In France, where Franklin had lived from 1776 to 1785, he had won an extraordinary place in the public mind. The French had lionized him to the point of absurdity – or so at least his colleagues in the American mission thought.
To measure prices by a currency that is called by the same names as gold, but that is really inferior in value to gold, and then – because those prices are nominally higher than gold prices – to say that they are inflated, relatively to gold, is a perfect absurdity.
There is no absurdity so palpable but that it may be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to inculcate it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity.
In the consciousness of the truth he has perceived, man now sees everywhere only the awfulness or the absurdity of existence and loathing seizes him.
In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of the world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods.