A man of letters, the often-quoted French philosopher Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) was born on this day near the Vézère Valley in the small town of Montignac, France, the son of a master surgeon.
"Words, like eyeglasses, obscure everything they do not make clear," he once said.
Joubert studied law, then joined the Doctrinaires teaching order and discovered a passion for philosophy and the classics.
Despite suffering poor health for most of his life, Joubert was an energetic learner who joined the Paris artist community in 1778, becoming friends with Denis Diderot and other creative thinkers.
Joubert said, "Some superior minds are unrecognized because there is no standard by which to weigh them."
A keen observer of the world around him, Joubert was admired for his ideas and recorded his daily thoughts about politics, religion, and literature in notebooks. "These thoughts form not only the foundation of my work, but of my life," he said.
His voluminous notebooks--Pensées-- were compliled and distributed posthumously by his student Chateaubriand who praised Joubert for "the goodness of his soul...and brilliance of his mind--a mind that was interested in everything and understood everything."
"Imagination is the eye of the soul," Joubert said.
More Joseph JOUBERT Quotations