Resemblances don’t make us ‘one’, as much
as differences make us into the other.
We ought to find with all a common touch,
every woman, sister, and a brother,
because of similarities, but dif-
ferences in fact are what we focus on
far more than similarities, whose whiff
we hardly can perceive, oblivion
their fate, while, unprevailing, we proclaim
our vaunted individuality,
safely distanced from those not the same
as us, extinguishing sodality.
The solace for this is: society
can not suppress its great variety.
Catherine Morris (“On Trials,” TLS, 8/5/11) discusses the literary form of the essay:
Montaigne affected the idea put forth by Aristotle that a particular experience could be turned by reason into a universal one. Montaigne wrote: “There is no quality so universal as diversity and variety….Resemblance does not so much make one as differences makes another.”
Reading this endnote I was not only inspired to write my poem but to think how much Montaigne must have influenced Shakespeare, whose words provided costumes for the customs I describe.