THAT MEN BY VARIOUS MEANS ARRIVE AT THE SAME ENDS

This is the title of the first essay Michel de Montaigne presents in his popular book of essays. He starts the essay by recounting histories of individuals who have taken paths other than what was expected, but got the results they intended. An example he gives in the opening sentences is of people being angry and unrepentant when they were expected to be apologetic, and this stubbornness helping them to be forgiven.

I think Montaigne’s thesis is true. There are usually several means of achieving a result, like there are routes to reaching a destination. This means that one may do the opposite of accepted opinion- although not always- and achieve ones goal. So advice can be ignored. And where necessary, should be actively ignored.

This also shows that one can be fluid, and achieve ones objectives. Fluid in the sense that one need not have an ideology. Being without ideology doesn’t mean that one doesn’t have values. Values like compassion and kindness matter. They are, perhaps, the ones which have always mattered. But one shouldn’t draw a box around oneself that dissenting opinions cannot penetrate so as to be heard.

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