En son sens premier, l’apophtegme est une proposition claire et concise qui résume en très peu de mots une pensée de grande portée en ce qui concerne la voie à suivre pour conduire sa vie extérieure ou intérieure. Une telle proposition est ainsi non seulement facile à mémoriser mais aussi digne de mémoire. On a attribué lettres, maximes, sentences PDF de maximes notoires aux Sept sages de la Grèce Antique. Le philologue Bruno Snell estime que ces hommes étaient surtout reconnus pour leur enseignement oral.
Epicure est le philosophe du plaisir : il proclame, contre les parangons de vertu, que le plaisir est à la fois le but de toutes nos activités et le critère auquel nous reconnaissons qu’elles sont bonnes. Pour nous en convaincre, il fallait qu’il soit un théoricien du juste calcul des plaisirs et des peines, et un penseur de l’amitié, condition de la félicité. Mais aussi un philosophe de la nature, parce qu’il n’y a pas de sérénité possible pour qui vit dans l’ignorance des causes, dans l’angoisse de la mort et dans la crainte superstitieuse des châtiments divins. Il nous enseigne ainsi que la philosophie est un tout, que l’éthique se fonde sur une véritable science du bonheur, et que le savoir lui-même, s’il ne nous rendait pas plus heureux, ne servirait à rien…
La plupart des hommes sont mauvais. La modération est le plus grand bien. En tant que maximes, ces apophtegmes sont les prémisses majeures des syllogismes qui en droit permettent au quotidien à l’homme cultivé de conduire raisonnablement son existence, c’est-à-dire de faire la part du bien et du mal en toutes circonstances. Il ne faut pas confondre l’apophtegme et l’aphorisme bien que les deux cherchent également à dire de grandes choses en peu de mots. Héraclite n’est pas un apophtegme car son sens demande explication pour être bien comprise et elle est d’ordre ontologique voire épistémologique et non moral ou spirituel.
Par la suite, le sens du terme d’apophtegme s’élargit quelque peu avec les Apophtegmes des Pères du désert, il ne s’agit plus seulement de brèves sentences inspirées mais cela peut concerner aussi de courtes anecdotes propices à la méditation et à la réflexion sur le chemin conduisant au divin. Plus récemment, le sens du terme s’est encore élargi, pour devenir par ironie beaucoup plus péjoratif, cela devient en effet une parole creuse qui n’a qu’une fausse apparence de sagesse. Ainsi Victor Hugo écrit dans Quatre-vingt-treize que Georgette ne faisait pas de phrases. Ou encore « on ne peut pas descendre deux fois dans le même fleuve », cf. Rechercher les pages comportant ce texte. La dernière modification de cette page a été faite le 24 octobre 2018 à 20:50. Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the French noble and writer.
French author of maxims and memoirs. It is said that his world-view was clear-eyed and urbane, and that he neither condemned human conduct nor sentimentally celebrated it. La Rochefoucauld was given the education of a nobleman of his era, which concentrated on military exercises, hunting, court etiquette, elegance of expression and comportment, and a knowledge of the world. Under the patronage of Madame de Chevreuse, whom he met at this time, the first of the three celebrated women who influenced his life, he joined the service of Queen Anne of Austria.
In the second Fronde, La Rochefoucauld allied himself with Condé. He used the occasion of his father’s funeral in 1650 to urge the attending provincial nobility to help him attack the royalist garrison of Saumur. For some years thereafter, he retired to his country estate of Verteuil. Although his fortune had been much reduced, in time he was able to restore it somewhat, thanks chiefly to the fidelity of Gourville, who had been in his service and who, passing into the service of Mazarin and of Condé, had acquired both wealth and influence. In 1662, the Dutch firm House of Elzevir surreptitiously published what purported to be his memoirs, which brought him both trouble and fame. Many of his old friends were offended.
These memoirs were not a faithful copy of what he had written, and while he hastened to deny their authenticity, this was not generally believed. At about the same date, his friendship with Marie-Madeleine Pioche de La Vergne, Comtesse de La Fayette began, which lasted for the rest of his life. He had a circle of devoted friends and was recognized as a top-ranking moralist and man of letters. His son, the Prince de Marcillac, to whom he gave his titles and honors in 1671, enjoyed a considerable position at court. La Rochefoucauld’s ethical views have given rise to attacks upon his works by pious moralists of later eras.
Like his contemporaries, he saw politics as a chessboard for powerful players, rather than as a struggle of ideologies or a means for achieving broad social goals. He appears to have been unusually scrupulous in his personal conduct, and his lack of success in the aristocratic struggles arose more from this than from anything else. He died in Paris on 17 March 1680. His importance as a social and historical figure is overshadowed by his towering stature in French literature.
His literary work consists of three parts—his Memoirs, the Maximes, and his letters. The Memoirs are of high interest and literary merit. A book purporting to be La Rochefoucauld’s memoirs was published in the Dutch Republic whence, despite the author’s protest, it continued to be reprinted for some thirty years. It has now been proved to have been pieced together from the work of half a dozen men, with scarcely a third of it being La Rochefoucauld’s. The author made frequent alterations and additions to them during his life and a few were added after his death.
It is usual now to publish them in their totality of 504. The majority consist of just two or three lines, and hardly any exceed half a page. After that I guarantee that he will be the first to endorse them and he will believe that they do credit to the human spirit. Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers.
Sincere enthusiasm is the only orator who always persuades. Men are not only subject to losing all recollection of kindnesses and injuries done them, they even hate those to whom they are obliged and cease to hate those who have harmed them. The effort of repaying the kindness and avenging the evil seem to them a servitude to which they are unwilling to submit. If we had no faults, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.
Flirtatiousness is fundamental to a woman’s nature, but not all put it into practice because some are restrained by fear or by good sense. There hardly exist faults which are not more pardonable than the means by which one tries to hide them. The truest mark of having been born with great qualities is to have been born without envy. Referenced by Bernard Lonergan in Insight, People generally complain about their memory, but never about their judgment. His letters number more than one hundred, and they are of both biographical and literary value.