For the Enlightenment, of which Voltaire was a part, publicity – that is, making something public, and absolutely not the contemporary sense of promoting an object or a service – is an essential attribute for leading oneself towards the Good.
The secret is not on the side of a better world; on the contrary, it is through the understanding of each one of the obscure things, that one will find a more enviable world.
Thus Voltaire, committed against fanaticism, perceives a way to stop the fanatic madness, the “rage of fanaticism”: it is about transparency, publicity, making things public.
He writes in a letter of April 15, 1762: “If anything can stop the rage of fanaticism in men, it is publicity“.(Œuvres complètes de Voltaire, tome 42, Correspondance de Voltaire, Lettre 4880, Garnier, p. 87-88)
Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, philosophical and political writings, and criticism of established beliefs. He was a prominent figure during the Age of Enlightenment, and actively defended civil liberties against the absolute rule of French kings. Voltaire wrote works such as Candide, Dictionnaire Philosophique, Lettres Philosophiques, Histoire de Charles XII and his plays are still performed on stages. He died in 1778. He entered the Pantheon in 1791.￼
2 thoughts on “Voltaire – Publicity and rage of fanaticism”
It seems that the date of the letter is wrong
Hello, We have corrected and added the exact bibliographic reference to avoid any misunderstanding. Thank you so much !
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