This would doubtless suffice, if Reason were reasonable. She is reasonable
enough to admit that she has been unable to find anything durable, but she
does not yet despair of reaching it; she is as ardent as ever in this
search, and is confident she has within her the necessary powers for this
conquest. We must therefore conclude, and, after having examined her powers
in their effects, observe them in themselves, and see if she has a nature
and a grasp capable of laying hold of the truth.
74. A letter On the Foolishness of Human Knowledge and Philosophy.
This letter before Diversion.
Felix qui potuit... Nihil admirari.
280 kinds of sovereign good in Montaigne.
75. Part I, 1, 2, c. 1, section 4.
Probability.--It will not be difficult to put the case a stage lower, and
make it appear ridiculous. To begin at the very beginning. What is more
absurd than to say that lifeless bodies have passions, fears, hatreds--that
insensible bodies, lifeless and incapable of life, have passions which
presuppose at least a sensitive soul to feel them, nay more, that the object
of their dread is the void? What is there in the void that could make them
afraid? Nothing is more shallow and ridiculous. This is not all; it is said
that they have in themselves a source of movement to shun the void. Have
they arms, legs, muscles, nerves?
76. To write against those who made too profound a study of science:
77. I cannot forgive Descartes. In all his philosophy he would have been
quite willing to dispense with God. But he had to make Him give a fillip to
set the world in motion; beyond this, he has no further need of God.
78. Descartes useless and uncertain.
79. Descartes.--We must say summarily: "This is made by figure and motion,"
for it is true. But to say what these are, and to compose the machine, is
ridiculous. For it is useless, uncertain, an