Standing Alone

The true individual is not he who speaks with the voice of his generation, including his generation’s officially sanctioned “outsiders club,” but rather he who speaks against his generation, and especially against the officially sanctioned outsiders club. To stand with one’s group requires neither courage nor thought. To stand against one’s group requires substantial quantities of both.

The true visionary is not he who sees the world through the eyes of tomorrow — anyone who is not blind can do that, and indeed is almost compelled to do so — but rather he who sees it through the eyes of yesterday, and better yet through the eyes of the most distant yesterdays. Looking to tomorrow (“new beginnings”) requires only a reasonable sensitivity to trends and trajectories, and a willingness to submit passively to the presiding momentum. Looking to the ancient requires the far greater power to leap over tomorrow, to complete the circle preemptively in one’s soul, and thereby return at last to the source.

If you believe there is a political party, leader, faction, or splinter group that speaks for you, represents you, or is “largely aligned with” you, then you have been sold a bill of goods, presumably because you were in the market for one. The belief in politics is, in principle, the belief in answers rather than questions, solutions rather than problems, knowledge rather than the search. Politics, as a practical endeavor, is essentially a convenient substitute for thinking, a comfortable replacement for living, a safe haven against the suffering and isolation that make strength and wisdom possible.

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