Philosophical Dictionary, by Voltaire

MOUNTAIN.

The fable of the mountain which, after alarming the whole neighborhood with its outcries in labor, was ridiculed by all present when it became delivered of a mouse, is at once ancient and universal. The company, however, who thus gave way to ridicule were not a company of philosophers. Those who mocked should in reality have admired. A mountain’s being delivered of a mouse was an event as extraordinary, and as worthy of admiration, as a mouse’s being delivered of a mountain. A rock’s producing a rat is a case absolutely prodigious, and the world never beheld anything approaching to such a miracle. All the worlds in the universe could not originate a fly. Thus, in cases where the vulgar mock, the philosopher admires; and where the vulgar strain their eyes in stupid astonishment, he often smiles.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:25