“Of Experience” by Michel de Montaigne


 
 
 
from “Of Experience”
 
 
 
Michel de Montaigne
 
 
 
 
 
There is no desire more natural than that of knowledge. We try all ways that can lead us to it; where reason is wanting, we therein employ experience,

                  “Per varios usus artem experientia fecit,
                        Exemplo monstrante viam,”

         [“By various trials experience created art, example shewing the
         way.” – Manilius, i. 59.]

which is a means much more weak and cheap; but truth is so great a thing that we ought not to disdain any mediation that will guide us to it. Reason has so many forms that we know not to which to take; experience has no fewer; the consequence we would draw from the comparison of events is unsure, by reason they are always unlike. There is no quality so universal in this image of things as diversity and variety.
 
 
       [Trans. by Charles Cotton; The last sentence in the portion I’ve quoted here, is powerful and so necessary for the world – of any day, really – but certainly these troubled times.]
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
***
 
 
 

~ by samofthetenthousandthings on July 12, 2020.

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