Montaigne Michel De. That To Philosophize Is To Learn To Die In The Complete Essays Essay Hotel Rwanda Genocide

Nietzsche claimed that the very existence of Montaigne’s Essays added to the joy of living in this world.More recently, Sarah Bakewell’s charming engagement with Montaigne, How to Live or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (2010) made the best-sellers’ lists.Philosophy, in this classical view, involves a retraining of our ways of thinking, seeing and being in the world.Montaigne’s earlier essay “To philosophise is to learn how to die” is perhaps the clearest exemplar of his indebtedness to this ancient idea of philosophy.When Michel de Montaigne retired to his family estate in 1572, aged 38, he tells us that he wanted to write his famous Essays as a distraction for his idle mind.He neither wanted nor expected people beyond his circle of friends to be too interested.

As for the seeming disorder of the product, and Montaigne’s frequent claims that he is playing the fool, this is arguably one more feature of the Essays that reflects his Socratic irony.Indeed, everything about our passions and, above all, our imagination, speaks against achieving that perfect tranquillity the classical thinkers saw as the highest philosophical goal.We discharge our hopes and fears, very often, on the wrong objects, Montaigne notes, in an observation that anticipates the thinking of Freud and modern psychology.Their wisdom, he suggests, was chiefly evident in the lives they led (neither wrote a thing).In particular, it was proven by the nobility each showed in facing their deaths.Always, these emotions dwell on things we cannot presently change.Sometimes, they inhibit our ability to see and deal in a supple way with the changing demands of life.Certainly, for Montaigne, as for ancient thinkers led by his favourites, Plutarch and the Roman Stoic Seneca, philosophy was not solely about constructing theoretical systems, writing books and articles.It was what one more recent admirer of Montaigne has called “a way of life”.If Rancière is right, it could be said that Montaigne’s 107 Essays, each between several hundred words and (in one case) several hundred pages, came close to inventing modernism in the late 16th century.Montaigne frequently apologises for writing so much about himself.

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