I am rereading my favourite book at present, “The Consolations of Philosophy” by Alain De Botton. I first read it about ten years ago and found it to be really enlightening and still do, every time I pick it up. The chapters are:
II. Not Having Enough Money
V. A Broken Heart
Each chapter has gems of wisdom but the one that struck me this week was in Chapter IV. The philosopher is Michel de Montaigne and the year is around 1500. Montaigne spends a good part of his life in his library studying philosophy, history, poetry and religion. Montaigne believed that friendship was an essential component of happiness however he only ever has one close friend who died only four years after they met. I am leading up to the point that spoke to me….
Montaigne becomes a writer, and as De Botton says “He became himself on the page as he had been himself in the company of his friend…He was aware of the paradox of expressing his deepest self to strangers in bookshops”. Montaigne wrote,
“Many things that I would not care to tell any individual man I tell to the public, and for knowledge of my most secret thoughts, I refer my most loyal friends to book sellers’ stall”. (page 148).
A very good read 🙂