Slide
Micromégas
Saturn
by Voltaire (*1694; †1778)
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The Cartesian took the floor and said: "The soul is a pure spirit that has received in the belly of its mother all metaphysical ideas, and which, leaving that place, is obliged to go to school, and to learn all over again what it already knew, and will not know again."

"It is not worth the trouble," responded the animal with the height of eight leagues, "for your soul to be so knowledgeable in its mother's stomach, only to be so ignorant when you have hair on your chin. But what do you understand by the mind?"

"You are asking me?" said the reasoner. "I have no idea. We say that it is not matter."

"But do you at least know what matter is?"

"Certainly," replied the man. "For example this stone is grey, has such and such a form, has three dimensions, is heavy and divisible."

"Well!" said the Sirian, "this thing that appears to you to be divisible, heavy, and grey, will you tell me what it is? You see some attributes, but behind those, are you familiar with that?

"No," said the other.

"So you do not know what matter is."

"Le Micromégas," written by the French philosopher and satirist Voltaire* in 1752, stands as an early example of science fiction within the literary world (alongside his work "Plato's Dream"). The novella portrays the arrival on Earth of an extraterrestrial being from a planet orbiting Sirius, accompanied by another being from Saturn. Voltaire employs the technique of an outsider's perspective to critique various aspects of Western culture, a method prevalent during the repressive period in which it was written. *Voltaire was just one of his more than 170 pseudonyms, while his real name was François-Marie Arouet.

"If there’s life on other planets, then the earth is the Universe’s insane asylum."- Voltaire
"If you want to know who controls you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize." - Voltaire
"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices." - Voltaire
"The right to free speech is more important than the content of the speech." - Voltaire
"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere." - Voltaire
"It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong." - Voltaire
"Many are destined to reason wrongly; others, not to reason at all; and others, to persecute those who do reason." - Voltaire
"Doctors put drugs of which they know little into bodies of which they know less for diseases of which they know nothing at all." - Voltaire
"The only way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the extent of human stupidity." - Voltaire
"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking." - Voltaire
"The art of government is to make two-thirds of a nation pay all it possibly can pay for the benefit of the other third." - Voltaire
"Is politics nothing other than the art of deliberately lying?" - Voltaire
r θ = a e ln ( φ ) π / 2 θ
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micromegas
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//<button class="play-button">Play</button>
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        });
    });
</script>

 

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