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Tarde on smoking, drinking and clothing

posted Mar 9, 2012, 3:10 PM by Marco Toledo Bastos   [ updated Mar 9, 2012, 3:13 PM ]

The desire to smoke, to drink tea or coffee, etc., did not appear until after the discovery of tea, or coffee, or tobacco. Here is another example among a thousand. "Clothing does not result from modesty," M. Wiener justly observes (Le Perou); "on the contrary, modesty appears as a result of clothing, that is to say, the clothing which conceals any part of the human body makes the nakedness of the part which we are accustomed to see covered, appear indecent." In other words, the desire to be clothed, in so far as it is a social desire, is due to the discovery of clothing, of certain kinds of clothes. Inventions are far from being, then, the simple effects of social necessities; they are their causes.

Tarde, Gabriel. The laws of imitation. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1903: 102