Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne
(French:Michel de Montaigne, surname and translationMontagne; February 28, 1533 - September 13, 1592) was the most iconic philosopher of France during the Northern Renaissance.Essay Collection (Essais)Three volumes are named after generations. "Essays" occupies an important position in the history of Western literature. The author has a new path, and does not evade humility and talks about himself. The book begins to say: "The material of my book is without him, that is, my people." (je suis moi-même la Matière de mon livre.)

On friendship (excerpt)

Humans love to communicate more than any other activity, which may be instinctively given to us. Aristotle once said that the best judges see friendship as more important than justice. Friendship is diverse and usually established and maintained by desires, interests, public or private needs. Therefore, the more it is mixed with other motives, purposes and interests, the more difficult it is to have good and sincere things, the less friendship there is.


From ancient times to today, there are four kinds of friendships: blood, social, etiquette and love between men and women. Whether it is alone or in combination is not a perfect friendship to be discussed here.


Why do you say that there is no friendship between father and son, because the child is mostly respectful to his father. Friendship needs to be exchanged. There is a big gap between father and son. It is difficult to have such exchanges, and it may also hurt the natural obligations between father and son. The father should not reveal all the inner secrets to his son, so that the father and the son have an inappropriate relationship. At the same time, the son can not blame and point out the father's mistakes. This is the most important duty of friendship.


Comparing the love and friendship of men and women, although the former comes from our free choice, it is not among the friendship. Although the flame of love is more active, hotter, and more brave, it is a rash, swaying flame. It is hot and cold, changeable, and we are in tension. However, in friendship, it is a kind of ordinary warmth. It is smooth and quiet and lasting; it is gentle and peaceful, and it does not make people feel hurt and uncomfortable. But in love, we have a madness that we are eager to pursue things that we can't get.

It is like a hunter chasing a hare, whether it is cold or hot, or wearing a mountain, even if it is captured, it no longer cares, but escapes but is not reconciled. - Ariosto


If love enters the stage of friendship, that is, enters the stage of appreciation, it will slowly fade away and then disappear. Love is aimed at the pleasure of the body. Once it is satisfied, it will cease to exist; but the more people are yearning for friendship, the more they will be enjoyed. After the friendship is acquired, it will further grow, be strong and develop, because it is spiritual, and the soul will be sublimated.


As for marriage, it is a trade. Only the population is free, its continuation is compulsive, depends on something other than our will, and such transactions usually involve other motives and purposes. In addition, it is necessary to solve a myriad of complicated and difficult complexes, which are enough to break the relationship between husband and wife and disturb the relationship. However, friendship does not involve any other transaction except itself.


The friends and friendships we usually call are the frequent interactions and intimacy that are connected by the opportunities of the mind.

After the execution of Tiberius Glacus, the Roman consuls continued to persecute some of the people he met, and his best friend, Caius Brosius, was one of them. In the face of the Roman consul, Lelymus asked what Brosius was willing to do for his friends. The answer from Brosius was everything.

Rileymas added: "What? Everything? If he wants you to burn our temple?"

Brosius retorted: "He will never ask me to do this kind of thing."

"But he insisted on this request?" Rileymas then asked.

Brosius replied: "Then I will do it."


According to the history book, if Brosius is a true friend of Glakus, he does not need to use the last bold answer to attack the consul, nor should he give up his trust in the Glakus personality. But those who condemn his words for inflammatoryness do not understand the secrets of them, nor do they know what Brothius holds. In fact, they have a deep relationship. Because of their deep friendship, they trust each other and admire each other. Let morality and reason guide this trust, and you will find that Brosius should answer this way. If their actions and ideas are inconsistent, then they are no longer friends.


Don't compare ordinary friendships with the friendships mentioned here. If you confuse the two, it will be very easy to make mistakes. For the general friendship, people are moving forward with care, and the ropes must be carefully guarded so that there is no possible break. "Love him, you must think that one day you will hate him; when you hate him, you have to think that you may love him again." Chiron said. This rule is extremely disgusting for a noble friendship, but it is very necessary and beneficial for ordinary friendship. For the latter we must use the words that Aristotle often said: "Oh, my friends, no one in the world is a friend."


Grace and interest breed ordinary friendship, but in the supreme friendship, we can't find it, because our will is completely blended. When necessary, we will get help from our friends, but no matter how the Stoic faction claims, our friendship has not been deepened. We will not be thankful for what we have done. The combination of friends is the perfect meaning in the true sense. Friends have no sense of obligation, and the words that they hate to cause differences and disputes, such as interests, obligations, gratitude, prayers, etc., have disappeared from their horizons. In fact, everything in between, including will, thought, opinion, property, wife, children, honor and life, is shared. They act in unison, according to Aristotle's definition, they are a soul occupying two bodies, so they can't give or get anything between them, which is why legislators have some kind of marriage to this sacred friendship. Imaginative similarity, and prohibiting the husband and wife from giving each other gifts. From this we can infer that everything should belong to both husband and wife, and nothing can be separated from each other.


Ordinary friendships can be shared. You can appreciate the beauty of this person, the romanticity and wisdom of that person; you can also like the compassionate heart of this person, the brotherly friendship of that person, and so on. However, the supreme friendship leads and controls our soul and cannot be shared with others. If two friends ask you for help at the same time, who would you help? If the two ask you to do the opposite thing, who will you listen to? If one wants you to keep his secrets while the other wants to know, how will you deal with this and get out of trouble? A unique and noble friendship will relieve all duties and waive all obligations. The secret you vow to keep, except you, you will never violate the vow to tell the secret to another person.


It’s amazing to be able to split a person into two. Those who want to divide themselves into three are really ignorant, and the things that are unique in the world will not be the same.


For the wise man, nothing can be attributed to a good friend. - Horace


The ancients Minand believes that it is blissful to just meet the shadow of a friend.

Excerpted from "Appreciation of Montaigne Essays"