of favorable comments on my domain. Randy Elrod, who blogs at the visually spectacular and always entrancing Ethos, has been about in my lands. His report is reassuring that, even in my absence, all is well with my peaks.
Randy is one of those folks who, given time and circumstance, could be Etienne de La Boetie to Joe Carter’s Montaigne, or vice-versa.
I hope both men will be at GodBlogCon at Biola University in October 13 through 15. If you haven’t made your reservation yet, please get the calender out and mark the date. It will be a very different gathering of bloggers. Register here. I look forward to seeing you there.
Update: A bit of background is here, though Montaigne does not show up until late in the chapter, and La Boetie gets just a passing reference. I spent a year trying to figure out the first book of The Essays under the guidance of a very fine teacher, John Gibbons.
Gibbons was a student of Harvey Mansfield’s, and he kept pointing me to the fact that the essay “Of Friendship” was #28 of a total of 57 in the first book, that “Of vain subtleties” was #54 of a total of 107 essays over three books, and many other very intriguing things. Gibbons was/is a genius. I am far from one. But Montaigne did not need genius. From essay 26 of the first book:
“The soul in which philosophy dwells should by its health make even the body healthy. It should make its tranquillity and gladness shine out from within; should form in its own mold the outward demeanor, and consequently arm it with a graceful pride, an active and joyous bearing, and a contented and good-natured countenance. The surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness; her state is like that of things above the moon, ever serene.”
“The surest sign of wisdom is constant cheerfulness…” You don’t need genius to understand that observation.
If you have not read “Of Friendship,” get Donald Frame’s translation just for that essay.