Category: Ideas and Reflections

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...

Oh Boy! More Crying Strangers! Children Too!

Hardly a day goes by now without my being subjected to online news stories featuring oversized pictures of people I do not know wailing hysterically, mournfully, helplessly about some “tragedy” or other. Today it’s a school shooting in Colorado (and the picture this time is of a small boy — no child exploitation there!); a couple of days ago it was something else....

Random Thoughts — with Pictures

Yesterday, there was a funny story about Muslim children at a school in Philadelphia — that would be the one in Pennsylvania, USA — singing a cute little song about crushing the infidels. Today comes the even funnier explanation of this charming video: it was merely an unfortunate oversight in the song vetting process. I can believe that. I can’t count how many...