Friday, March 25, 2011
Tweeting with Montaigne and Qohelet
So, here's what I said....
It was a bit of a rush this morning….but I updated my facebook status: doing assembly at Eltham College……made sure my blog was prominently promoting my new book……and tweeted where I was going…off to Eltham College. (actually I tweeted from the college reception as I was a bit early). I am just so new, up-to-date and original! Just like the lovely Stephen Fry here, tweeter extraordinaire. But actually, you know, we’re not so modern….
Meet Michel de Montaigne. Last month he celebrated his 478 birthday – He’s not looking bad for his age is he? In 1572 he began writing essays – like many of you will have to do today! But unlike the philosophers who came before him, they were all about himself. They were status updates; accounts of what he’d been doing that day, what he was thinking about and maybe some useful tips for others about how to live.
But even Montaigne was not original. Not really…2000 years before him another philosopher put down his status updates on how he was trying to make sense of life. We don’t know his name but he was known as ‘the teacher’ and his thoughts are recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes that you can find somewhere in the middle of the Hebrew Bible, what we often call the Old Testament.