Saturday, April 23, 2011


Michel de Montaigne (1533-92) is considered the Father of Modern Skepticism. Today, through the usual delightful interwebby way, i came across these quotes on wiki. Surprising, or not, how many i've heard paraphrased throughout my life.

I enter into discussion and argument with great freedom and ease, inasmuch as opinion finds me in a bad soil to penetrate and take deep root in. No propositions astonish me, no belief offends me, whatever contrast it offers to my own. There is no fancy so frivolous and so extravagant that it does not seem to me quite suitable to the production of the human mind.

Obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness.

Everyone calls barbarity what he is not accustomed to.

If you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved.

When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?

Life in itself is neither good nor evil, it is the place of good and evil, according to what you make it.

The continuous work of our life is to build death.

To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it.

Our religion is made to eradicate vices, instead it encourages them, covers them, and nurtures them.

Man cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen.

Human understanding is marvellously enlightened by daily conversation with men, for we are, otherwise, compressed and heaped up in ourselves, and have our sight limited to the length of our own noses.

Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.

No matter that we may mount on stilts, we still must walk on our own legs. And on the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.

No man is a hero to his own valet.

I believe it to be true that dreams are the true interpreters of our inclinations; but there is art required to sort and understand them.

Whether the events in our life are good or bad greatly depends on the way we perceive them.

The only thing certain is nothing is certain.

Montaigne's axiom: "Nothing is so firmly believed as that which least is known."

Also caught in the web:

First paragraph:

RELIGION is ubiquitous but it is not universal. That is a conundrum for people trying to explain it. Religious types, noting the ubiquity (though not everyone is religious, all human societies have religions), argue that this proves religion is a real reflection of the underlying nature of things. Sceptics wonder why, if that is the case, it comes in such a variety of flavours, from the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church to the cargo cults of Papua New Guinea—each of which seems to find the explanations offered by the others anathema.

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