Tagged: nature

Reflections on Nature, Knowledge, and Learning

Love for “nature” in the modern sense grows in inverse proportion to one’s ability to love nature in the ancient sense. That is, if humans today were more interesting, less mindlessly slavish, less devoted to the emptiest pursuits, and more open to the consideration of ideas, beauties, and ways of living truly alternative to those promoted in the popular culture, I would probably...

This Is Nothing Special

Most human beings throughout all of the known history of our species have lived in subjection, whether in literal slavery or in the somewhat more figurative but no less tangible enslavement of life lived at the end of tyrannical tethers. They have had to struggle their way through some sort of unnatural or partial existence in which the most fundamental choices Nature provides...

Taking A Broom To A Delicate Web

I just read this headline from the Associated Press: “House moves toward OK of Dems’ sweeping social, climate bill.” So often these days, one reads of “sweeping bills,” “sweeping reforms,” “sweeping measures,” or “sweeping new mandates.” The metaphor is apt, if hackneyed, because it is very much of the essence of progressivism to view politics as a matter for brooms. In other words,...

Equality of Opportunity, Part One

Perfect equality of opportunity would require everyone to be born in precisely identical circumstances — not merely in homes of identical material wealth, but rather in circumstances entirely without differentiating conditions that might slant life ever so slightly in favor of this or that individual. Those truly equal in opportunity must necessarily be born among the same number of siblings, and in precisely...

Random Thoughts

Give and take.-– Everything that makes you tired of your fellow human beings can also, if you remember to let it, make you more appreciative than ever of trees, birds, turtles, clouds, and the way an otter’s head pops out of the thick river grass. Start to finish.–┬áThe first fully formed appearance of the essence of what is usually called Western civilization occurred...

Power Struggle

A terrible electrical storm passed directly over my neighborhood last night. The lightning was continuous and relentless, thunder claps following immediately upon each flash indicating the nearness of the storm’s center, and a driving rain providing a percussive undertone to the ongoing assault from above. The storm moved relatively slowly, bringing roughly forty-five minutes of full intensity before the audible distance between flashes...

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....

Sympathy for the Misanthrope

This cloudy autumn morning, I took a short stroll around the university pond with my wife. One of the many simple delights of the place is the small troop of geese, along with one lonely Muscovy duck, who are the pond’s permanent residents. The long-necked white male goose is a strikingly handsome fellow, and clearly has the protective instincts of an alpha male....

Things That Appear Only Once

The world as you know it is everything you have carefully observed. And much of what you carefully observe is of a nature to be noted and catalogued in a particular way by you alone. Careful observation, however, means examination in depth, the slow rumination that catches a nuance missed by every casual onlooker. Observing is the opposite of merely “looking around,” analogous...

Soft Despotism vs. The Cosmos

Last evening, I ate dinner with a student at a department store food court. At one point in the conversation, while talking about the kind of attitudes and responses that pass for “normal” today, I suddenly had an odd thought. Looking around the large, moderately crowded but “socially-distanced” court, I mused aloud, “If someone from the government walked in here right now and...