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Date: 1637

"I supposed, too, that in the beginning God did not place in this body any rational soul or any other thing to serve as a vegetative or sensitive soul, but rather that he kindled in its heart one of those fires without light which I had already explained, and whose nature I understood to be no di...

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1641

"I am not that structure of limbs which is called a human body. I am not even some thin vapour which permeates the limbs - a wind, fire, air, breath, or whatever I depict in my imagination; for these are things which I have supposed to be nothing."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1658

"The soul seems to be like a little flame or a most attenuated kind of fire, which thrives or remains kindled while the animal lives, since if it no longer thrives or is put out, the animal dies."

— Gassendi, Pierre (1592-1655)

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Date: 1664

"The parts of the blood which penetrate as far as the brain serve not only to nourish and sustain its substance, but also and primarily to produce in it a certain very fine wind, or rather a very lively and pure flame, which is called the animal spirits."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1665

"Absence lessens moderate passions and intensifies great ones, as the wind blows out a candle but fans up a fire"

— La Rochefoucauld, François, duc de (1613-1680)

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Date: w. 1628; published 1684 [Dutch], 1701 [Latin]

"For the human mind has within it a sort of spark of the divine, in which the first seeds of useful ways of thinking are sown, seeds which, however neglected and stifled by studies which impede them, often bear fruit of their own accord."

— Descartes, René (1596-1650)

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Date: 1721, 1722

"Nature, industriously favourable to men, hath not bounded itself in giving desires to men, she was willing that we should have them too, and that we should be the animated instruments of their felicity: she hath put in us the flame of the passions, to make them live easy."

— Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755)

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Date: 1721, 1722

"I think myself almost annihilated; and I do not become sensible of my existence, till a dismal jealousy comes to kindle and produce in my heart, fear, suspicions, hatred and regret."

— Charles-Louis de Secondat, Baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu (1689-1755)

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Date: 1748, 1749

"Without proper food the soul languishes, raves, and dies with faintness. It is like a taper, which revives in the moment it is going to be extinguished."

— Julien Offray de La Mettrie (1709-1751)

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The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.