How come some people who write about themselves are bores, and others are fascinating? Michel de Montaigne, an inventor who lived in the 1500s, is fascinating. Instead of keeping a record of what he did, he recorded what he was thinking about. He wrote: “I am not portraying being but becoming…This is a register of …ideas which are unresolved.” He looked at things from many perspectives with a “decent, careful spirit of inquiry about everything.” He said, “A straight oar looks bent in the water. What matters is not merely that we see things but how we see them.”
Michel de Montaigne: The Essays: A selection, translated by M.A. Screech (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), 248.