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"Men Are Most Apt To Believe What They Least Understand"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In the essay "Of Cripples," Michel de Montaigne discusses human reason. He believes man is more concerned with discovering causes than he is with discovering truths. Rather than ask how a thing is done, man should ask if a thing is done. But if man does not understand, he fabricates an explanation; a world is created without foundation. Many so-called truths are drawn from "idle beginnings and frivolous causes," and Montaigne believes that many of the world's ills are brought about because men are afraid to profess their ignorance. They merely accept all things they cannot disprove. Men should believe God, not other men. Of himself, he says:

I am plain and heavy, and stick to the solid and the probable, avoiding those ancient reproaches, Majorem fidem homines adhibent iis, quae non intelligunt (Men are most apt to believe what they least understand.)–Cupidine humani ingenii, libentius obscura creduntur (Through the lust of human wit, obscure things are most easily credited.)