Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was a French philosopher who lived during the French Renaissance in the 16th century. He is counted
among the most
important philosophers of that era that witnessed far reaching
developments in the field of philosophy. Montaigne was born in a wealthy
family and was educated privately, before attending some of the premier
educational institutions in France. He became a member of the legal
system in Toulouse and eventually a nobleman for Charles IX, . He is
however, known for his considerable work as a philosopher during the
French Renaissance. At the same time it is also worthwhile pointing out
that when he was alive, he was more famous as a formidable statesman
than as a philosopher. Montaigne is particularly well-known for having
taken the humble essay to a different level and turning it into a
legitimate literary genre, many of which were autobiographical or
anecdotal in nature. Some of his better known theories and contributions
include ‘Renaissance humanism’, ‘Renaissance skepticism’ and
‘Montaigne’s wheel argument’. Montaigne was a man of rare intellect and
talent who left behind a vast work on philosophy, education, wisdom,
politics, life and much more. His works highlight his thoughts on these
subjects. We have excerpted his thoughts and quotes from his work. Here
is a collection of thoughts, sayings and quotations by Michel de
Montaigne on friendship, philosophy, essays, books, education, fear,
wisdom love and death.
The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.
On the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.
The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself.
I quote others only in order the better to express myself.
When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.
He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
If I speak of myself in different ways, that is because I look at myself in different ways.
Learned we may be with another man's learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own.
If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.
Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.
There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.
I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding. We grasp at everything, but catch nothing except wind.
Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, and yet he will be making gods by dozens.
Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.
To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it.
Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.
I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
Obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness.
If there is such a thing as a good marriage, it is because it resembles friendship rather than love.
Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.
My art and profession is to live.
I speak the truth, not so much as I would, but as much as I dare; and I dare a little more as I grow older.
Off I go, rummaging about in books for sayings which please me.
Confidence in others' honesty is no light testimony of one's own integrity.
The greater part of the world's troubles are due to questions of grammar.
The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.
I do not believe, from what I have been told about this people, that there is anything barbarous or savage about them, except that we all call barbarous anything that is contrary to our own habits.
[Marriage] happens as with cages: the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out.
Every man has within himself the entire human condition
There were many terrible things in my life and most of them never happened.
Que s�ais-je?" (What do I know?)
There is no knowledge so hard to acquire as the knowledge of how to live this life well and naturally.
Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head
He who establishes his argument by noise and command, shows that his reason is weak.
I know that the arms of friendship are long enough to reach from the one end of the world to the other
Every movement reveals us.
No-one is exempt from speaking nonsense – the only misfortune is to do it solemnly.
I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself.
No wind favors he who has no destined port.
Why do people respect the package rather than the man?
If ordinary people complain that I speak too much of myself, I complain that they do not even think of themselves.
Saying is one thing and doing is another
I listen with attention to the judgment of all men; but so far as I can remember, I have followed none but my own.
There is as much difference between us and ourselves as there is between us and others.
No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.
It is a disaster that wisdom forbids you to be satisfied with yourself and always sends you away dissatisfied and fearful, whereas stubbornness and foolhardiness fill their hosts with joy and assurance.
We trouble our life by thoughts about death, and our death by thoughts about life.
Not being able to govern events, I govern myself
I enjoy books as misers enjoy treasures, because I know I can enjoy them whenever I please.
Other people do not see you at all, but guess at you by uncertain conjectures.
Valor is strength, not of legs and arms, but of heart and soul; it consists not in the worth of our horse or our weapons, but in our own.
Judgement can do without knowledge: but not knowledge without judgement.
The thing I fear most is fear.
Life itself is neither a good nor an evil: life is where good or evil find a place, depending on how you make it for them.
To distract myself from tiresome thoughts, I have only to resort to books; they easily draw my mind to themselves and away from other things.
I had rather fashion my mind than furnish it.
When I express my opinions it is so as to reveal the measure of my sight not the measure of the thing.
Don't discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved.
Let every foot have its own shoe.
There are no truths, only moments of claryty passing for answers.
One must be a little foolish if one does not want to be even more stupid.
The finest souls are those that have the most variety and suppleness.
Pride and curiosity are the two scourges of our souls. The latter prompts us to poke our noses into everything, and the former forbids us to leave anything unresolved and undecided.
Excellent memories are often coupled with feeble judgments.
The great and glorious masterpiece of man is to live with purpose.
Every other knowledge is harmful to him who does not have knowledge of goodness.
Kings and philosophers defecate, and so do ladies.
The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold. The same reason that makes us wrangle with a neighbor creates a war betwixt princes.
There is no more expensive thing than a free gift.
A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.
Man (in good earnest) is a marvellous vain, fickle, and unstable subject, and on whom it is very hard to form any certain and uniform judgment.
Experience has further taught me this, that we ruin ourselves by impatience.