Tagged: Human nature

Humans: Three Reflections

An ideal to be approached as closely as possible, in as many ways as possible, and with as much self-examining honesty as possible: Attach yourself only to people who make you better. Completely avoid those who make you worse. Those who make you neither better nor worse become the latter with frequent association, due to wasted time; therefore, avoid this third group too,...

How to become rational

A student sent me an e-mail yesterday which consisted of one simply-worded, but far from simplistic, question: “How can I be rational?”┬áThe question has perennial importance, of course, and may in a sense be the defining concern of the human soul. However, as the obstacles to living in accordance with reason grow more pervasive and pernicious with each generation, the notion of “being...

As I Lay Living, Part Three: Twenty Piddling Little Fountains

(If you have not done so, please read Part One and Part Two.) I concluded Part Two of this series with the challenge, directed at all my students, real and hypothetical: “Why are you living a life you don’t want?” In a sense, the answer is obvious: Because they don’t know what life they want. In fact, I believe the problem is even...

The Dangerous Idealization of Material Success

Modernity is, or was, the age of the triumph of practical reason, and the flourishing and harnessing of an emancipated desire for earthly wellbeing and individual self-determination. Its definitive political development was the limited republic, the premise of which was that normal human beings left to their own devices will sort themselves into a reasonable public shape beneficial to all, and the necessary...

Happy Fourth of July! (But while I have your attention…)

  To all my American readers and friends — and that would be the majority in both categories — Happy Fourth of July from here in Limbo! This is a less than stellar moment for your nation, to put it mildly, but there is no reason not to take a day to appreciate all that is and has been great about modernity’s most...

The Denaturalization of America

In 2008, America elected a president from a broken home whose mother was sympathetic to communists; who as a youngster had formative relationships with a transgender nanny chosen by his mother and a bisexual communist pornographer “mentor” chosen by his grandfather; whose teenage friends were so devoted to drug use that they gave themselves a nickname derived from this habit, and developed their...