Category: Books

Ancient Common Sense on Education

Every page of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius offers something profound, something personally challenging, something lovely, or something disputable in the most ennobling sense of the word, namely the sense of engaging the reader in thoughtful discussion with a deeply probing and relentlessly frank mind.  Interestingly, the work — actually a collection of short observations written for himself, rather than for a public...

Weekend Reflections: Eric Hoffer and America’s Collapse

Both the revolutionary and the creative individual are perpetual juveniles. The revolutionary does not grow up because he cannot grow, while the creative individual cannot grow up because he keeps growing. — Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, p. 62 Elizabeth Warren, an old Marxist windbag, is trying to distinguish herself from Bernie Sanders, an old Marxist windbag, by claiming that she...

Progressive Life Imitates Dystopian Art

A few weeks ago, New York legislators passed a new state abortion law essentially declaring open season on all living fetuses up to the moment of birth. (I wrote about it here.) In celebration of this triumph of the religion of death, New York governor Andrew Cuomo, apparently in symbolic honor of the needles used to exterminate life, had the World Trade Center...

Your Homework Reading Assignment, If You Please

During his final sane months, in a whirlwind of productivity, Nietzsche wrote three important works, the greatest of which was Twilight of the Idols, or, How to Philosophize with the Hammer, a terse but sweeping synopsis of his entire philosophy. Though in form a small book, in content, implications, and influence, it is enormous as only a handful of works have ever been....

Canadian Dope

As of October 17th, 2018, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, fulfilling the Canadian-style vote bribe to beat all vote bribes, has “legalized” the sale and consumption of cannabis. In a country in the midst of a slow-boiling communist takeover, of course, “legalized” must be written and understood in scare quotes, because what it really means is that the government has decided to allow Canadians...

The Kavanaugh Hearings: What Marcus Aurelius Said

I live in Korea, so I was sleeping when Thursday’s senate hearing began. When I awoke, around 2:30am Korean Time, I decided to put on headphones and listen to some of the hearing to put myself back to sleep. (Political posturing usually has that effect on me.) Instead, I heard several minutes of bland clumsiness from the GOP’s female prosecutorial mouthpiece questioning Christine...

Nietzsche, Youth, and Hubris

From Twilight of the Idols: To live alone one must be an animal or a god — says Aristotle. There is yet a third case: one must be both — a philosopher. (R.J. Hollingdale translation, 1968.)  True — but why does Nietzsche assume that Aristotle had not thought of that? My suggestion: the hubris of exceptional youth. Nietzsche completed Twilight of the Idols...

A Few Thoughts from Marcus Aurelius

From the “truer words were never spoken” file, a few wise aphorisms from the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius: Yes, keep on degrading yourself, soul. But soon your chance at dignity will be gone. Everyone gets one life. Yours is almost used up, and instead of treating yourself with respect, you have entrusted your own happiness to the souls of others. (II.6) The best...

Plato: Mythologist or Philosopher?

Apropos of a discussion of Plato’s intentions in his depiction of Socrates, and specifically the notable ways that Plato’s Socrates differs both from Xenophon’s contemporaneous depiction and from the historical figure later Socratic philosophers, such as the Stoics, had in mind, a friend who views Plato with some skepticism confronted me with this provocative question: Is Plato a philosopher or an artist? Is...

Thoughts Upon Reading Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”

“August 2, 1914: Germany has declared war on Russia. Went swimming in the afternoon.” (Franz Kafka, diary entry) Tuesday morning, needing something to read while my graduate students wrote their midterm exam, and having been somewhat guiltily perusing Kafka’s diaries lately — I hope he doesn’t mind, though I suspect he does — I selected a rereading of “The Metamorphosis” as my amusement....