— Michel de Montaigne

Sure looks that way to me, and yet we all go on and on about ourselves. Self-improvement. Self esteem. As if the self were crucial. “I,” I say, “I, I, I, I.” As if “I” were were the center of the universe. As if “I” were a constant.

And here I’ll beg your indulgence and print one of my own quotations. My file runs 300 pages, and only three or four of the passages are my own. They’re probably only there because I know the author.

But this one is pertinent to what Montaigne had to say: “I feel quite strongly that the pain of life grows out of the concept of a fixed personality and the tendency to then set the rest of experience around that identity like the planets around Ptolmey’s earth.”