Tagged: philosophic life

On the Fear of Death

Today, hundreds of millions of men and women from most of the nations of the developed world have been herded into mass hysteria and precipitous panic over a virus outbreak that has proved to be no more ravaging than a bad flu season, an illness that is having its severest effects mostly among the small proportion of the population that is already at...

The Philosophical View

An enthusiastic and diligent student who has been studying Plato with me for several months — we were in the middle of a close analysis of Book III of the Republic several weeks ago, when coronavirus “social distancing” interrupted our conversation — sent me an e-mail yesterday to share his distress over the current situation. You know, students like me don’t know how...

Philosophical Beginnings, Civilizational Endings

One of my most resonant childhood memories is from elementary school, perhaps third or fourth grade. I was walking home for lunch (my school was near my house) with a few friends. One of them, Jimmy, had gotten much lower scores than the rest of us on his recent tests. While we were talking about our scores, Jimmy said, with insouciant bravado, “I...

Watercolors and the Eyes of the Gods

On a dreary January day, incessantly wet in defiance of last night’s promising forecast, the air is thick with pollution and cold rain. The mountains are obscured by the translucent sky, and all sensible paths to outdoor enjoyment dampened. Having lost my hat on the bus coming here (too focused on remembering my umbrella), I must spend three hours, uncharacteristically, with my stupid...

New Teacher, Old Teacher

The New Teacher is a dispenser of grades and ranks, an administrator of late modernity’s societal ordering and sorting system — essentially a bureaucrat or accountant. The Old Teacher was a guide of the soul’s desire, channeling a few young people’s restless and potentially self-devouring hunger into a happy and habit-forming quest for timeless and necessary understanding — essentially a lion tamer or...

To Be Free

These days, it is hard to find a so-called “conservative” or “libertarian” who sees freedom with clear eyes. Two centuries of creeping political progress have caused a slow-developing glaucoma of the spirit which obscures the natural view of self and world that had previously revealed itself in history’s struggle to recognize and emancipate the independent individual mind.  This progressive corruption of vision explains,...

Limbo’s Greatest Hits: #4

2019 has been a peculiarly difficult year for me in some ways. Most if not all of the trouble stems from an innocent moment of carelessness back in January. Specifically, on January 23rd, walking home from my office, I casually stepped out to cross the street at a busy corner — an intersection I cross every single day — and somehow my right...

The Art of Uncertainty, Part One

Even in today’s deteriorated educational climate, many university students are still surprisingly susceptible to confusion and self-doubt about “meaning of life” questions. In other words, they are still capable of responding to life as tender spirits, rather than merely as products on the assembly line at the worker-unit factory. In fact, such confusion and self-doubt, though now treated as grounds for a trip...

On Being Slow

We live in the age of speed. From our technology to our politics, getting things done quickly, without “dragging one’s feet,” has become the definitive virtue of modern existence; and I say “existence,” rather than life, since speed and life have very little to do with one another. This age we call “modernity” will likely be remembered, by the inhabitants of some future...

A Taste for Expensive Things

How much would you pay for the most valuable thing in the world? If you are a believer in the free market, you might immediately have noticed that the question is deceptive, as it implies that there is a “most valuable thing,” independent of your judgment of its worth to you, whereas all advocates of economic liberty understand that there is no value...