Few people imagine that they have a true concept of what a human is. The villagers of a certain part of Europe have no other idea of ​​our kind, except that man is a creature about two legs, with a weather-beaten skin, issuing several articulate sounds, processing the land, paying, for some unknown reason, a certain tribute to another creature called “king” “who sells his food supplies at the most expensive price possible and gathers on certain days of the year, along with other similar beings, to chant prayers in a language that they do not know at all.

The king considers almost the entire human race as creatures created to subordinate him and others like him. A young Parisian, entering into the light, sees in him only food for his vanity; a vague idea, which she has about happiness, the brilliance and noise of the environment prevent her soul from hearing the voice of everything else that is in nature. The young Turks, in the silence of the seraglio, look upon men as the higher beings, who are appointed by the well-known law to rise every Friday to the bed of their slaves; his imagination does not go beyond these limits. The priest divides people into ministers of religion and laity; and, without any hesitation, he regards the clergy as the noblest part of humanity, intended to lead the other part of it, etc.

If one were to decide that the philosophers have the complete idea of ​​human nature, he would be very mistaken: after all, if we exclude Hobbes, Locke, Descartes, Beyle, and a very small number of wise minds from their environment, others create a strange opinion of a man, so The same is limited, as the opinion of the crowd, and only more vague. Ask the father of Malebranche what a human is, he will tell you that it is a substance created in the image of God, very spoiled as a result of original sin, but still more strongly associated with God than with his own body, all seeing in God, all thinking and feeling in it.

Pascal views the whole world as a bunch of villains and wretches created to be damned, although God chose among them for ages a few souls (that is, one for five or six million) that deserve salvation.

One says: a human is a soul conjoined with a body, and when the body dies, the soul lives forever on its own. Another assures that man is a body, because of necessity it is thinking; In this case, neither one nor the other does not prove their positions. I would like to study a human in the same way as in my astronomical research: my thought sometimes goes beyond the globe, from which all the movements of heavenly bodies should appear to be wrong and confusing. After I watch the movements of the planets as if I were on the Sun, I compare the apparent movements that I see from the Earth with the true movements that would be observed on the Sun. In the same way, I will try, when investigating a human, to go first of all beyond the sphere of human interests, to get rid of all the prejudices of upbringing, the place of birth, and especially the philosopher’s prejudices.

For example, I suppose that born with the faculties of thinking and feeling that I currently possess, and not having a human appearance, I come down here from the planet Mars or Jupiter. I can sweep all times, all countries and, consequently, all the nonsense of this little ball. At least, such an assumption is as easy as imagining oneself on the Sun and considering from there the sixteen planets that regularly rotate in the space surrounding this luminary.

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