Amazon Book Giveaway
115 more posts in this thread. [Missing image file: ]
DFW thread! Just kidding, we got enough of those already. So I got a whole bunch of Amazon gift cards recently, and I feel generous so I'm gonna share them with you. Post books you want from Amazon itt and if I like the book I'll buy it, strip the DRM and share it with you guys.
I'm open to all subjects, but keep your choices under $15. Post a book description, picture, why you want the book, anything to convince me to buy that book for you.
I'll be checking in regularly but I'll give you guys until tomorrow or the day after to post. If the thread dies and I haven't delivered, I'll make a new thread with the same pic.
/lit/ should read Montaigne, an introduction provided by Anon
30 more posts in this thread. [Missing image file: ]
We generally think that philosophers should be proud of their big brains, and be fans of thinking, self-reflection and rational analysis. But there is one philosopher, born in France in 1533, who had a refreshingly different take.
Michel de Montaigne was an intellectual who spent his writing life knocking the arrogance of intellectuals.
In his great masterpiece "Essais", he comes across as relentlessly modern, wise and intelligent but also as constantly modest and keen to debunk the pretensions of learning. Not least, he's extremely funny, reminding his readers to learn that we have said or done a stupid thing is nothing, we must learn a more ample and important lesson, that we are but blockheads, or as he put it, "...on the highest throne in the world, we are seated still upon our asses."
Montaigne was a child of the Renaissance, and the ancient philosophers that was popular in Montaigne's day believed that our powers of reason could afford us a happiness and greatness denied to other creatures. Reason was a sophisticated, almost divine tool offering us mastery over the world all to ourselves. That was the line taken by philosophers like Cicero.
But this characterization of human reason enraged Montaigne. After hanging out with academics and philosophers he wrote "In practice, thousands of little women in their villages have lived more gentle, more equable and more constant lives than [Cicero]". His point wasn't that human beings cannot reason at all, but simply that they tend to be far more arrogant about the limits of their brains. As he wrote "our life consists partly in madness, partly in wisdom", "whoever writes about it merely respectfully and by rule leaves more than half of it behind".
Perhaps the most obvious example of our madness is the struggle of living within the human body. Our bodies smell, ache, sag, throb, pulse and age, whatever the desires of our minds. Montaigne was the world's first and possibly only philosopher to talk at length about impotence, which seemed to him a prime example of how crazy and fragile our minds are. Montaigne had a friend who had grown impotent with a woman he particularly liked. Montaigne didn't blame the penis, the problem was the mind, the oppressive notion that we had complete control over our bodies, and the horror of departing from this theoretical normality. The solution, Montaigne said, was to redraw our sense of what's normal by accepting a loss of command over the penis as a harmless, common possibility in sex. One could preempt its occurrence, as the stricken man discovered. In bed with a woman, he learned to admit beforehand that he was subject to this infirmity, and spoke openly about it, so relieving the intentions within his soul. By bearing the malady as something to be expected, his sense of constriction grew less, and weighed less heavily upon him.