February 27, 2007



"In debates and discussions we should not immediately be impressed by what we take to be a man's own bon mots. Most men are rich with other men's abilities. It may well be that such-and-such a man makes a fine remark, a good reply or a pithy saying, advancing it without realizing its power. (That we do not grasp everything we borrow can doubtless be proved from my own case.) We should nto always give way, no matter what beauty or truth it may have. We should either seriously attack it or else, under pretence of not understanding it, retreat a little so as to probe it thoroughly and to discover how it is lodged in its author. We may be helping his sword-thrust to carry beyond his reach, running on to it ourselves. There have been times when, pressed by necessity in the duel of words, I have made conter-attacks which struck home more than I ever hoped or expected. I was countering their number: they were accepted for their weight."

Michel de Montaigne, On Friendship

Posted by Sasha at February 27, 2007 01:39 PM | TrackBack