Martin-Pierre Crussaire, Manuel du vrai sage ou recherches sur le bonheur de l’homme et sur ses devoirs
The work is written in a simple and accessible style (despite the author’s legal background). It includes discussions on the
nature of happiness, man’s duty, and incorporates an interesting mixture of thinkers from Rousseau to Saint Augustin.
However despite the inclusion of Enlightened thinkers to begin with, Crussaire soon takes refuge with mainly religious thinkers, and as the work progresses it increasingly becomes a religious text, both in content and tone. Crussaire appears to be a man grappling with the legacy of the Enlightenment and the resurgence of religious devotion in the aftermath of revolution.
His views on human happiness are unsurprising given his inspiration. Various obstacles block man from happiness, avarice most of all; Crussaire points out that once man has acquired possessions, the pleasure he derives from them is outweighed by the anxiety he experiences over their protection. He notes that man can be governed by his desires, and that reason and passion are constantly at odds with one another, though the remedy for this problem is less clear.
The “Romantic” element is strong within this work, the shift away from the use of reason highlighted in his third chapter “Le bonheur de l’homme ne peut pas être le fruit de sa raison”.