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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: January 2010

5 - Pain and Recognition

Summary

How could a doctrine that clearly highlights the natural participation of every existence in the harmony of the universe tend to isolate us more from the general milieu? … I feel every day that my philosophical convictions make me increasingly sympathize with everyone who surrounds me. Although I am very isolated in my daily life, it is only because of personal taste and a sort of spontaneous routine; my philosophy combats them … and certainly does away with every nuance of misanthropy.

Comte to Barbot de Chement, 1846

MORE DISAPPOINTMENT

According to J. Marès, manic-depressives become extremely melancholy or maniacal after the death of someone they love. Indeed, right after de Vaux's funeral, Comte began to deal with a sadness that he said was “without equal” and would last forever. Yet matters shortly became worse. About a month after her death, Comte experienced more grief. One of his oldest and closest friends, Charles Bonnin, died on May 27, 1846 at the age of seventy-six. He prided himself on being Comte's first disciple. Indeed, he had been corresponding with Comte since 1829 and for years had joined him and Lenoir once a month at Blainville's home for dinner. A radical publicist and friend of Lazare Carnot, Bonnin demonstrated the “profound affinity” that could exist between the “pure spirit of the revolution” and positivism. Comte always appreciated this leftist's support.

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