Writers of the past must have had some idea about the size and complexity of the world. Even Nietzsche, Montaigne, and Marx had opportunities to travel, to experience the delicious diversity of natural scenery, belief systems, and earthly pleasures. Did their reflections hold any external validity, or were they broadcasted simply because Western Europeans have a stranglehold over what we now deem to be “classic”? They no doubt had a powerful grasp of expression, but they were given leading roles in shaping epistemological history by virtue of privilege and tradition. How many true thinkers have been denied a voice due to less favorable circumstances? How many unsung philosophers labored over never-to-be published manuscripts, great works of art ignored, yellowed by time and finally reduced to dust in the cruel course of time?
Furthermore, the complexity about which I speak has never been more apparent, has never been more thought-shattering than it is today with our endless opportunities to virtually taste the wonders of existence. It’s impossible to feel the feeble rain in this ocean of possibilities. Montaigne possessed a sizable but limited library comprising the most monumental works up to his day. The collection may seem primitive and limited by modern standards, but at least it was finite. How does a modern person glean the gold from the silt in this baleful sea of information?