Summer in Algiers by Albert Camus deals with the importance of knowledge that is rooted in direct experience: pleasure, pain, misery and death, which are part of life, looked at in the face, and not evaded.
What makes this an interesting read is the lyrical and imagistic quality of the essay.
These mostly consist of summers in youth and the miseries of old age and death, the former vigorously embraced and the latter with the equanimity of meeting the inevitable.
If one cannot love one's immediate environment for what it is, it is difficult to maintain n alert connection about what life is all about, and all too easy to fall into abstraction and smothering complexities that our civilization brings.
In our modern times, especially with technology at our heels wherever we go, it is difficult to stay in touch with the essential realities of life, as Camus recommends. This short, imagistic essay is for me a call to wake up, look at life for what it really is, and be constantly aware of the fact that no theory or technology will help us change the bare framework of birth, youth, love sex, old age, and death.
The second essay in consideration is "Of Age" by Michel de Montaigne, which talks about an earlier age of employment to be implemented as the norm. In the age when the essay was written, few people made it past the age of five decades, and most great accomplishments were seemingly achievable by the age of twenty. What makes the essay interesting is
"What an idle conceit is it to expect to die of a decay of strength, which is the effect of extremest age, and to pro ...