Thursday, November 20, 2008

THE BLUEPRINT

Michel De Montaigne
Despite an insistence on his being ordinary, at least in the philosophical sense, Montaigne is a remarkable figure from the Middle Ages whose philosophical insights are still as inspiring and relevant and provocative as they were in the 16th century. If you're not familiar with his essays, I really recommend their reading. Full of wonderfully idiosyncratic anecdotes, metaphors, all highly quotable, there's ever the disdain I love that he shows for dogmatic social systems that rule out theses where we might be free of others' eyes; there's no resentful holding out to others, but a joyful celebration of one's own special selfness while accepting how trapped we are in our own biology. He loathed the authorities that separate people, making them appear intrinsically different from one another - and it's that rejection which in turn allows for our capacity for greater individuality and presence in an apolitical domain that some might have you believe cannot exist.

3 comments:

Anthony Di Franco said...

Having read this post I've since picked up a volume of selected essays. It's absolutely fascinating stuff - thanks very much for sharing it.

William Bennett said...

thank you - thrilled to hear that you feel the same, was a great discovery for me too

Miss Kerry said...

Que sais-je?
Not much, therefore thrilled to find new reading material.:D