Category: Ideas and Reflections

Afraid To Ask

“If I have 80% understanding and 20% ignorance about a topic, then I think it will be easy to form questions about my ignorance, but in this case, I think I have 10% understanding and 90% ignorance, so it is not easy to even form a proper question, because I’m not sure if it is a good question to help my understanding.”

Questions

Increasingly, we are becoming a world without questions. A world that cannot ask questions, both in the sense that the most humanly necessary questions are subject to restrictions and public mockery precisely to the extent that they are humanly necessary, and in the sense — far more decisive in the long run — that we no longer have the desire to ask these...

L’indignation

In France, 91% of the adult population is fully vaccinated for Covid-19. And yet the French government has just passed an even stricter version of its “vaccine passport” law, barring the unvaccinated from all restaurants, cafes, sporting events, and essentially any other social outing of any kind, unless and until they comply. “They,” just to reinforce the point, are only 9% of the...

I Know How You Should Live

Non-progressive.— If I began compiling a list of all the personal and societal changes — practical and spiritual — that I firmly believe would greatly enhance human life in general if actualized, each item expressed in one sentence or less, it would likely result in the longest post in the five-plus-year history of this website. And yet, as certain as I am that...

Friends and Enemies

He whose instinct is to wince when you hurt yourself, to warn you when he sees danger ahead, to shed a tear for your heartbreak, to remind you (whether gently or brusquely) of your reason when you become confused, and to offer a hand when you are frightened to face this moment alone, is…

Reflections on Language and Tyranny

There is a bias today in favor of simpler, easier-to-understand language. We see it in education systems, in word processing programs’ auto-correct protocols, and in the rise (clever business in an age of school-indoctrinated illiteracy) of for-profit proofreading companies such as Grammarly. Though seemingly apolitical in nature, this ubiquitous impulse to verbal and written simplicity comes from the same ultimate source as the...

Heraclitus and Writing

Pigs delight in the mire more than in clean water. (Heraclitus, Fragment 13) As a writer, I believe I have consistently striven to find the clean water. But striving and succeeding are two different things, and all searches begin in the fog. Hence, I concede that I may, in spite of my best intentions, have had “my moment among the pigs” — which...

Losing Control, Gaining Control

The most dehumanizing aspect of enslavement is the sense of completely losing control of one’s essential actions, i.e., of having one’s realm of practical choice, such as it is, reduced to the inessential and transitory. The most desperate aspect of incremental enslavement is the awareness that one is in the process of losing control of one’s essential actions. The most infuriating aspect of...

This Is Nothing Special

Most human beings throughout all of the known history of our species have lived in subjection, whether in literal slavery or in the somewhat more figurative but no less tangible enslavement of life lived at the end of tyrannical tethers. They have had to struggle their way through some sort of unnatural or partial existence in which the most fundamental choices Nature provides...

Conservation of Energy

To assign proper definitions to the oversimplifying and overused jargon of modern psychology (which is typically employed as a set of catchall abstractions without any essential lines of demarcation), an extravert is a person who gains energy in the company of others, while feeling drained during extended periods spent alone, whereas an introvert experiences the opposite dynamic. In other words, an introvert is...