XIV.5 That bad legislators are those who have favored vices of the climate, and good ones are those who have countered them

The Indians believe that repose and obli­vion are the foun­da­tion of all things, and the end to which they lead. Thus they regard utter inac­ti­vity as the most per­fect state and the object of their desi­res. They give the sur­name “unmo­va­ble” to the sove­reign being.1 The Siamese believe that supreme feli­city2 consists in not being obli­ged to ani­mate a machine and make a body act.

In those coun­tries where exces­sive heat ener­va­tes and overw­helms, repose is so delight­ful, and move­ment so unplea­sant, that this sys­tem of meta­phy­sics appears natu­ral ; and Foe,3 the legis­la­tor of the Indies, fol­lo­wed what he was fee­ling when he put men in an extre­mely pas­sive state ; but his doc­trine, spaw­ned by the indo­lence of the cli­mate, and in its turn favo­ring it, has cau­sed a thou­sand kinds of harm.

The legis­la­tors of China were more sen­si­ble when, consi­de­ring men not in the pea­ce­ful state where they will be some day, but in appro­priate action so they will ful­fill the duties of life, they made their reli­gion, their phi­lo­so­phy, and their laws all prac­ti­cal. The more phy­si­cal cau­ses incline men to repose, the more moral cau­ses must keep them from it.

Panamanack ; see Kircher.

La Loubère, The Kingdom of Siam, page 446 [in fact part III, ch. xxii, p. 498].

“Foe wants to reduce the heart to pure emptiness ; we have eyes and ears, but perfection is neither to see nor to hear ; a mouth, hands, etc. ; perfection is that these members be inactive.” This is taken from the “Dialogue of a Chinese Philosopher” related by Father du Halde, vol. III.