It’s not the place

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This is the tower where Montaigne wrote his famous essays.

There’s nothing truly special about the building; it is similar to dozens of other old piles in the Bordeaux region.  What made this place special: one person who lived here, and what he did.

It’s hard to remember that places or things aren’t what make the difference, especially when we have so much built up around tangible things – this tower, or, here in Edinburgh, the cafe where J. K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter, or ancient battlefields.  A five-cent Bic pen could start an empire just as easily as a $2,000 laptop; a Nokia 3200 can be as useful for creating something as an iPhone X.  It’s the person holding it, and what they do, that give a thing value.

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