Saturday, August 22, 2015


Philosophers find it hard to leave the world because they try to maintain control.  So much for "To philosophize is to learn how to die."  Philosophy looked more like a way of teaching people to unlearn the natural skills that every peasant had by birthright.
     On this occasion, despite his willingness to float away, Montaigne did not die.  He recovered - and from then on, lived a bit differently.  From his essay on death, he took a decidedly unphilosophical lesson, which he summed up in the following casual way:

          If you don't know how to die, don't worry;  Nature
          will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and
          adequately.  She will do this job perfectly for you;
          don't bother your head about it.

"Don't worry about death" became his most fundamental, most liberating answer to the question of how to live.  It made it possible to do just that:  live.

-Sarah Bakewell,  How To Live - OR - A Life Of Montaigne

No comments:

Post a Comment