Sunday, July 5, 2015

Montaigne quote

"In order always to be learning something by communication with others (which is one of the finest schools there can be), I observe in my travels this practice: I always steer those I talk with back to the subjects they know best....For most often the opposite happens: each man chooses to hold forth on another man's occupation rather than his own, thinking that this is so much new reputation acquired....Thus we must always throw the architect, the painter, the shoemaker and the rest each back to his quarry. And apropos of this, in the reading of history, which is everybody's business, I make it a habit to consider who are the authors. If they are people who have no other profession than letters, I learn mainly their style and language; if they are doctors, I believe them most readily in what they tell us about the temperature of the air, the health and constitution of princes and and wounds and maladies; if they are lawyers, we must take what they say on controversies over rights, the laws, the establishment of governments, and things like that; if theologians, Church affairs, ecclesiastical censures, dispensations, and marriages; if courtiers, manners and ceremonies; if men of war, what belongs to their business, and principally the accounts of the great actions at which they were present in person; if ambassadors, negotiations, understandings, and diplomatic practices, and the way to conduct them." -Michel de Montaigne (The Complete Essays of Montaigne)