Philosophic Principles, Part One

Purposefulness. It is better to die never having found the answer than to live never having heard the question.

Profit. Never seek material gain from the best thing you can do; for that is the literal meaning of selling one’s soul. You will not get it back.

Teaching. Those who have just opened their eyes must be led toward the sun; those who have closed their eyes in fear or despair must be led toward the moon. The same person may require both paths, at different moments.

Time. There is plenty of time for everything a man really needs to do — unless he takes to “managing” or “scheduling” his time, in which case he will never have enough to do much of anything. Time provides its boons only to he who does not believe in time, meaning he in whose soul there is no clock ticking.

Reading. Good teachers are rarest, but also most necessary, in an era of advanced civilizational decline. Serious books in such an age are like the good fairies of education — they are the true teachers for those who are most deprived or abandoned by circumstances, and therefore most needy.

Thinking. Nietzsche says ideas come like lightning. This is true, in the sense that no important thought is a product of deduction or methodical analysis — those come later. But it is also true that lightning is most likely to strike those who spend a great deal of time walking in stormy weather, and preferably while stretching upward, making themselves tall and magnetic — but who are also well-grounded to absorb a sudden surge of electricity without being burned up or split apart. In other words, ideas are indeed thunderbolts, but to be an effective lightning rod is a choice, not an accident, and requires years of effort and risk.

Friendship. Every friend must be a true teacher, a sincere student, a companion with whom you may share some of the secret script you have discovered on your mountaintop with some hope of being understood — or perhaps some mixture of those three. Nothing else meets the true definition of friendship. It is also clear from this, however, that a friend may be found across oceans or across millennia; for “friendship” is merely another word for the defining purpose of language.

You may also like...