Skepticism questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge.
Montaigne was a French philosopher (1533-1592), his “Essays” (the word “Essai” in French means “attempts” or “tests”).
I know you won’t read Montaigne (988 pages in translated English, paperback, $27) – I once read an interview of Orson Welles who said it was the book of his life, and he had one copy next to his bed all along.
This guy was a mess, and he wrote his essays for years, in French (in this time, you had to use Latin if you were a serious scholar), like… thinking all along.
With the goal of describing man with complete frankness and using himself as his most frequent example, Michel de Montaigne first published his “Essays” in 1580. This collection of 107 chapters encompasses a wide variety of subjects – he saw the most basic elements of man as variety and unpredictability. “What do I know?” This embodies the spirit of the entire volume, for it reflects both the inquisitory search for intellectual knowledge as well as the more personal anecdotal quality of a work that has had an enduring impact on both French and English literature for hundreds of years.
He flits around, from a thought to another. No rigor, no plan. Really!
- “I love the poetic gait, by leaps and gambols”
- “I lose myself, more by permit than by inattention”
- “My ideas follow each other, but sometimes from far away”
- “Wisdom has its excesses, and has no less need of moderation than folly”
So : breathe! Life is short! Your blog is not perfect, it’s bricolage and brain odd jobs. Who cares? Share! If Montaigne can do it, you can do it!
Is this casualness French? Nope : wisdom & folly, there are everywhere, little soul, right?
Thanks for reading!