Montaigne’s Lesson about Life

“We are great fools,” Montaigne declared, in Of Experience. “I have done nothing today,” the fool says. “What! Have you not lived?” The living of life is a sufficient task. “Have you known how to . . . manage your life?” If so, then you have done great work. “Have you known how to compose your manners”?, how to treat others, especially those closest to you? “You have done a great deal more than he who has composed books. Have you known how to take repose? You have done more than he who has taken cities and empires.”

To be happy one has to accept oneself. To accept oneself one has to accept the present and the past, not struggle, trying to overcome, to surpass, to change or make up for limitations or mistakes, to somehow alter the past or the present by living the anticipated future differently. One simply has to accept the past and present, which in so doing will guarantee the acceptance of the future.

“The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to know how to live to purpose,” to live properly and appropriately, both for yourself and others.

About theamericanplutarch

Writer, thinker, historian.
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