Category: Ideas and Reflections

Reflections on Nature, Knowledge, and Learning

Love for “nature” in the modern sense grows in inverse proportion to one’s ability to love nature in the ancient sense. That is, if humans today were more interesting, less mindlessly slavish, less devoted to the emptiest pursuits, and more open to the consideration of ideas, beauties, and ways of living truly alternative to those promoted in the popular culture, I would probably...

Jordan Peterson and the Web of Fame

Jordan Peterson appeared on a program hosted by Piers Morgan to discuss Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. He insisted, among other things, that (a) Putin is in no significant way similar to Hitler or Stalin, i.e., not really a tyrant of global expansionist intentions at all, (b) there is no possible way that Ukraine can win the war, (c) even if Putin decides...

Authority, the Individual, and the State

Rule of thumb.— Authority should never be in the hands of those who want it.  The principle of decentralization.– The level of authority one human being has over another should be directly proportional to the level of personal interest and affection that defines their relationship. Hence, parents and other family elders ought to be the primary authorities in every child’s life, friends and...

The Internet and The Beautiful

The internet is a most appropriate, we might almost say idealized, manifestation of late modernity. For, in a perfect crystallization of the age, it democratizes expression, relativizes relevance, and exponentially expands the sense of exposure within the human world, both one’s own exposure to that world and its ubiquitous exposure to oneself. Since, furthermore, the human world is comprised of far more ugliness...

Political Quandaries

If all the simpletons and halfwits magically disappeared from the Earth, society would be infinitely more rational; but then who would do the menial jobs, such as practicing modern medicine, banking, leading our largest churches, and inventing the internet? Plato’s great political insight, the founding wisdom of political philosophy itself: The only men intellectually and temperamentally suited to rule are precisely the ones...

Two Random Acts of Civilizational Implosion

George Clooney, a thoroughly inconsequential member of an ultimately inconsequential profession who because he is famous for being famous believes, like so many of his ilk, that the world ought to care what he thinks about important political issues, has praised Australia’s Covid-19 response, and declared, on the basis of his no doubt expert-analyzed calculations, that 900,000 lives would have been saved had...

Philosophy, Truth, and Esoteric Doctrines

For two centuries, the dominant scholarly view of the notion of esoteric or “secret” philosophic doctrines, particularly as regards the canonical thinkers, is that such a notion is simply out of the question. Though the history of philosophy is replete with direct and indirect references to public teachings which vary from private beliefs, and to the philosopher’s need for circumspection in speaking of...

Too Close

There is a natural breaking point in human connection, a borderline beyond which all goes slack, from which point the closer we are, the more distant we become. Intimacy is misunderstood as the elimination of all barriers and distance. In fact, it depends utterly upon the maintenance of natural distance. Intimacy exists in the tension between our need for distance and our willingness,...

Reflections On Not Being One of Them

It is standard among today’s professoriate to teach Plato’s Apology¬†with perplexity or mock-sophistication, agonizing over efforts to make sense of the charges against Socrates, seeking to persuade the students (and themselves) that those charges as recorded — impiety and corruption of youth — were “trumped up,” or perhaps merely a cover story for more immediate personal or political motives. For Athens was a...

Advice For Living Today

Do not attempt to live in ordinary ways — to “carry on with your life as well as possible” — during times of crisis and decline. When oppression is ascendant, liberation naturally becomes, or ought to become, the central theme of practical life. If it does not, then you are living in detachment from your true situation, which is never advisable and may...