22 Pages

Introduction: Voluntary Servitude, Governmentality and the Care of the Self

Drawing on Persius’ Satires and Lucretius’ De rerum natura to illustrate his point, Montaigne proposes a two-part solution to the tyranny of desire. Rather than trying to resist, he suggests giving in. But giving in comes with its own danger: that we should become overly attached to the specific object of our desire. Therefore, to avoid subjection to any one overarching erotic attachment, he also advises the promiscuous expense of seed in any available body. By this means, desire can be diminished and managed, if not necessarily vanquished or mastered.