Category: Ideas and Reflections

Living Forever

If the purpose of life were simply to be alive in the biological sense, then every human being would have fulfilled his purpose at birth, or rather before birth, and would therefore stand to gain nothing by going through with the rest of the process — nothing but more time. But who would carry on merely for the sake of carrying on, without...

Notes On Popular Culture

I just read the following headline: “11 things we learned from Harry and Meghan’s explosive interview.” I have been inundated with headlines about this alleged interview between the quasi-royal nobodies for days now, and I have yet to see a single one that did not refer to the alleged interview as “explosive” or a “bombshell.” Could Oprah Winfrey, the onion-peeling billionaire queen of...

Marvelous

Marvelous Marvin Hagler died over the weekend. (Yes, for the uninitiated, “Marvelous” was his legal first name, adopted in response to his perennial sense of being disrespected by the image-obsessed sports media.) I have lost all my youthful enthusiasm for spectator sports, as I believe is proper and natural as one matures, as well as being almost morally mandatory in this age in...

Safety In Numbers

On the philosophers and the sophists– Heraclitus: “One man is worth ten thousand if he be the best.” Jordan Peterson: “Why be a rigorous teacher for three hundred university students when I could be a self-help guru for three million YouTube subscribers!” On self-government– The less centralized the state, the more localized the rule. The aim is to approximate as far as possible...

Reflections on Writing and Writers

Anyone who writes for attention is not a real writer. Writing is spiritualized hiding. It is no accident that Shakespeare, the greatest of all writers, is the one about whose life and person we know the least. He wrote dozens of the most magnificent works in literary history, and yet we are not certain who he was — or even whether he was....

When the Ovine Opine

LeVar Burton, an actor best known for roles in Roots and one of the many Star Trek rebirths, but also a longtime host of the popular children’s program, Reading Rainbow, has decided to throw his two cents into today’s mandatory moralizing about minds and works from the past that are so vastly superior to anything that can ever be produced in our era...

Questions for Modern Political Life

If a Marxist calls you a fascist, should you care, let alone worry yourself about disproving the charge? (Likewise, for that matter, if an authoritarian populist or corporatist oligarch calls you a Marxist.) If someone criticizes your honest opinion on the grounds that it undermines “the movement,” is it more reasonable to defend your actions against that criticism, or to ask why the...

The Uncomfortable Life

From Nietzsche‚Äôs Beyond Good and Evil. You want, if possible — and there is no more insane “if possible” — to abolish suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it higher and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand it — that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and...

Myths and Misunderstandings

We flatter those whom we describe as “burning the candle at both ends.” In truth, the people of whom we say this — or worse, who proudly think it of themselves — are typically burning the candle at neither end. They are merely gnawing away at their wax, anxiously chewing up their lives until they are reduced to wicks without fuel. Eventually, even...

Sentimental Man Expresses Himself

Oscar Wilde wrote that “a sentimentalist is simply one who desires to have the luxury of an emotion without paying for it.” Wilde’s century was rife with the luxury of unpaid-for emotion, which is the special indulgence of the comfortable class. Our own time, however, has elevated this romantic weakness for claiming unearned emotion to an artform — and then, as is typical...