Tagged: meaning of life

Standing Apart

You are not better merely for standing apart — many who stand apart are only fools or fugitives. But neither can you become better until you stand apart. Those in the crowd hate the one who stands apart, because they lack the courage to risk becoming better themselves, and failing — and because they fear being left behind. Nothing angers the crowd more,...

A Thought on Wasting Time

Regular readers will be aware that I often return, perhaps somewhat obsessively, to the theme of not wasting time. I can never emphasize enough, however, that when I speak of wasting time, or invoke the personal motto of sorts that I use to exhort my serious students to improve their lives — “I don’t waste time” — I am not even remotely concerned...

Once More Around the Universe

One year ago today, I was sitting in a hospital bed awaiting surgery for a broken foot, trying to distract myself from the thought of losing my lifelong pastime and natural condition — walking — for an indefinite period of time. That evening, my chosen method of meditative self-discipline was to write about my experience for Limbo. Thus began a series of four...

Chance and Fate: Thank you, Neil Peart

I spend a good deal of my time on this website discussing the significance of suffering, the importance of seeking meaning in life through redeeming pain and failure, and the need to reject the all-too-human temptation to mistake stability and comfort for fulfillment and happiness. And in my private discussions with good students I come to know well, I always emphasize the urgency...

Meanwhile, back in the cosmos…

Some weeks ago, a student who knows a great deal about my character and interests contacted me with the urgent advice to run outside as quickly as possible, so as not to miss the gorgeous moonrise she was witnessing from a bus across town. Yesterday, the same young woman contacted me with similar urgency, at roughly the same late afternoon hour, to ask,...

The Body

A Musing on Pleasure.— Imagine a door so rare and enticing in its loveliness that passing through its frame engenders an immediate obsession with the act of passing through as such, and thus an overwhelming desire to open that door again, and then again, until one can hardly stand the thought of ever walking away from it, for fear of losing contact with...

In Mid-Fall

Fall colors are the Earth’s last desperate attempt to slow our descent into the white. The trees whisper, “If this is not enough to keep you here, then you may pass along; but know that you must never return this way again.” The leaves teach us, if we care to know, of the meaning of color and light. The prism of the body...

On Life, Focus, and Wasting Time

If awareness is our essence, then human life, as experienced, is everything you did not miss. Of course, our mind’s gaze, like our eye’s, will necessarily miss most things — almost all things, proportionally. It follows that the fullest life possible to us is not the one which chases the greatest quantity of sights — a fool’s errand, given the natural limits of...

Limits Imposed and Removed

Jorge Luis Borges, one of my favorite modern writers, published two distinct but similar poems called “Limits,” dealing with roughly the same philosophical theme, namely the gradual narrowing of our remaining experience as we grow older. I wish to discuss the shorter of the two poems, which, although less well-known, is the one I prefer. I begin with Borges’ work itself, which I...

What Modern Parents Say vs. What They Mean

“Now that you are close to graduating, you have to focus on getting a safe, comfortable job as quickly as possible.” Meaning: I don’t believe you can accomplish anything really worthwhile in life, so you shouldn’t waste your time trying. “A stable career is the most important thing.” Meaning: Money is the most important thing. “Get your head out of the clouds and...