On treatment: "I hate remedies that are more troublesome than the disease itself." On the most preferable ailments: here the essayist writes of the advantages of stone: that is, the agony always ends, the disease does not portend death or worse, the sufferer spends more time feeling well than hurting, and it has political advantages for allowing a show of stoicism. As a study in fine style, clear and lively, none is better than Montaigne's essays.
Although he is concerned with all things, his final, and in the opinion of many, finest of essays, is heavily laced with allusions to disease and doctors.
My defects are therein to be read to the life, and any imperfections are my natural form, so far as public reverence hath permitted me. Michel de Montaigne If the world find fault that I speak too much of myself, I find fault that they do not so much as think of themselves.
If I had lived among those nations, which (they say) yet dwell under the sweet liberty of nature’s primitive laws, I assure thee I would most willingly have painted myself quite fully and quite naked. Richard Steele there [is] no Rule in the World to be made for writing letters, but that of being as near what you speak Face to Face as you can.
“Friendship,” he says, “is enjoyed...proportionally as it is desired; and only grows up, is nourished and improved by enjoyment, as being itself spiritual, and the soul growing still more refined by practice.” Friendship is transcendent: of family relationships, social duties, and customs.
Loyalty to one’s friend should cause one to defy all norms, says Montaigne.Such is the case with the selections here, “Of Friendship” and “That To Study Philosophy Is To Learn How To Die.” Rather than a systematic “argument,” we encounter a dialogue, a discussion.In the spirit of essayer, we can attempt to answer this first question: what are these essays doing together in this Mouse book? Montaigne posits friendship as possibly the highest human good, a spiritual endeavor.For the modern medical reader, this essay reminds us of the status of medicine as "profession" in the late 16th century and relates a patient experience with kidney (or? He helps us to appreciate that it is possible to "live through" and emerge even healthier from certain pathologic events without professional intervention.Michel de Montaigne is regarded as the father of the essay.Montaigne suggests two ways to counter the sting of death: on one hand, one must pursue pleasure rooted in virtue; in doing so, on another hand, one must remain mindful of the presence of death, so as to diminish fear. It is the spiritual practice by which we cope with death, otherwise known as the felt sense of impermanence at the core of life’s goodness.In pursuing divulgence and sharing, we remove the sting of our aloneness in death.We tend to define the essay as a deductive genre: I have my point to make, and I will take these prescribed, recognizable steps to convince you of my point.This is how students are taught to write, and it is a formula as old as Aristotle, a formula rooted in oratory.In Montaigne's final essay he expounds upon the results of his long search for self knowledge via life experience.He uses disease, health, medicine and doctors as prime arenas for demonstration of what he has learned from living.