Everybody continually kills the Mandarin  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Chacun, à toute minute, tue le mandarin" is a dictum by French philosopher Émile Chartier recorded in "Passions de voisinage" (27 December 1910), included in the collection Propos sur le bonheur (1925; Alain On Happiness). Its refers to the metaphor of killing an hypothetical Mandarin.

The full dictum reads:

"Chacun, à toute minute, tue le mandarin ; et la société est une merveilleuse machine qui permet aux bonnes gens d'être cruels sans le savoir."[1]

It is translated in English as:

"Everybody continually tries to get away with as much as he can; and society is a marvelous machine which allows decent people to be cruel without realizing it."[2]

This translation does away with the "tue le mandarin" (kills the Mandarin) bit, which is a reference to the moral dilemma of killing an anonymous mandarin.

An alternative translation by Jan-Willem Geerinck, which keeps the reference to the Mandarin, reads:

"Everybody continually kills the Mandarin."




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Everybody continually kills the Mandarin" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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