Hume & Rousseau

The following text by David Hume taken from his autobiography is to be read in this Reading Machine while the accompanying blue substance dissolves in water at a very slow rate (the complete dissolution takes days.) This is countered by another machine pictured below accompanying Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s excerpt from Confessions describing his uneasy character. Hume and Rousseau met in their life-time but the two thinkers could not tolerate each other’s temperament.

It is difficult for a man to speak long of himself without vanity; therefore, I shall be short. I was, I say, a man of mild disposition,

of command of temper, of an open, social, and cheerful humour, capable of attachment, but little susceptible of enmity, and of great moderation in all my passions. Even my love of literary fame, my ruling passion, never soured my temper, notwithstanding my frequent disappointments. My company was not unacceptable to the young and careless, as well as to the studious and literary; and as I took a particular pleasure in the company of modest women, I had no reason to be displeased with the reception I met with from them. My friends never had occasion to vindicate any one circumstance of my character and conduct: Not but that the zealots, we may well suppose, would

have been glad to invent and propagate any story to my disadvantage.

The text comes from The History of England, from the Invasion of Julius Cæsar to the Revolution in 1688, 8 vols. (London, 1778), vol. 1.