Michel de Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

Michel de
Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

French Renaissance Writer, Moralist, Essayist, Father of Modern Skepticism

Author Quotes

Wise men have more to learn of fools than fools of wise men.

Why do you need knowledge of things, if we lose peace of mind and tranquility because of it?

Virtue refuses facility for her companion ... the easy, gentle, and sloping path that guides the footsteps of a good natural disposition is not the path of true virtue. It demands a rough and thorny road.

True it is that she who escapeth safe and unpolluted from out the school of freedom, giveth more confidence of herself than she who cometh sound out of the school of severity and restraint.

Traveling through the world produces a marvelous clarity in the judgment of men. We are all of us confined and enclosed within ourselves, and see no farther than the end of our nose. This great world is a mirror where we must see ourselves in order to know ourselves. There are so many different tempers, so many different points of view, judgments, opinions, laws and customs to teach us to judge wisely on our own, and to teach our judgment to recognize its imperfection and natural weakness.

To judge the appearances we receive of things, we should need a judicatory instrument; to verify this instrument, we should need a demonstration; to rectify this demonstration, we should need an instrument: so here we are arguing in a circle. Seeing the senses cannot decide our dispute, being themselves full of uncertainty, we must have recourse to Reason; there is no reason but must be built upon another reason, so here we are retreating backwards to all eternity.

The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself.

The birth of all things is weak and tender; and therefore we should have our eyes intent on beginnings.

Stubborn and ardent clinging to one's opinion is the best proof of stupidity.

Presumption is our natural and original malady. When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me.

Nobody distributes all money to other, but each of us distributes our time and life. And it doesn’t exist anything that we don’t distribute more wastefully and in this case stinginess could be more useful and more laudable.

Love to his soul gave eyes; he knew things were not as they seem. The dream is his real life; the world around him is the dream.

Life herself isn’t a receptacle of good or bad things. The life is a receptacle of good or bad things and it depends on what we make with our life.

Let the tutor not merely require a verbal account of what the boy has been taught but the meaning and the substance of it: let him judge how the child has profited from it not from the evidence of his memory but from that of his life. Let him take what the boy has just learned and make him show him dozens of different aspects of it and then apply it to just as many different subjects, in order to find out whether he has really grasped it and make it part of himself, judging the boy's progress by what Plato taught about education. Spewing up food exactly as you have swallowed it is evidence of a failure to digest and assimilate it; the stomach has not done its job if, during concoction, it fails to change the substance and the form of what it is given.

Laws are maintained in credit, not because they are essentially just, but because they are laws. It is the mystical foundation of their authority; they have none other.

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.

Ignorance is the softest pillow on which a man can rest his head.

If you have known how to compose your life, you have accomplished a great deal more than the man who knows how to compose a book. Have you been able to make your stride? You have done more than man who has taken cities and empires.

If falsehood, like truth, had but one face, we would be more on equal terms. For we would consider the contrary of what the liar said to be certain. But the opposite of truth has a hundred thousand faces and an infinite field.

I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.

Every man has within himself the entire human condition.

Even from their infancy we frame them to the sports of love: their instruction, behavior, attire, grace, learning and all their words azimuth only at love, respects only affection. Their nurses and their keepers imprint no other thing in them.

As plants are suffocated and drowned with too much moisture, and lamps with too much oil, so is the active part of the understanding with too much study.

A learned person is not learned in everything; but the capable person is capable in everything, even in what he is ignorant of.

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.

Author Picture
First Name
Michel de
Last Name
Montaigne, fully Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne
Birth Date
Death Date

French Renaissance Writer, Moralist, Essayist, Father of Modern Skepticism