Many titles seem to have no direct relation to their contents.Nearly everything our author says in one place is qualified, if not overturned, elsewhere.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.
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With an almost Socratic irony, he tells us most about his own habits of writing in the essays titled “Of Presumption”, “Of Giving the Lie”, “Of Vanity”, and “Of Repentance”.
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”.