Sunday, December 22, 2013

On Cannibals

Today I’m really not feeling it. So, I am going to talk about something completely random. In my AP Euro class we learned about a French man named Michel de Montaigne. He was a contributor to the French Renaissance and he created something very infamous that I’m sure that you’ve heard of. Montaigne created the essay.  Those things that you had to write by the thousands in school? He created them. So you can just go ahead and thank him for that.  But that’s not what I mainly want to talk about. 

Montaigne's most famous essay was called On Cannibals. Basically, his idea was to give Europe perspective. In it, he wrote about how he visited some tribes in Central/South America. One of these tribes just so happened to eat their defeated enemies. Naturally, as one might expect, Europe saw this practice as savage and horrible, just like most people today probably would. 

However, in his essay, Montaigne explained that he had spoken to some of these natives. In their conversations, the natives informed Montaigne that they viewed some concepts of everyday life among Europeans as wrong. One of the examples he gave was that the natives found it strange and wrong that some men were given more privileges and wealth than others. Montaigne took this view into account, pointing out that what one person may view as correct, another may view it as incorrect. 

The point is, you may criticize someone else’s way of doing things, but at the same time your way of life may also be wrong in the eyes of another. 

Perspective. Just something to think about. 

-- Rudolph


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