Four Letter Words
“We will cease to be so angry once we cease to be so hopeful. – Alain de Botton,
The Consolations of Philosophy
Alain de Botton’s take on Montaigne is worth the price. He quotes Montaigne: “Upon the highest throne in the world, we are seated, still, upon our asses. Kings and philosophers shit: and so do ladies.” In the sixteenth century, Montaigne said that! But it’s no more surprising than the fact that back then they knew all there was to know about sex: “The genital activities of mankind are so natural . . . what have they done to make us never dare to mention them without embarrassment and to exclude them from serious orderly conversation? We are not afraid to utter the words kill, thieve, or betray; but those others we only dare to mutter through our teeth.”
“Fuck” is considered an obscene four-letter word, but “kill,” another four letter word, is not. One leads to life the other to death. The word that describes the creation of life is obscene and the word that causes death is not.