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Halcyon actively monitors change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

A Mundane Comedy is Dominic Kelleher's new book, which will be published later in 2023. The introduction is available here and further extracts will appear on this site in the coming months. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter in mid 2023 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.


On Michel de Montaigne

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Michel de Montaigne's Essais help us better frame and address the fundamental question: "how to live?"

"I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself", said Montaigne, describing his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disgust for man's pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for death.

Montaigne was not a systematic philosopher, and as Waterstone's Guide to Ideas puts it, preferred to believe "in the powers of allusion, anecdote and aphorism to illuminate problems and questions which other writers felt obliged to consider more systematically".

Montaigne speaks to the value of questioning and exploring ideas without being tied to a predetermined conclusion. By putting forward "formless and unresolved notions," he suggests that we should be open to the possibility that our ideas and beliefs may not be fully formed or resolved and that we should be willing to engage in debate and discussion to seek out the truth. Rather than seeking to establish the truth through dogmatic certainty, we should embrace seeking it through exploration and debate.

In effect, Montaigne believed that humans cannot attain certainty, and he rejected general and absolute statements of dogma.  However, as Socrates had famously said that the unexamined life was not worth living, and Montaigne eventually found that his only subject matter was himself; so he resolved to try (essayer) to assay himself, his nature, his opinions, his attitudes and reactions, pretending nothing and confessing short, as he said, "I am myself the matter of my book".

Montaigne has been covered well in both In Our Time and in a Philosophy Bites interview with Sarah Bakewell - listen also to Bakewell on Montaigne and/or read her series of Guardian articles about Montaigne.

The online writer and thinker Maria Popova is in many ways an exemplary modern disciple of Montaigne. See for example her Essential Life-Learnings from 14 Years of Brain Pickings.

For more on Montaigne, see e.g.



9 June 2023


Please see below selected recent quietness-related change.


See also:


March 2023