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November 20, 2015 / Fantelius

When France Had Philosophers

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The Words of a Child of Love

In the beautiful Dordogne valley of southern France, Louise came away from the bed of their child and said, as she often did, ”The angel sleeps.”
Her husband, Pons, watched her take up her knitting in the chair by the fire. The dance of the flames seemed to enhance her beauty.
”What are you smiling at?” she asked.
”My happiness.”
”I think this is the last day of fall.”
She couldn’t have surprised him more. What a strange thing to say, he thought and was surprised even more by the love that swelled so forcefully within him.
He stood up and took her knitting from her, said, ”One shouldn’t knit on the last day of fall,“ and led her by the hand to the bed.
Nine months later, on the first day of fall, their son François greeted the world. Here are some of the things he wrote:

Quotations of François Fénelon

– All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers.

– Nothing will make us so charitable and tender to the faults of others as by self-examination thoroughly to know our own.

– Had we not faults of our own, we should take less pleasure in complaining of others.

– There is a set of religious, or rather moral, writings which teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery in this world. A very wholesome and comfortable doctrine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true.

– Speak little; listen much; think more about understanding the heart and try to adapt yourself to the needs of the speaker than trying to say clever things to them. Show that you have an open mind and let everyone feel secure and receive comfort when they open their heart to you. Never say more than is necessary, and speak with complete honesty. No one should fear disappointment by trusting you.

– A people is no less a member of the human race, which is society as a whole, than a family is a member of a particular nation. Each individual owes incomparably more to the human race, which is the great fatherland, than to the particular country in which he was born. As a family is to the nation, so is the nation to the universal commonwealth; therefore it is infinitely more harmful for nation to wrong nation, than for family to wrong family. To abandon the sentiment of humanity is not merely to renounce civilization and to relapse into barbarism, it is to share in the blindness of the most brutish brigands and savages; it is to be a man no longer, but a cannibal.

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As to the last quote, what would this child of love writing over 300 years ago think of today’s nationalistic and rasist cries for blood from the chorus of hypocrites in high places?

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“No fashion can compete with a smile, and it never goes out of style.”
Dartwill Aquila

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