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. (Florio) +++Here is what I experience every day: if I am warmly sheltered in a nice room during a stormy and tempestuous night, I…

hovering

+++ … God, the maker of the whole world, prohibited the eating of the tree of knowledge, as if knowledge was poisonous to happiness.  […] Perhaps I shouldn’t omit the argument that folly seems to be pleasing to the higher powers because it is accepted as an excuse for errors, whereas the knowing man receives no pardon. […] Even more cogent is the example of Christ on the cross when he prayed for his enemies: “Father, forgive them”–he made no other excuse for them than their ignorance–“for they know not what they do.” In the same vein, Paul writing to…

[invisible bullets]

+++ But let me go back to a topic on which I barely started: what force do you suppose brought into civil concord those primitive men, savage as their native rocks and forests–what force if not mutual flattery? The lyres of Amphion and Orpheus can signify nothing else. What impulse recalled the Roman plebeians, on the brink of mutiny, to their civic allegiance? Was it a philosophic discourse? Scarcely. Rather, it was a ridiculous and puerile fable about the belly making its apology to the other members of the body. Hardly any better was the tale told by Themistocles about…

trembling

+++ The career of Socrates shows clearly how little philosophers are worth in the common business of life. Though he was called wise by the oracle of Apollo–and that wasn’t the wisest of his judgments–he tried only once to bring up a matter of public business, and then he was hooted out of the assembly. In fact, he wasn’t altogether silly, for he declined the epithet of “wise,” saying it belonged only to a god; and he also said a sensible man should keep clear of public business. But he would have done better to warn anyone aspiring to be…