• 72. That Difficulty Increases Desire

    Si qua volet regnare diu, contemnat amantem. If any mistress wants to go on reigning over her lover, then let her scorn him. (Ovid) It’s good to see Montaigne back to writing about something other than death. I was going to say that it’s good to see him off religious topics, but this is an…

  • 71. How Our Mind Tangles Itself Up

    If Albert Camus is correct and our lives are nothing but the sum of all our choices, what if the thing we call reason is nothing but an after-the-fact rationalization? What if our choices are made before we’re consciously aware of them? For example, this 2008 study by the Max Planck Institute found that brain…

  • 70. On Judging Someone Else’s Death

    I’ve finally reached a point where I have to set a boundary with Montaigne. In this essay, he once again takes on the matter of suicide, and I’ve had enough. The way Montaigne addresses the subject lacks compassion. He views it purely through the privileged lens of people facing illness or who have lived long,…

  • 69. An Apology for Raymond Sebond

    I will start this somewhat lengthy take of an extremely long Montaigne essay by explaining who Raymond Sebond is. I’m going to steal this directly from the Wikipedia page: Raymond of Sabunde (born Ramon Sibiuda; also known as Sabiende, Sabond, Sabonde, Sebon, Sebond, Sebonde, or Sebeyde; c. 1385[1] – 29 April 1436) was a Catalan…

  • 68. On Cruelty

    This is really more of an essay about virtue than it is about cruelty, although we’ll get around to that subject a bit later in the essay. I wanted to start out, though, by noting an interesting synchronicity I came across this week between Montaigne and something by Carl Jung that I read: Virtue rejects…

  • 67. On Books

    I may be a man of fairly wide reading, but I retain nothing. I feel much the same about Montaigne. Going through these essays feels extremely familiar to me, but I barely remember the details Montaigne wrote, never mind what I did. Last time I touched on this subject, I went on a long digression…