The agreeable eye

an eudæmonistarchives

Montaigne 1.26

Cutting Weather, a Cruikshank illustration from Vanity Fair
Vanity & Vexation

And besides, I do not compete wholesale with those old champions, and body to body; I do so by repetitions, by frequent and light attacks. I do not stubbornly grapple with them, but only try their strength, and if I try to keep pace with them, I do so hesitatingly. If I could hold my own with them I should be somebody, for I only attack their steepest points.

—Montaigne (Essays,
‘On the Education of Boys’)

The problem that has confounded him is nothing more nor less than repetition. He is right not to look for clarification of this problem either in Greek or modern philosophy. The Greeks make the opposite movement. A Greek would choose to recollect without being troubled by his conscience. Modern philosophy makes no movement. In general, it merely makes a commotion. To the extent that it makes a movement, it is always within the sphere of immanence. Repetition, on the other hand, is transcendence. It is good that he does not seek clarification from me, because I have abandoned my theory, the one I have been propounding. Repetition is too transcendent for me. I can circumnavigate myself, but I cannot get beyond myself.

—Kierkegaard (Repetition, p. 50)


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