The Good Life Montaigne Analysis

Decent Essays

The “good life” is one of stability and the failure to be affected by forces and circumstances beyond the control of the individual. This has been clearly stated beginning with Socrates, stating how each life should be lived with self-purpose: no outside influences. The artificial “goods” represent that of wealth, status, and political power, whereas what an individual should cherish is their own personal beliefs and convictions. All items that society has taught a person to hold and respect create more damage and disruption than they benefit as they can easily be taken from oneself. A fortune can be lost, the President will run out of terms, but the moral holding of each person is something that cannot be lost or stripped by a force outside …show more content…

Thus, stating that a human has desire not only to attain a flourishing life, but also to appreciate what surrounds them daily. He believes that every person has the craving for knowledge, but that each can only learn a limited amount about Nature and how it operates. Montaigne later says, “In her [Nature] promises and threats there is great uncertainty, variability and obscurity,” (Montaigne 1243). Knowledge is so limited to each individual because Nature is constantly changing; changing what it has to offer at any given time. It is not right or fair to live a life in which no material items are cherished or respected. It is necessary to acknowledge that objects such as wealth, power, and social status allow for a more comfortable life. However, like Boethius, Montaigne also accepts that these material possessions are only temporary and will not be with the one forever. That is why they need to be recognized while such Fortunes exist, but one should not allow oneself to become attached or dependent upon such items. He contradicts Plato’s platform stating, “I hate being told to have our minds above the clouds while our bodies are at the dinner-table,” (Montaigne 1257-1258). Plato, like Socrates, believes in only focusing on what cannot be taken from an individual. Montaigne is beginning to break free of the mold previously set by other philosophers and does not accept their way of thinking. Although he does believe that societies “goods” should not take over one’s life it is crucial to accept them to live the “good life.” Montaigne believes that all things in life were placed by Nature gives all that is needed. Therefore, to ignore temporary material possessions is nothing more than to break Nature’s laws. (Montaigne

Get Access