Essay on Montaigne – of Cannibals

785 Words 4 Pages
Acceptance and understanding into a persons society is one of the major goals that people strive to achieve. There is a natural tendency for the individual to be compelled to join the majority. Many times, however, a person will change themselves to fit into the group instead of having the group change itself for the person. This forces a person to take action, form opinions or adopt customs that do not reflect their own beliefs. Montaigne addresses the differences between two distinctly different forms of society in his essay Of Cannibals. Montaigne’s comparison between the recently discovered aborigines of the new world and his European society compels a person to reconsider what an ideal society should be. Should a natural state be the …show more content…
Fighting in battle measures a mans worth. Montaigne is impressed by their perception and concepts of war. War has no purpose other than displaying ones courage. There is no bloodshed, or brutality. “If their neighbors cross the mountains to attack them and win a victory, the gain of the victor is glory, and the advantage of having proved the master in valor and virtue; for apart from this they have no use for the goods of the vanquished, and they return to their own country...” (pg. 156). Warfare, from the views of a complex society, is a tool to gain possessions or achieve revenge. The purpose of battle has been diluted and twisted by the complex beliefs of a less in touch society.
Much of what Montaigne argues is against complex societies. He creates the argument of nature verses custom. Nature and its purity are displayed by the inhabitants of the wild countries that are discovered during his time. By being separated from the exploring nations they have developed without any influence from them. Montaigne speaks very negatively towards his own society. Granted there are a great many vices, but there are also many great virtues as well. With higher understanding and thought, comes an increase in advancement. Better medicine, food, services, and life styles. Everyday can be different in a more complex society as well. Many forms of opportunities are opened to the individual. The difficult part is finding your own appropriate place in society. Being content while serving

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