Here is a lesson that came to life for me last week.
I was reviewing some of the articles we had written in the past, and one began with a quote “from a famous French philosopher.” It didn’t mention that philosopher by name, but I thought it was important to name the source in future publications. I took to the internet to find him.
The “quote” was more of a rephrase through translation, which made it harder to track down but eventually I did find it. Here it is translated into English, with proper credit:
“I owe much; I have nothing; the rest I leave to the poor.” — Francois Rebelais
Ray used the quote when talking about people’s perception of the need to create an estate plan. People often say similar things when they don’t believe they have sufficient assets to make a will or create a trust. Ray’s point was that there are more reasons than financial to make final plans.
But the lesson I learned this time was that it pays to dig deeper. I discovered the source. But I found out a little more too.
As it turns out, Francois Rebelais was not just a philosopher. His works guided the flavor of European literature for decades. He was a monk, a physician, travelling companion and a satirist. He is best known for his satirical observations of French society through the eyes of two giants, characters he named Gargantua and Pantagruel—which earned him a dangerous and bawdy reputation.
The quote itself came from Rebelais’ will, where he took his satirical outlook lamenting that he had nothing more to give. In other words, his last will and testament was the exact illustration we had been trying to make.
I learned once again that there are treasures to find by asking questions. From a phrase that I had taken for granted for years, I found a fascinating nugget. I just wanted to find out who should be credited for a quote–I ended up learning more.
Appease your curiosity. Read and ask questions. Look things up. The knowledge you receive will be yours to pass on.
*Posted July 8, 2019.