The trick is to maintain a kind of naïve amazement at each instant of experience but, as Montaigne learned, one of the best techniques for doing this is to write about everything. Simply describing an object on your table, or the view from your window, opens your eyes to how marvelous such ordinary things are. To look inside yourself is to open up an even more fantastical realm.
I have thus played the sedulous ape to Hazlitt, to Lamb, to Wordsworth, to SirThomas Browne, to Defoe, to Hawthorne, to Montaigne, to Baudelaire and to Obermann.Robert Louis Stevenson
Montaigne [puts] not self-satisfied understanding but a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.maurice merleau-ponty
The most offensive egotist is he that fears to say "I" and "me." "It will probably rain " that is dogmatic. "I think it will rain" that is natural and modest. Montaigne is the most delightful of essayists because so great is his humility that he does not think it important that we see not Montaigne. He so forgets himself that he employs no artifice to make us forget him.ambrose bierce
Why, Sir, when I have anything to invent, I never trouble my head about it, as other men do; but presently turn over this Book, and there I have, at one view, all that Perseus , Montaigne , Seneca 's Tragedies , Horace , Juvenal , Claudian, Pliny , Plutarch 's lives , and the rest, have ever thought upon this subject: and so, in a trice, by leaving out a few words, or putting in others of my own, the business is done.villiers, george, 2nd duke of buckingham
Dilettanten haben nicht einmal in einer sekundären Kunst etwas Bleibendes geleistet, sich aber verdient gemacht um die höchste aller Wissenschaften, die Philosophie. Den Beweis dafür liefern: Montaigne, La Rochefoucauld, Vauvenargues.marie von ebner-eschenbach
The manner in which Epictetus, Montaigne , and Salomon de Tultie wrote, is the most usual, the most suggestive, the most remembered, and the oftener quoted; because it is entirely composed of thoughts born from the common talk of life.epictetus
From now on, Montaigne would live for himself rather than for duty.
Finding his mind so filled with “chimeras and fantastic monsters, one after another, without order or purpose,” he [Montaigne] decided to write them down, not directly to overcome them, but to inspect their strangeness at his leisure. So he picked up his pen; the first of the Essays was born.
The philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty called Montaigne a writer who put “a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.”
The hedonistic approach to education did make a difference to him [Montaigne]. Having been guided early in life by his own curiosity alone, he grew up to be an independent-minded adult, following his own path in everything rather than deferring to duty and discipline.
The manner in which Epictetus, Montaigne , and Salomon de Tultie wrote, is the most usual, the most suggestive, the most remembered, and the oftener quoted; because it is entirely composed of thoughts born from the common talk of life.
I have thus played the sedulous ape to Hazlitt, to Lamb, to Wordsworth, to Sir Thomas Browne, to Defoe, to Hawthorne, to Montaigne, to Baudelaire and to Obermann. (…) That, like it or not, is the way to learn to write whether I have profited or not, that is the way.Robert Louis Stevenson