Great Thinkers

The great thinkers throughout history have turned their skills to the simple problems of everyday living. Here are some examples:

Michel de Montaigne (circa 1580 AD)
  • Montaigne despairs of making sense of himself. He writes, “All contradictions may be found in me — bashful, insolent; chaste, lascivious; talkative, taciturn; tough, delicate; clever, stupid; surly, affable; lying, truthful; learned, ignorant; liberal, miserly and prodigal: all this I see in myself to some extent according to how I turn. — I have nothing to say about myself absolutely, simply and solidly, without confusion and without mixture, or in one word.”
  • “There is nothing so beautiful and legitimate as to play the man well and duly; nor any science so arduous as to know how to live this life of ours well and naturally. And of our maladies the most wild and barbarous is to despise our being. … For my part, I love life and cultivate it.”
Lucius Seneca (circa 50 AD)
  • “Associate with people who are likely to improve you. Welcome those whom you are capable of improving. The process is a mutual one: men learn as they teach.” [Letter VII]
  • “What really ruins our characters is the fact that none of us looks back over his life. We think about what we are going to do, and only rarely of that, and fail to think about what we have done, yet any plans for the future are dependent on the past.” [Letter LXXXIII] {Sense of time and place in it.}
  • “What≠s the use, after all, of mastering a horse and controlling him with the reins at full gallop if you are carried away yourself by totally unbridled emotions? What≠s the use of overcoming opponent after opponent in the wrestling or boxing rings if you can be overcome by your temper?” [Letter LXXXIII]

Comments are closed.