"Curiosity is only vanity. Most frequently we wish to know only to talk. Thus we would not take a sea voyage--if we were never to speak of it--for the sole pleasure of seeing without hope of ever communicating it."
"We do not concern ourselves about being esteemed in towns through which we pass. But if we are to remain a while there, we are so concerned. How long is necessary? A time commensurate with our vain and paltry life."
"We do not content ourselves with the life we have in ourselves and in our being; we desire to live an imaginary life in the mind of others, and for this purpose we endeavor to shine. We labor unceasingly to adorn and preserve this imaginary existence and neglect the real."
"Vanity is so anchored in the heart of man that a soldier, a soldier's servant, a cook, a porter brags and wishes to have his admirers. Even philosophers wish for them. Those who write against vanity want to have the glory of having written well; and those who read it desire the glory of having read it. I who write this have perhaps this desire, and perhaps those who will read it."
"Of the three forms of pride, that is to say pride proper, vanity, and conceit, vanity is by far the most harmless, and conceit by far the most dangerous. The meaning of vanity is to think too much of our bodily advantages, whether real or unreal, over others; while the meaning of conceit is to believe we are cleverer, wiser, grander, and more important than we really are."
"Vanity is as advantageous to a government as pride is dangerous. To be convinced of this we need only represent, on the one hand, the numberless benefits which result from vanity, as industry, the arts, fashions, politeness, and taste; and on the other, the infinite evils which spring from the pride of certain nations, a laziness, poverty, a total neglect of everything."
"The vain man does not wish so much to be prominent as to feel himself prominent; he therefore disdains none of the expedients for self-deception and self-outwitting. It is not the opinion of others that he sets his heart on, but his opinion of their opinion."