Citations de Michel de Montaigne

Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, 1533-1592

Quotations from Montaigne's Essays
selected and translated by Anthony Weir
with glosses and comments.

Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne
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'Retain a healthy contempt for your fellow-men, and especially for those who urge you to do so.'

« Méfiez-vous de tout le monde et en particulier de ceux qui conseillent de vous méfier. »


These words are not by Montaigne, but by his inspirational bosom friend and soul-mate Etienne de la Boétie.  Some people think that la Boétie's seminal work,  THE ANTI-DICTATOR, might well have been written by Montaigne.  Its revolutionary message can be summarised thus:  


The great mystery of politics is the obedience given to rulers.
Why do people agree to be looted, exploited, forced to bear arms, and in many other ways allow themselves to be oppressed by tyrants, governments and petty overlords ? 

Not because of fear -  for our consent is required. And that consent can be non-violently withdrawn.


All following quotations
are by Michel de Montaigne himself. 





  1. The great mystery of politics still remains. One has only to consider the case of Silvio Berlusconi.

  2. Relevant to this very basic question is Erich Fromm's brilliant book THE FEAR OF FREEDOM,

    likewise Chögyam Trungpa's THE MYTH OF FREEDOM.