Tagged: fear

Three Paradoxes

Fear’s Paradox.— The man obsessed with the fear of losing his life will be the one with the least life to lose. The same formula, in fact, is true for any good you might insert in the place of “life” here, as long as possession is understood to indicate not the mere material presence of a thing, but rather its practical availability for...

A World Without Souls

Many years ago, I spent several months engaged almost exclusively with this question: What is a face? The synoptic version of the conclusion I arrived at through those months of rumination: A face is the surface of a soul.  For nearly two years, we have lived in a world that has outlawed faces, which is to say that in the most profound sense,...

The Reason to Philosophize

Stoicism and (to a lesser extent) Epicureanism, two late Greek philosophic schools often regarded as relatively minor movements during the intervening centuries, have become fashionable of late, primarily thanks to popular philosophy — the realm of touring lecturers and media stars — which is not really philosophy at all, but rather a quasi-philosophic posture assumed in the manner of a self-help strategy, specifically...

Overcoming vs. Hiding

To overcome something, you must face it, live with it, struggle through it, understand it deeply, and work out a way to surmount its debilitating or harmfully limiting effects. Merely avoiding the thing from the outset, by contrast, is not an alternative means of overcoming it, but rather a method of ensuring that you will never overcome it.  Failure, spiritual pain, loneliness, the...

Sunday Reflections On Death

Every human being who was ever born on this planet has either died or is currently in the process of dying. Those currently in the process of dying will certainly complete their process successfully, if the entire history of all living species is any grounds for prediction. To approach life, then, as though the avoidance of death were the primary goal or ultimate...

Reflections on Fear

Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” As the human race has more than amply proved in recent times, Roosevelt’s warning was exactly correct — though not exactly in the sense that he intended.

For Roosevelt meant that men’s fear of paternalistic government and socialist legislation was the only thing preventing them from escaping economic depression…

On the Passions

“Love is blind,” they say. The same, however, might be said just as surely about anger, envy, indignation, and above all, fear. Any passion, if allowed to become dominant in the soul, causes blindness. For by highlighting an object exclusively so as to make it appear overwhelmingly preeminent within its context — which is in effect to remove the object from its proper...

Reflections on Power

Language and politics.– One man believes the central question of practical politics is, “Which powers should the government use?” Another man believes the central question is, “Which powers should the government have?” One word of difference is all that separates these two men — one small word that holds within it all their respective premises about human nature, the individual, and the value of...

Irreconcilable Differences, Part Three

A few more ways that I am at odds with today: I would rather live in a world with many things to fear than in a world with nothing to fear, because the opposite preference represents the emotional state of a child — and implies the practical conditions of a slave. It is preferable to live in a society in which people care...

Democracy

Oligarchs play demagogues to cajole and placate the ill-informed, safety-and-comfort-obsessed majority by inciting distrust and hatred of the genuine best men — the sober, non-tribal, intellectually courageous lovers of goodness and beauty. Together, these two groups, the demagoguing oligarchs and the ignorant majority, forge a tyranny, operated by and for the oligarchs, but advertised as being operated by and for the safety-and-comfort-obsessed majority....