Charles Baudouin

French-Swiss psychoanalyst

Charles Baudouin (26 July 1893 – August 25, 1963) was a French-Swiss psychoanalyst.



The Myth of Modernity (1946)

Le Mythe du moderne, as translated by Bernard Miall (1950)
  • The last two centuries were familiar with the myth of progress. Our own century has adopted the myth of modernity. The one myth has replaced the other. ...

    Men ceased to believe in progress; but only to pin their faith to more tangible realities, whose sole original significance had been that they were the instruments of progress. ...

    This exaltation of the present ... is a corollary of that very faith in progress which people claim to have discarded. The present is superior to the past, by definition, only in a mythology of progress. Thus one reatins the corollary while rejecting the principle. There is only one way of retaining a position of whose instability one is conscious. One must simply refrain from thinking—and surrender oneself to the vortex of the corollary.

    • sections 1-7
  • The vulgarity of the myth of modernity is plainly revealed by the preeminence in its mythology of the factors of quantity; to be modern is always to beat the record in some respect. Distinction, therefore, is opposed to modernity as quality is to quantity.
    • section 15
  • The first of men did no more than take the fruit of the tree, and that, we are told, was sin. Modern humanity "tortures the tree in order the sooner to obtain its fruit."
    • section 20
      • quote is from Prayer for the Departed by Armand Godoy
  • To have lived a full life is to have learned to love, that is, to give greatly. It is to have learned how to make the gesture that some scholars have called oblative, opposing this term to captative; as though contrasting the gesture of offering with the gesture of seizing.
    • section 21
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