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Socrates declared himself to be a citizen of the world, not merely Athens, and we should tell ourselves (and others if you choose to be vocal) the same.
“Because,” said he, “I could think of no other remedy against thy perpetual mischiefs.” But the public and universal testimonies that were given of him after his death (and so will be to all posterity, both of him and all other wicked princes like him), of his tyrannies and abominable deportment, who, of a sound judgment, can reprove them?
I am scandalized, that in so sacred a government as that of the Lacedaemonians there should be mixed so hypocritical a ceremony at the interment of their kings; where all their confederates and neighbors, and all sorts and degrees of men and women, as well as their slaves, cut and slashed their foreheads in token of sorrow, repeating in their cries and lamentations that that king (let him have been as wicked as the devil) was the best that ever they had; by this means attributing to his quality the praise that only belongs to merit, and that of right is due to supreme desert, though lodged in the lowest and most inferior subject.
In his study, surrounded by a thousand books and space to pace, Montaigne had a ceiling covered in inscriptions of essential wisdom.
Some of which are below, amongst other sayings of Montaigne.
Teach yourself and develop the skills that really matter in life: how to live well, deal with death, end a relationship, and confront anxieties (among so many others).
Work on your humility and modesty, and accept your intellectual limitations.It is the work of a fifty year old man , returning from a long trip over Europe (read the great book of the world) and, anxious to check if he lived well, engages in a kind of self-analysis: self-analysis conducted at random, not to “prove” but for “the pleasure of understanding”, and which gradually reveals the contradictions of his own nature.What added soon feel equally profound contradictions of moral precepts that have been taught by his teachers or his reading, the customs of every country he visited.If you do this, you have no reason to feel intellectually inadequate.After all, outward symbols of intelligence are often incredibly different to reality.The French Renaissance essayist Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) argues that it may be prudent not to criticise a “faulty prince” while he is alive but once he has died we owe it to ourselves and to posterity to expose their crimes and wickedness: Amongst those laws that relate to the dead, I look upon that to be very sound by which the actions of princes are to be examined after their decease.They are equals with, if not masters of the laws, and, therefore, what justice could not inflict upon their persons, ’tis but reason should be executed upon their reputations and the estates of their successors—things that we often value above life itself.What conclusions should be draw from these essays ?Montaigne learned to paint himself, and through him, the human condition.Amongst those laws that relate to the dead, I look upon that to be very sound by which the actions of princes are to be examined after their decease.And such as, out of respect to some private obligation, unjustly espouse and vindicate the memory of a faulty prince, do private right at the expense of public justice.