Forced to become pygmies in order to find room in Pandemonium

From Chamfort’s Maximes et Pensees, number 65 in my edition. I’ll first give W.S. Merwin’s rendering even though I very much feel he improves the thought by mistranslation:

Men becomes little as they become alike. They are Milton’s devils, forced to become pygmies in order to find room in Pandemonium.

Les hommes deviennent petits en se rassemblant ; ce sont les diables de Milton, obligés de se rendre pygmées, pour entrer dans le Pandémonium.

I can find no dictionary entry for ‘rassembler’ as resemble, which is where Merwin’s ‘become alike’ has to have originated. Unless there is an alternate reading of ‘ressembler’ not given in my Folio Classique edition.  More accurate to my text but less well phrased would be:

Men become small as they are gathered together – they are Milton’s devils, forced to make themselves pygmies in order to enter Pandemonium.

The distinction I’m making is that Merwin’s version is rosier than the original. By his rendering, reduction of personhood/character/etc. is a product of assimilation, not of the act of gathering together. This would seem to leave open the possibility that one could exist in a social context without being reduced by it (provided you didn’t ‘become like’ your peers). But Chamfort – as I read him at least – makes that reduction an automatic byproduct of all existence in a social context – that we in our totalities and potentialities are necessarily diminished by being crammed against one another.

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