True Philosophy

True Philosophy

In Herbert Marcuse's essay, "The Affirmative Character of Culture", Marcuse quotes Le Mettrie, from Discours sur le Bonheur."False philosophy can, like theology, promise us an eternal happiness and, cradling us in beautiful chimeras, lead us there at the expense of our days or our pleasure. Quite different and wiser, true philosophy affords only a temporal happiness. It sows roses and flowers in our path and teaches us to pick them."

Le Mettrie continues: "And how we shall be anti-Stoics! These philosophers are strict, sad, and hard: we shall be tender, joyful and agreeable. All soul, they abstract from their body; all body, we shall abstract from our soul. They show themselves inaccessible to pleasure and pain; we shall be proud to feel both the one and the other. Aiming at the sublime, they elevate themselves above all occurrences and believe themselves to be truly men only insofar as they case to exist. Ourselves, we shall not control what governs us, although circumstances will not command our feelings...Finally, we shall believe ourselves that much happier, the more we feel nature, humanity, and all social virtues. We shall recognize none but these, nor any life other than this one."