Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Michel de Montaigne: from Chapter XXVIII

This quotation is from Chapter 28: "All Things Have Their Season." One aspect of Montaigne's writings is that he generally states clearly and straightforwardly his thinking on various topics. This makes it relatively easy, therefore, to decide whether or not I agree with him. In this case, however, I have to disagree with him.

". . . The young man should make his preparations, the old man employ them, say the sages. And the greatest defect that they observe in our nature is that our desires constantly renew their youth. We are forever beginning anew to live. Our study and our desire ought some time to give evidence of old age. We have one foot in the grave, and our appetites and our pursuits are newly born.

The longest of my plans is not of a year's extent; henceforth I think of nothing but coming to an end; I rid myself of all new hopes and undertakings, take my last farewell of all the places I leave, and dispossess myself every day of what I have."

I suppose that attitude has meaning for Montaigne. And, he, and those who agree with him, should be free to live out their last years as they wish. However, it's not for me. If I agreed with him, I certainly wouldn't have purchased a new pickup, my first, when I retired at sixty-five, and spent almost a month driving from Arizona to Alaska and then back. And, I certainly wouldn't have begun this blog when I was a few months shy of seventy.

I have no idea of what comes after death, except that it is the end of my existence on this planet. Consequently I see little reason to spend any time contemplating what will come in its own time and in its own way. There is much to enjoy here and enjoying them seems to me to be a much better idea.

And you?


  1. For the same reasons that I like Montaigne, I like this your post - it's autobiographical aspects. It's always nice to visualize who you read. At least that's my prejudice.

  2. Interpolations,

    I agree. I like Montaigne for the autobiographical material and also for the way he thinks and expresses his thinking, even though I may not completely agree with him all of the time.