if I am outside myself (II)

From Montaigne’s On Practice: 

Lo here what I daily prove. Let me be under a roofe, in a good chamber, warme-clad, and well at ease, in some tempestuous and stormy night. I am exceedingly perplexed and much grieved for such as are abroad and have no shelter: But let me be in the storme my selfe, I doe not so much as desire to be else-where: Only to be continually pent up in a chamber seemed intolerable to me. 



Here is what I experience every day: if I am warmly sheltered in a nice room during a stormy and tempestuous night, I am appalled and distressed for those who are then in the open country; if I am myself outside, I do not even wish to be anywhere else.



Here is an everyday experience of mine: if I am sheltered and warm in a pleasant room during a night of storm and tempest, I am dumbstruck for those then caught out in the open; yet when I am outer myself I never even want to be anywhere else.



Voicy que j’espreuve tous les jours: suis-je a couvert chaudement dans une bonne sale, pendant qu’il se passe une nuict orageuse et tempes­teuse, je m’estonne et m’afflige pour ceux qui sont lors en la campaigne; y suis-je moymesme, je ne desire pas seulement d’estre ailleurs.


From Erasmus’s Praise of Folly: 

First then, you should consider that Plato had some premonition of this idea when he wrote that “the madness of lovers is the height of felicity.” For one who loves passionately no longer lives in himself but in the object of his love, so that the farther he departs from himself and the closer he comes to the love-object, the more joyful he is. Now when the soul prepares to leave the body and no longer exercises perfect command over its organs, that state you would call madness, and rightly so. Otherwise, what would be the sense of the common expressions, ‘he is beside himself,’ ‘he has come to,’ and ‘he is himself again’? Moreover, the more profound the love, the greater is the madness, and the happier. What then is that future life in heaven for which pious minds yearn so ardently? At that point the spirit, stronger and at last victorious, will absorb the body, and this it will do more easily in part because now it will be in its own kingdom, and in part because in its former life it had been purging and refining the body in preparation for this transformation. Now the spirit will be mingled with the highest mind of all, which is far greater than its infinitude of parts, so that the whole man will be outside himself, and will be utterly happy at being outside himself, and will receive unspeakable bliss from that highest good which attracts everything to itself.



And therefore suppose that Plato dreamed of somewhat like it when he called the madness of lovers the most happy condition of all others. For he that’s violently in love lives not in his own body but in the thing he loves; and by how much the farther he runs from himself into another, by so much the greater is his pleasure. And then, when the mind strives to rove from its body and does not rightly use its own organs, without doubt you may say ’tis downright madness and not be mistaken, or otherwise what’s the meaning of those common sayings, “He does not dwell at home,” “Come to yourself,” “He’s his own man again”? Besides, the more perfect and true his love is, the more pleasant is his madness. And therefore, what is that life hereafter, after which these holy minds so pantingly breathe, like to be? To wit, the spirit shall swallow up the body, as conqueror and more durable; and this it shall do with the greater ease because heretofore, in its lifetime, it had cleansed and thinned it into such another nothing as itself. And then the spirit again shall be wonderfully swallowed up by the highest mind, as being more powerful than infinite parts; so that the whole man is to be out of himself nor to be otherwise happy in any respect, but that being stripped of himself, he shall participate of somewhat ineffable from that chiefest good that draws all things into itself.


Fyrst therfore ye must thinke, that Plato didde euin than dreame of suche a thyng, whan he wrote, that the passion and extreme rage of feruent louers was to be desired and embrased, as a thing aboue all o|thers most blisfull: because that a vehement louer liueth not now in hym selfe, but rather in that that he loueth, so that the further & further a louers hert is distraught from him selfe, to dwell with the beloued, the more and more he reioyseth. And whan the minde seketh to wander from the body, nor occupieth the powers of the same in the due vse, who will call this otherwyse than plaine madnesse? For els why dooe you vse commenly this phrase of speche? he is out of him selfe, and retourne man to thy selfe, and he is come againe to him selfe. It foloweth therfore, how muche more perfect, and the depelier su|che loue is impressed, that so muche the greatter, and the blisfuller is the rage also. Whiche so beyng that soul{is} yet pinned within these bodily fold{is} maie smacke a little of suche a felicitee, consider ye than what a life the sainct{is} soules leade in heauen? whervnto the mindes of godly persons dooe with suche feruencie aspyre? Seeyng there the sprite as vanquissher, and farre more puissaunt, shall wholy drawe vp, and conuert the body into hir owne nature