Montaigne, mimicry and the mirror neurons


Nice piece in the papers by Saul Frampton
a couple of weeks ago, whose book on the French philosopher and essayist Montaigne is now out.

In it, he highlights Montaigne’s grasp of the roots of human empathy and mimicry:

As he [Montaigne]looks into himself he recognises his “aping and imitative character”; “whatever I contemplate, I adopt – a foolish expression, a disagreeable grimace, a ridiculous way of speaking”; “I often usurp the sensations of another person”. He sees that such capacities lie behind the power of theatre: how sorrow, anger, hatred, pass though writer, actor and audience, like a chain of magnetised needles, “suspended one from the other”, causing us to weep for those we care little about. For Montaigne, as for contemporary neuroscientists, humans thus have an inbuilt imitative, sympathetic capacity

Can’t wait to read the book itself