When I was reading Montaigne’s “Of Practice,” it reminded me of how sometimes I write only to myself and not for others. I had kept an online diary once (and a paper diary as well), in which the sole purpose was to write personal things for only myself. If someone happened to stumble across it, (usually it would be my mother) and held me responsible or punished me for it, I would wonder why since it didn’t cause any harm to others except myself. Montaigne says in “Of Practice,” “It is a thorny undertaking, and more so than it seems, to follow a movement so wandering as that of our mind…” His style seems to be indicating that he himself is prone to wandering and thereby taking the reader along for the ride.
I like how Montaigne is so honest about his non-conformity! In “Of the Custom of Wearing Clothes,” he describes there being a “barrier of custom” when it comes to clothing; is it a cultural phenomenon or an atmospheric one? Which makes me wonder, how would you look at someone who was wearing a tank top and shorts during a blizzard? Montaigne compares us to the rest of nature as being “naturally equipped” to have the proper covering just as nature intended.
I loved the part when he alludes to the fact that we are all the same underneath our clothes by saying, “Between my way of dressing and that of a peasant of my region I find far more distance than there is between his way and that of a man dressed only in his skin.” This reminded me of high school and how it is like a miniature society where everyone judges everyone based on their clothing. Also, the gaps between the rich and the poor based on clothing becomes more apparent when the latter does not care about his appearance as much as the former. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Montaigne’s work and I hope to read more.