A taste for solitude

Let us leave aside the tedious comparison between the solitary and the active life; and as for that fine statement under which ambition and avarice take cover, “That we are not born for our private selves, but for the public,” let us boldly appeal to those who are in the midst of the dance; and let them cudgel their conscience and say whether, on the contrary, the titles, the offices, and the hustle and bustle of the world are not sought out to gain private profit from the public. The evil means men use in our day to push themselves show clearly that the end is not worth much. Let us reply to ambition that it is she herself that gives us a  taste for solitude.

— Montaigne, “Of Solitude”

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