Category: Ideas and Reflections

“Injustice” vs. Responsibility

After being convicted and condemned to death by a jury of hundreds of his fellow Athenians, Socrates, awaiting execution, was offered a chance to escape from prison and live in exile. He rejected the plan, primarily on the grounds that by choosing to live in Athens his whole life, to marry and raise his children there, and to practice his preferred way of...

A Word from the Rock Star of Limbo

It has become part of the vernacular these days to describe anyone whom one admires or who has become prominent in any arena whatsoever as “a rock star.” Just today, for example, I noticed an online commenter at Right Scoop describing outgoing White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — a frumpy but loyal professional apologist for idiocy — as having been “a...

On Not Being Like Them

They will not understand you. Can you live with being misunderstood?  They will find you disappointing, frustrating, and an unnecessary burden. Can you live with being a disappointment? They will hate much of what you do, typically the very things you regard as most definitive of you. Can you accept being hated, and hated not for your accidents, but for your essence? Do...

Fear of Independence

“What if everyone joined the crowd except me? What if everyone were smiling, growling, hissing, chanting, cheering, and singing, but I were not included? What if, having grown tired or frightened of being left out — or rather, of the strain of standing apart — I should discover that they would no longer accept me at all? That I had missed my chance...

Conservatives and Radicals

A conservative is a person who knows, and never allows himself to forget, that all humans live in the fog, straining to see beyond their immediate surroundings, and therefore always susceptible to the error of assuming that the world within their sight and reach is more real, more essential, than whatever might lie beyond. A radical, also known these days as an activist...

Courage vs. Fear

Being a true student is harder than being a true teacher. For the teacher, who of course was once a student, has already survived the soul’s harshest test, namely discovering that which is uncomfortable to see, while the student is still facing this trial. Not merely facing it, in fact, but wading through its unexpected depths, stepping painfully among its unseen jagged rocks,...

Humans Cannot Fly

Socratic Mathematics

Humans cannot fly,
Unless they learn to grow wings —
Ten thousand years on.

This is the profoundest implication of the expression, “Patience is a virtue.” Can you wait, diligently preparing yourself, for one hundred centuries?

Alabama, Abortion, Absolution

Alabama has passed a law, which the state’s governor nevertheless imagines will be unenforceable for the time being, making it a felony to perform an abortion in that state, with the only exception being cases in which the life of the mother is threatened. I am pleased to see this law passed, not merely because I believe abortion is indefensible in a modern, rights-based...