The Bum's Dime

I was reading Montaigne's Of Cannibals today, and I began to ask myself a question: Are we better off in our modern society, or have we been corrupted by it? This question has always bugged me because my gut reaction it to say that society is harmful to people. What struck me in Montaignes's writing is how he questions whether the people of his time and place are any better than those that they call savages. He seems to answer no, that it is relative and no one is better. These ideas come from people being biased towards their own practices and an imfamiliarity with other cultures. It does seem though  that Montaigne praises those that live by 'natural law'. I find this very interesting beacuse I have a similar view, that people in modern society have a complicated life, and there is something appealing about a less complicated and more natural way of living. It seems many of the problems society faces today are a product of society in general and If society could be eliminated, then these problems would vanish. It is however impractical and impossible to do away with society, so how then does one who feels something is wrong with society to operate in that society? I can not say because I find myself constantly asking the question over and over again, many times coming to different conclusions. It does not seem practical or wise to severe all ties with society, and it seems painful to ignore the fact that something seems 'wrong'. I have developed and appreciation for philosophy partly because it has given me the chance to explore these sentiments and to expand my mind beyond what I am told by society.


Sun, 11 Oct 2009 08:39:23

I believe Montaigne shares your appreciation for philosophy, and that it, along with charity or mercy are features of civilized society that are 'higher' than those of the natives or 'natural originals'. When it comes to cruelty or the martial virtues, however, the natives are no worse or even better than 'civilized' men, and perhaps not as presumptuous...


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    August 2009



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