March 1, 2013

“Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept.”

Wrote Michel de Montaigne, whose 480th birthday was yesterday.

Also: "The world is nothing but chatter."

19 comments:

ricpic said...

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

campy said...

Is that the new motto of the NY Times?

Peter said...

Is that why French is the traditional language of diplomacy?

Mitchell the Bat said...

"Yeah, but whattaya gonna do?"

-- Homer Simpson

ricpic said...

I wonder whether Montaigne had anything to say about a government that is deliberately trying to destroy its nation? I doubt he could even imagine such villainy. So maybe there is something new under the sun.

chickelit said...

Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept

That one sounds perfectly dreadful on its face. It implies that there is some higher truth--known perhaps to priests or some dirigiste--and the little people are fated with ignorance. What I don't like about it is that it discourages the truly curious. Niels Bohr for example might have scoffed at Montaigne.

Shouting Thomas said...

The Wit and Wisdom of Homer Simpson.

Samples:

Volunteering is for suckers. Did you know that volunteers don't even get paid for the stuff they do?

If the Bible has taught us anything—which it hasn't—it's that girls should stick to girl's sports like hot oil wrestling, foxy boxing and such and such.

Countersnark said...

Now trust to your philosophy; boast that you have found the bean in the cake, when you consider the clatter of so many philosophical brains!

Caedmon said...

Montaigne is frequently called the first blogger.

St. George said...

Wasn't he the guy who said, "The beakless penguin chews no ice?"

edutcher said...

"If you tell a lie often enough, you can get anybody to believe anything"

- Josef Goebbels, PhD

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

That man's many aphorisms are a true world treasure.

Robert Cook said...

Here's a good one from him:

“What a stupid nation we are. We are not content with letting the world know of our vices and follies by repute, we go to foreign nations in order to show them to them by our presence!”

Robert Cook said...

"Truth for us nowadays is not what is, but what others can be brought to accept."

"That one sounds perfectly dreadful on its face. It implies that there is some higher truth--known perhaps to priests or some dirigiste--and the little people are fated with ignorance. What I don't like about it is that it discourages the truly curious. Niels Bohr for example might have scoffed at Montaigne."

Not at all; you're reading it with blinders on. He's saying that people can be brought to believe lies even where facts are in evidence. He's saying that "truth" is whatever persuasive frauds can convince others to believe is the truth, rather than what is plainly evident to the contrary.

The truth of this axiom is proved everyday.

Oh, and there are not very many "truly curious" people in the world at any given time.

chickelit said...

The truth of this axiom is proved everyday.

Benghazi, Benjamin

chickelit said...

Oh, and there are not very many "truly curious" people in the world at any given time.

So you're saying the aphorism doesn't apply to the truly curious--they don't matter because their numbers are so few?

Chip Ahoy said...

The reality is those aphorisms could all fit easily on one page and yet we were made to click through, if we were sufficiently curious, but it seems after two or three of those it becomes more clear our curiosity is easily satisfied that they're only interesting because they're so obvious and so old.

Robert Cook said...

"So you're saying the aphorism doesn't apply to the truly curious--they don't matter because their numbers are so few?"

Oy vey!

chickelit said...

No reason to get derisive, Robert Cook. A simple yes no would have sufficed.