Montaigne’s “Experiments” in Brief Content

Montaigne’s “Experiments” in Brief Content

The first book is preceded by an appeal to the reader, where Montaigne declares that he did not seek fame and did not seek to bring benefits – this is primarily a “sincere book”, but it is intended for relatives and friends, so that they can revive his image and character when he comes the time of separation is already very close.

Book I
Chapter 1. In different ways, one can achieve the same

Amazingly vain, truly unstable and eternally wavering creature – man

The heart of a ruler can be mitigated by obedience. But examples are known when the directly opposite qualities – courage and hardness – led to the same result. So, Edward, Prince of Wales, capturing Limoges, remained deaf to the pleas of women and children, but spared

the city, admiring the courage of the three French nobles. Emperor Conrad III forgave the defeated Duke of Bavaria, when the noble ladies carried their own husbands out of the besieged fortress on their shoulders. About himself, Montaigne says that both ways could influence him, but by nature he is so inclined to charity that he would rather be disgraced by pity, although the Stoics consider this feeling worthy of condemnation.

Chapter 14. That our perception of the good and evil depends to a large extent on the idea that we have about them

Anyone who is suffering for a long time, is to blame for this

Suffering is generated by the mind. People regard death and poverty as their worst enemies; Meanwhile, there are many examples where death was the highest good and the only refuge. More than once it happened that a man kept the greatest presence of the spirit in the face of death and, like Socrates, drank for the health of his friends. When Louis XI captured Arras, many were hanged for refusing to shout “Long live the king!”. Even such low souls as jesters do not give up the joke before execution. And if it comes to beliefs, they are often defended at the cost of living, and each religion has its own martyrs – so, during the Greco-Turkish wars, many chose to die a painful death, if only not

to undergo a baptismal ceremony. Death is afraid of reason, for it is separated from life only by a moment. It is easy to see, that the power of the action of the mind exacerbates suffering – the incision of the surgeon’s razor is felt stronger than the blow with the sword, received in the heat of battle. And women are ready to endure incredible agony, if they are confident that this will benefit their beauty – everyone has heard of a Parisian person who ordered her skin to be torn from the face in the hope that the new one will find a more fresh look. The notion of things is a great power. Alexander the Great and Caesar aspired to dangers with much greater zeal than others – to safety and peace. Not need, and abundance engenders greed in people. In the validity of this statement Montaigne was convinced on his own experience. He lived about the age of twenty, having only casual means – but he was spending money cheerfully and carefree. Then he began to save, and he began to save the surplus, having lost the peace of mind in return. Fortunately, a kind genius knocked all this nonsense out of his head, and he completely forgot about the skopidomstvo – and now lives in a pleasant, orderly manner, commensurating his income with expenses. Anyone can do the same, for everyone lives well or badly depending on what he thinks about it, and nothing can help a person if he does not have the courage to endure death and endure life.

Book II
Chapter 12. The Apology of Raymund Sabundsky

The saliva of a lousy mongrel, splashing the hand of Socrates, can ruin his whole wisdom, all his great and profound ideas, destroy them to the ground without leaving a trace of his former knowledge

A man ascribes to himself a great power and thinks himself to be the center of the universe. So a stupid gosling could reason, believing that the sun and the stars shine only for him, and people were born to serve him and take care of him. By vanity of imagination a person equals himself with God, while he lives among dust and impurities. At any moment it is trapped by death, which he can not fight. This miserable creature is not able to control even itself, but it wants to rule the universe. God is utterly incomprehensible to that grain of reason that a man has. Moreover, the understanding is not given to embrace the real world, for everything in it is impermanent and changeable. And according to the ability to perceive a man yields even to animals: some surpass him with sight, others with hearing, others with smell. Perhaps, in general, a person is deprived of several senses, but he does not suspect this in his ignorance. In addition, the abilities depend on bodily changes: for a sick person, the taste of wine is not the same as for a healthy one, and the stiff fingers differently perceive the hardness of the tree. Sensations are largely determined by change and mood – in anger or in joy, the same feeling can manifest itself in different ways. Finally, estimates change with the course of time: what yesterday seemed to be true is now considered false, and vice versa. Most Montenegro has repeatedly been supported by the opposite opinion, and he found such convincing arguments that he refused the previous judgment. In his own writings, he sometimes can not find the original meaning, guesses about what he wanted to say, and makes amendments, which, perhaps, spoil and distort the idea. So the mind either stumbles on the spot, or wanders and rushes,

Chapter 17. About doubt

Everyone peers at what is before him; I peer at myself

People create an exaggerated notion of their own merits – at the heart of it lies a reckless love of self. Of course, one should not belittle himself, for the verdict must be just, Montaigne notes the tendency to minimize the true value of his own, and, on the contrary, to exaggerate the value of everything else. He is attracted by the state structure and customs of distant nations. Latin, with all its virtues, inspires him more respect than she deserves. Successfully coping with some work, he attributes it to luck rather than his own skill. Therefore, among the antecedents of the man, he most readily accepts the most implacable, considering that the purpose of philosophy is to expose human conceit and conceit. He believes himself to be a mediocre person, and the only difference from him is that, that he clearly sees all his shortcomings and does not come up with justifications for them. Montaigne envies those who are able to rejoice in the work of their hands, for his own writings cause him only vexation. The French language is rough and careless, and Latin, which he once mastered perfectly, lost its former brilliance. Any story becomes dry and dull under his pen – there is no skill in it to amuse or to urge the imagination. Equally, his own appearance does not satisfy him, and yet beauty is a great force that helps in communication between people. Aristotle writes that Indians and Ethiopians, choosing kings, always paid attention to growth and beauty – and they were absolutely right, for the tall, mighty leader inspires reverence to the subjects, and frightens the enemies. Not satisfied with Montaigne and his spiritual qualities, reproaching themselves primarily for laziness and heaviness. Even those features of his character that can not be called bad, in this age are completely useless: compliance and complaisance will be called weakness and cowardice, honesty and conscience will be considered an absurd scruple and prejudice. However, there are some advantages in a spoiled time when, without much effort, it is possible to become an embodiment of virtue: whoever did not kill his father or rob the churches, he is already a decent and honest person. Next to the ancients, Montaigne seems to be a pygmy, but in comparison with the people of his age he is ready to recognize the qualities unusual and rare, for he would never give up his convictions for success and harbor a fierce hatred for the newfangled virtue of pretense. In dealing with the powers that be he prefers to be boring and immodest, rather than a flatterer and pretender, because he does not have the flexible mind to wag at the directly asked question, and his memory is too weak to hold the distorted truth – in a word, it can be called courage from weakness. He knows how to defend certain views, but he is completely incapable of choosing them, because there are always many arguments in favor of any opinion. And yet he does not like to change his opinions, because in the opposite judgments he finds the same weak spots. And he values ​​himself for something that others will never admit, since no one wants to be seen as stupid, his judgments about himself are ordinary and old as the world. Everyone expects praise for quickness and quickness of mind, but Montaigne prefers to be praised for the severity of opinions and mores. to keep the distorted truth – in a word, it can be called courage from weakness. He knows how to defend certain views, but he is completely incapable of choosing them, because there are always many arguments in favor of any opinion. And yet he does not like to change his opinions, because in the opposite judgments he finds the same weak spots. And he values ​​himself for something that others will never admit, since no one wants to be seen as stupid, his judgments about himself are ordinary and old as the world. Everyone expects praise for quickness and quickness of mind, but Montaigne prefers to be praised for the severity of opinions and mores. to keep the distorted truth – in a word, it can be called courage from weakness. He knows how to defend certain views, but he is completely incapable of choosing them, because there are always many arguments in favor of any opinion. And yet he does not like to change his opinions, because in the opposite judgments he finds the same weak spots. And he values ​​himself for something that others will never admit, since no one wants to be seen as stupid, his judgments about himself are ordinary and old as the world. Everyone expects praise for quickness and quickness of mind, but Montaigne prefers to be praised for the severity of opinions and mores. And yet he does not like to change his opinions, because in the opposite judgments he finds the same weak spots. And he values ​​himself for something that others will never admit, since no one wants to be seen as stupid, his judgments about himself are ordinary and old as the world. Everyone expects praise for quickness and quickness of mind, but Montaigne prefers to be praised for the severity of opinions and mores. And yet he does not like to change his opinions, because in the opposite judgments he finds the same weak spots. And he values ​​himself for something that others will never admit, since no one wants to be seen as stupid, his judgments about himself are ordinary and old as the world. Everyone expects praise for quickness and quickness of mind, but Montaigne prefers to be praised for the severity of opinions and mores.

Book III
Chapter 13. About Experience

There is nothing more beautiful and worthy of approval than to properly fulfill your human purpose

There is no more natural desire than a thirst for knowledge. And when the ability to think is lacking, a person turns to experience. But the variety and variability of things are endless. For example, there are more laws in France than in the rest of the world, but it only led to the fact that the possibilities for arbitrariness were infinitely expanded – it would be better not to have laws at all, than such their abundance. And even the French language, so convenient in all other cases of life, becomes dark and unintelligible in treaties or wills. In general, from a multitude of interpretations, the truth is, as it were, fragmented and scattered. The most wise laws are established by nature, and it should be trusted in the simplest way – in fact, there is nothing better than ignorance and unwillingness to know. It is better to understand yourself better than Cicero. In Caesar’s life there are not so many instructive examples, as in our own. Apollo, the god of knowledge and light, inscribed on the pediment of his temple the call “Know thyself” – and this is the most comprehensive advice that he could give to people. Studying himself, Montaigne learned to understand quite well other people, and his friends were often amazed that he understands their life circumstances much better than they themselves. But there are few people who can listen to the truth about themselves, without being offended or offended. Montaigne was sometimes asked what kind of activity he felt fit, and he sincerely replied that he was not fit for anything. And even rejoiced at this, because he could not do anything that could turn him into a slave of another person. However, Montaigne would be able to tell his master the truth about himself and depict his temper, in every way refuting the flatterers. For the rulers endlessly spoils the bastard surrounding them, even Alexander, the great sovereign and thinker, was completely defenseless before flattery. Similarly, Montaigne’s experience is extremely useful for the health of his corporal body, as he appears in a clean, not spoiled by medical tricks. Tiberius quite rightly argued that after twenty years everyone should understand what is harmful to him and what is useful and, consequently, do without doctors. The patient should adhere to the usual way of life and his usual food – sharp changes are always painful. It is necessary to reckon with their desires and inclinations, otherwise one will have to be treated with the help of another. If you drink only spring water, if you deprive yourself of traffic, air, light, then is life worth such a price? People tend to think that only unpleasant things are useful, and all, which is not painful, it seems to them suspicious. But the body itself makes the right decision. In his youth, Montaigne loved spicy seasonings and sauces, when they began to damage the stomach, immediately fell out of love with them. Experience teaches that people ruin themselves with impatience, meanwhile diseases have a strictly defined destiny, and they too have a certain time. Montaigne fully agrees with Crantor that neither foolishly resist the disease, nor slackly succumb to it, – let it follow the natural course, depending on its properties and human. And the mind will always come to the rescue: thus, to Montaigne, he inspires that the stones in the kidneys are just a tribute to old age, for all the bodies have already come to weaken and deteriorate. In fact, the punishment that befalls Montaigne is very mild – this is truly a paternal punishment. She came late and tormented at that age, which in itself is barren. There is another advantage in this disease – there is nothing to guess about, while other ailments are troubling with anxiety and excitement because of unclear reasons. Let the large stone tear and tear the tissues of the kidneys, let life flow out as little as possible with blood and urine, as unnecessary and even harmful impurities – while you can experience something like a pleasant feeling. Do not be afraid of suffering, otherwise you will have to suffer from the very fear. At the thought of death, the main consolation is that this phenomenon is natural and just, who dares to claim mercy in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison. while other ailments are troubling with anxiety and excitement because of the ambiguity of the reasons. Let the large stone tear and tear the tissues of the kidneys, let life flow out as little as possible with blood and urine, as unnecessary and even harmful impurities – while you can experience something like a pleasant feeling. Do not be afraid of suffering, otherwise you will have to suffer from the very fear. At the thought of death, the main consolation is that this phenomenon is natural and just, who dares to claim mercy in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison. while other ailments are troubling with anxiety and excitement because of the ambiguity of the reasons. Let the large stone tear and tear the tissues of the kidneys, let life flow out as little as possible with blood and urine, as unnecessary and even harmful impurities – while you can experience something like a pleasant feeling. Do not be afraid of suffering, otherwise you will have to suffer from the very fear. At the thought of death, the main consolation is that this phenomenon is natural and just, who dares to claim mercy in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison. let little by little flow with blood and urine life, as unnecessary and even harmful impurities – while you can experience something like a pleasant feeling. Do not be afraid of suffering, otherwise you will have to suffer from the very fear. At the thought of death, the main consolation is that this phenomenon is natural and just, who dares to claim mercy in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison. let little by little flow with blood and urine life, as unnecessary and even harmful impurities – while you can experience something like a pleasant feeling. Do not be afraid of suffering, otherwise you will have to suffer from the very fear. At the thought of death, the main consolation is that this phenomenon is natural and just, who dares to claim mercy in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison. – who dares to claim mercy for himself in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison. – who dares to claim mercy for himself in this respect? In everything, one should take an example from Socrates, who knew how to tolerate hunger, poverty, disobedience of children, the spiteful nature of his wife, and finally took libel, oppression, dungeon, chains and poison.


Montaigne’s “Experiments” in Brief Content