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Proudhon, Pierre Joseph. System of Economical Contradictions: or, the Philosophy of Misery Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library II. It seems, then, that all is ended; it seems that, with the cessation of the worship and mystification of humanity by itself, the theological problem is for ever put aside. The gods have gone: there is nothing left for man but to grow weary and die in his egoism. What frightful solitude extends around me, and forces its way to the bottom of my soul! My exaltation resembles annihilation; and, since I made myself a God, I seem but a shadow. It is possible that I am still a me, but it is very difficult to regard myself as the absolute; and, if I am not the absolute, I am only half of an idea. Some ironic thinker, I know not who, has said: "A little philosophy leads away from religion, and much philosophy leads back to it." This proposition is humiliati...

An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of GovernmentPreface. The following letter served as a preface to the first edition of this memoir: — “To the Members of the Academy of Besançon. “PARIS, June 30, 1840. “GENTLEMEN, — In the course of your debate of the 9th of May, 1833, in regard to the triennial pension established by Madame Suard, you expressed the following wish: — “ ‘The Academy requests the titulary to present it annually, during the first fortnight in July, with a succinct and logical statement of the various studies which he has pursued during the year which has just expired.’ “I now propose, gentlemen, to discharge this duty. “When I solicited your votes, I boldly avowed my intention to bend my efforts to the discovery of some means of ameliorating the physical, moral, and intellectual condition of the mere numerous and poorer classes. This idea, foreign as it m...

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