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The natural, original disease of man is presumption.
How can we imagine that something so striking in its orderliness is conducted without reasoned discourse and foresight?
Take the swallows; when spring comes they ferret through all the corners of the house and find the best place to build their nests. Then, the nest itself is so beautifully and wondrously woven together.
Why do we have to imagine they have some slavish natural inclination just because their work surpasses all that we can do by nature or by art?
When we assume this, aren’t we saying that their brutish stupor is superior to our divine intelligence?
(Almost) everyday, I intend to take one of Montaigne's essays, and summarise it here as clearly, concisely, and comprehensively as possible.
Everything in each essay is taken directly from Montaigne's work.
Why would birds make a circle rather than a square, or an obtuse angle rather than a right angle, if they didn’t have some awareness of their properties of effects?
Do they bring water and then clay without realizing that hardness can be softened with damp?
Note how elephants sharpen their fighting teeth, bulls throw up dust around them when they fight, wild boars wet their tusks, and the mongoose smears itself all over with kneaded and compressed mud to serve as body-armour.
Arming ourselves with sticks and iron bars is equally natural.