at the foot of the tower of Babel, standing next to the recently deceased notary Nembroth, forgot to mention that the clauses of this contract were worth nothing unless supported by the makers of sofas and chairs, and given the formal consent and agreement of wig-makers. Do you know why I write you such crazy letters? It's because you told me that there's nothing to laugh at in Paris...
To Madame d'Epinay Naples, 23 June, 1771
... You recognized Voltaire in that sermon; I only recognized the echo of M. de Voltaire's fire. Ah! He harps on the same thing too much at present. His Catherine is a female Tsar because she is intolerant and conquering; and all great men have been intolerant and that is as it must be. If one happens to meet a foolish prince, it's necessary to preach tolerance to him so that while he's snared, the crushed party has the time to lift itself back up by the tolerance shown it, and crush it's adversary in turn. Thus the sermon on tolerance is a sermon made for fools and dupes, or for people who don't take any interest in the affair. That is why secular sovereigns have to show tolerance sometimes: that is, when the affair only concerns priests and not the sovereign...
To Madame d'Epinay Naples, 23 November, 1771
Who has ever denied that you are what is best in Paris? Who denies that a philosopher would be the worst correspondent for me? But in the end, it is always good to receive a letter when you learn from it that people are still disputing about man's freedom, and that M. de Valmire exists, who is not M. de Voltaire at all! Do you want to know my opinion on this question? The persuasion that he is free is the essence of man. One could even define man as 'an animal who believes that he is free', and this would be a complete definition. M. de Valmire himself, when he writes that men are not free, why does he say it? So that people will believe it. Therefore, he thinks that other men are free and capable of deciding what they believe. It is absolutely impossible for a man to forget for a single instant, or to stop being persuaded that he is free. This, then, is the first point. Second point: is being persuaded that one is free the same thing as actually being free? I respond: this is not the same thing, but it produces the same moral effects. Man is then free, since he is intimately persuaded of being so, and since that is worth as much as freedom? This is the mechanism of the universe explained as clearly as spring water. If there were a single free being in the universe, there would be no more God, there would be no more ties between beings. The universe would fall apart; and if man were not intimately, essentially, and always convinced that he is free, human morality would not continue as it does. The conviction that one is free is enough to establish a conscience, remorse, justice, rewards and punishments. It is enough for everything, and here is the world explained in two words.
But how, you will ask me, can a person be intimately convinced of something when the opposite has been demonstrated to him? Just as a person is intimately convinced that two infinities are always equal, despite that calculus has shown that one infinity can be the double, triple, etc., of another, and the same with a thousand other theorems of geometry. Every time the human brain cannot form an idea of something, a demonstration cannot change a persons' persuasion. It is impossible for us to form an idea of infinity; thus, we accept the demonstration that one infinity is the double of another, but we are persuaded of the contrary, and we act according to how we are persuaded, and not to what was demonstrated, which an idea can't be formed of. It is impossible for us to form an idea of not being free. We therefore demonstrate to ourselves that we aren't, and we always act as if we were. The explanation of this phenomenon is that ideas do not come from reasoning; they come before reasoning, and follow from our sensations. We prove with reasoning that a stick does not curve when it is in water, but the idea we form of it is curved, because the sensation of our eye tells us it is; and the idea follows from the feeling of sight. Show what I have begun to scrawl to a philosopher; if he doesn't find me sublime this time, and perhaps even new, he is very wrong. He will find that I explain my great ideas very badly, and that my jargon is not very french. But I am like the bourgeois gentleman, who knows everything except orthography.
My dear Gatti arrived yesterday evening; judge my joy; I had great need of him to console me for the departure of Gleichen. He will be relieved by Grimm, then it is your turn to come and find me, and my heart tells me that you will come. I don't have time to write more to you. Have you been introduced to Caraccioli? Give him a thousand insults from me. He is a monster of ingratitude and of cruelty; he will never find someone from Naples who loves him as much as I do. He hasn't written me for four months. Adieu.
From a letter to Madame d'Epinay Naples, 29 September, 1770
... I am writing a book; it is wonderful. In it I establish that the reason that we have kings, popes and taxes is because we are not oysters. If we were oysters, without either arms or legs, we would only be able to work for ourselves. We could very well be eaten, but we could not be made to work for others. Thus, any people whose members cut off their arms and legs will become an oyster people and they will be exempt from taxes. Laziness, which converts us into oysters, is the true remedy against taxes. Taxes, which wake up our arms and legs, are the true remedy against laziness. The activity of a people is in proportion to it's taxes. Since human happiness consists neither in an excess of idleness nor an excess of activity, happiness won't be found in people subjected to either no taxes or to excessive ones.
Taxes that hamper our arms and legs inconvenience us more than those which let them be, and they bring in less money. Thus, taxes on drinks inconvenience us less and bring in more money than taxes that weigh on the work of farmers or manufacturers. ...
From a letter to Madame d'Epinay Naples, 24 November, 1770
... Then d'Alembert won't come to Italy? So much worse for him and for Italy. Voltaire was wrong to say to philosopers: Love each other, my children. This should only be said to sectarians. It's necessary to say this to economists, to jansenists; they need to love each other: and the Perrette box is the pivot of all sects. Philosophers are not made to love each other. Eagles do not fly in company; that must be left to partridges and starlings. Voltaire did not love at all, and he wasn't loved by anyone. He is feared, he has his talon, and that's enough. To fly above others and to have talons, that is the lot of great geniuses. ...
*Note: The 'Perrette box' or 'boîte à Perrette' was a half legendary casket that a founder of the jansenists kept the money in that funded them during Louis XIV's persecution.
But then what part of our education is due neither to nature nor to instinct, and can be found in us humans alone?
Mais quelle est donc cette partie de notre éducation qui ne tient point à la nature ni à l'instinct, et qui nous appartient exclusivement?
Ah! I see: that's why people call it supernatural, because it is outside of our nature.
Ah! j'entends: c'est pour cela qu'on la dit surnaturelle, parce qu'elle est hors de la nature.
Nature doesn't give us the slightest trace of an instinct for it; it is completely absent from all other animals; it is a gift that we owe entirely to our education; and any man who was never educated to it would have no religion at all, all the way back to savages found in the forests of Europe. It is really religion alone that distinguishes men from animals, it is characteristically our own. Instead of defining man as a reasonable animal, it would be more fitting to call him a religious one. All animals can draw conclusions; only man is religious. Morality, virtue, sense can all be traced to instincts in us; but belief in an invisible being isn't instinctive at all.
La nature ne nous en a donné aucune trace, aucun instinct; elle n'est absolument propre à aucune espèce d'animaux; c'est un présent que nous devons tout entier à l'éducation; et tout homme qui n'aurait point été élevé, n'aurait à coup sûr aucune sorte de religion; je m'en rapporte aux hommes sauvages, trouvés dans les forêts de l'Europe. C'est bien la religion toute seule qui distingue l'homme de la bête; elle fait notre trait caractéristique. Au lieu de définir l'homme un animal raisonnable, il fallait l'appeler un animal religieux. Tous les animaux sont raisonnables; l'homme seul est religieux. La morale, la vertu, le sentiment sont un instinct en nous; la croyance d'un être invisible ne nous en vient point.
You remind me of an author who, to prove that elephants were reasonable creatures, pointed out that they took part in a sort of cult to the moon by making religious absolutions in a river every night before a new full moon.
Vous me faites souvenir d'un auteur qui, pour prouver que l'éléphant était un être raisonnable, rapportait qu'on le voyait rendre une espèce de culte à la lune, en allant religieusement faire ses ablutions à la rivière les jours de la nouvelle et de la pleine lune.
I don't think that elephants take part in a cult; but if you see any animal of any shape, whether a rhinoceros, a turtle, a monkey or an orangutan come up with the idea of invisible causes for things, you may conclude that it is a man, or that it will become one in three generations.
Je ne crois pas que l'éléphant ait un culte; mais si vous voyez un animal d'une figure quelconque, soit rhinocéros, ou tortue, ou sapajou, orang-outang, avoir l'idée des causes invisibles, pariez que c'est un homme, ou qu'il le deviendra à la troisième génération.
So, what do you consider the essence of religion to consist in?
En quoi faites-vous donc consister l'essence de cette idée de religion?
Believing in the existence of one or more beings who cannot be perceived by any of our senses, who are invisible, impalpable, and who nevertheless are the cause of various phenomena.
A croire à l'existence d'un ou de plusieurs êtres qui ne soient aperçus par aucun de nos sens, qui soient invisibles, impalpables, et cependant la cause de quelques phénomènes.
And animals don't believe that?
Et les bêtes ne croient-elles pas cela?
No; at least they don't give us any indication of it. An animal sees a storm coming; it is afraid, hides and waits for it to pass. A man sees a storm, imagines that an invisible being is the cause of it, is afraid of the being who has created the storm more than the storm itself, and finally believes that if he appeases this being, he can stop storms from coming. Such is a general definition of religion, which includes both true and false ones: I won't develop this idea further; nevertheless, I would maintain against every atheist [esprit fort] that everything that distinguishes us from beasts is the result of religion. A political society, government, luxury, inequality of conditions, sciences, abstract ideas, philosophy, geometry, the arts, in short everything, owes it's origin to this characteristic of our species.
Non: du moins elles ne nous eu donnent aucune marque. La bête voit venir l'ouragan; elle a peur, se cache, et attend qu'il soit passé. L'homme voit l'ouragan, imagine qu'il existe un être invisible qui le cause, a peur de l'être qui le produit plus que de l'ouragan, et croit enfin qu'en apaisant cet être, il a un remède contre les ouragans. Telle est la définition générale de la religion; définition qui embrasse la vraie et les fausses: mais je m'arrête sur les développemens de cette idée; toutefois j'oserai soutenir contre tout esprit fort, que tout ce qui nous distingue des bêtes, est un effet de la religion. Société politique, gouvernement, luxe, inégalité des conditions, sciences, idées abstraites, philosophie, géométrie, beaux-arts , enfin tout doit son origine à ce caractéristique de notre espèce.
I was going to ask you if we have lost or gained more from this idea of invisible causes; if there is a true religion among the false; if the true and false are equally good or bad; where this idea of religion first arose from, since you say it isn't given by instinct and is only established in us by education, which is for us what a riding academy is for a horse; because the education it receives there has nothing in common with the one his mother would have taught him. But I won't ask you anything, because as soon as you defined man as a religious animal, you seem to me to want to be religious yourself.
J'allais vous demander si nous avions perdu ou gagné à cette idée des causes invisibles; s'il y a une religion vraie parmi les fausses; si la vraie ou les fausses sont également bonnes ou égaement mauvaises; d'où a pu venir, de première source, cette idée de religion; ce qui ne tient point l'instinct, qui ne s'établit en nous que par une éducation donnée exprès, qui est pour nous ce que le manège est pour le cheval; car ce manège est pour lui une éducation qui n'a rien de commun avec celle que la jûment sa mère lui a donnée. Mais je ne vous demanderai rien; car, dès que vous définissez l'homme un animal religieux, vous m'avez l'air de vouloir être religieux.
Or an animal proper. It is necessary to choose: I would prefer to be a man, but it is purely a matter of taste, I know. Rousseau felt differently; he preferred to walk on all fours, and while trying he succeeded in walking in a large pair of underwear: that was his taste. But you forgot what we were originally talking about. You will agree that education properly considered, that is, the idea of religion, is common to both men and women and isn't what creates a difference between their sex and ours: women are just as religious as we are.
Ou bien fort bête. Il a fallu choisir: j'ai mieux aimé être homme; c'est pure affaire de goût, je le sàis bien. Rousseau eût pensé autrement; il préférait de marcher à quatre pattes, et en attendant il marchait en grands caleçons: c'était son goût. Mais vous avez perdu de vue d'où nous sommes partis. Vous conviendrez que l'éducation proprement dite, c'est-à-dire l'idée de la religion et du culte, nous étant commune à tous, hommes et femmes, elle ne peut influer sur la différence de leur sexe au nôtre : les femmes ont autant de religion que nous.
Just! I think they are moreso.
Autant! Je crois qu'elles en ont davantage.
For myself, I think they are neither more nor less: in the end, if they retain more of what they were taught, we come up with more to teach, which amounts to effectively the same thing.
Pour moi, je crois qu'elles n'en ont ni plus ni moins: au total, si elles en retiennent une plus grande dose, nous y donnons un plus grand développement : les effets restent égaux.
Have you read the work of Thomas on women?
Avez-vous vu l'ouvrage de Thomas sur les femmes?
He doesn't mention anything that you just said.
Il ne dit rien de ce que vous venez de dire.
And do you know why?
Et savez-vous pourquoi?
No, in truth!
Non, en vérité!
It's because I didn't say anything he did.
C'est que je ne dis rien, moi, de ce qu'il dit, lui.