The Philosophy of Michel de Montaigne

Montaigne was a unique philosopher. He thought that Plato was boring and wrote at length about humans reconciling their inherent god-like arrogance with animal bodies that defecate, age, and die.

The Philosophy of Michel de Montaigne
Philosopher in Meditation by Rembrandt

Montaigne was a unique philosopher. He thought that Plato was boring and wrote at length about humans reconciling their inherent god-like arrogance with animal bodies that defecate, age, and die.

“His point wasn’t that human beings can’t reason at all, simply that they tend to be far too arrogant about their brains. ‘Our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom,’ he wrote. ‘Whoever writes about it merely respectfully and by rule leaves more than half of it behind.”

“Perhaps the most obvious example of our madness is the struggle of living with a human body. Our bodies smell, ache, sag, pulse, throb, and age.” This is why we are all (somewhat) insane. We are living in animal bodies that age and die.

"We can be comforted in our failings by knowing that many others have failed before us and many more will fail after."

“If man were wise, he would gauge the true worth of anything by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life.” Nothing is worth doing or knowing unless it makes your life better.


Quotes are from Great Thinkers by Alain de Botton.