May 5


Don’t take life so seriously: Montaigne’s lessons on the inner life

By Peter Julian

Montaigne lived from 1533-1592 in France. Montaigne lived a good, happy and long life for a man of that time in France. Montaigne believed that it was important to have a wife, children, goods and health, but it was also important to not become dependent on them to be happy. Montaigne believed in having a way for people to protect themselves if they lost those things. He called this a back shop for protection and thought we could find companionship within ourselves. The internal dialogue that we have with ourselves can be powerful.

Key Takeaways:

  • Montaigne was well aware that the promise of getting away from it all was a fool’s errand since, wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
  • Montaigne’s mental chatter had a buoyancy to it, as he bounced from one subject to the next, going with the current.
  • Not taking life quite so seriously – the pursuit of happiness notwithstanding – might then be Montaigne’s key to dying well.

“Sarah Bakewell acknowledges the temptation to read Montaigne as an advocate for a type of isolation”

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