Reading Montaigne

I’ve been reading Montaigne. So long as you skip straight past all the chunks of Latin he inserts, I think because he fears his own thoughts are not sufficiently authoritative, there are some glorious moments. Here is his central statement: “The world always looks outwards. I turn my gaze inward. There I fix it, and there keep it busy. Everyone looks before him; I look within. I have no business but with myself, I unceasingly consider, examine and analyse myself. Others, if they will but see, are always going elsewhere; they are always going forward. But I revolve within myself.”

And later: “Authors communicate with the world in some special and peculiar capacity; I am the first to do so with my whole being, as Michel de Montaigne, not as a grammarian, a poet, or a lawyer. If people complain that I speak too much of myself, I complain that they do not think of themselves at all.”

There’s a mission: to communicate with the world with one’s whole being.