Tagged: Nietzsche

You Only Live Once

“You only live once,” as that phrase is typically used today, is the perfect practical synopsis of existentialism. The motto’s modern meaning encapsulates the fundamentals of existentialism’s philosophical, or quasi-philosophical, perspective, without all the high-minded intellectual fidgeting that was once needed to persuade people that their lives were essentially meaningless — in other words, that their lives were without essence. “You only live...

Losing Control, Gaining Control

The most dehumanizing aspect of enslavement is the sense of completely losing control of one’s essential actions, i.e., of having one’s realm of practical choice, such as it is, reduced to the inessential and transitory. The most desperate aspect of incremental enslavement is the awareness that one is in the process of losing control of one’s essential actions. The most infuriating aspect of...

Philosopher’s Luck

The best things that could ever happen to a young person today: rejection, isolation, exclusion. To be left out is to be left alone, which is the most precious gift that can be bestowed in an age of suffocating social life. To be disliked or ignored is to be spared the horizon-limiting sameness of success, i.e., fitting in, thus preserving for him nature’s...

Random Thoughts on The End of Man

Plato’s Republic belongs to a world without smartphones. Smartphones belong to a world without Plato’s Republic. The difference is that Plato’s Republic can explain smartphones, whereas smartphones cannot explain Plato’s Republic.

Every time I notice something interesting, beautiful, or fascinating, my attention is almost immediately distracted by humans interfering with my point of view.

The Long-Range Outlook

If an elected government can sweep away a nation’s founding principles, pride, and moral essence in three months, then that nation’s principles were already reduced to sand, its pride no better than a dust ball, its moral essence just a bit of dead skin. Joe Biden and his communist puppeteers have achieved nothing, in fact, that was not effectively a fait accompli. That...

The Uncomfortable Life

From Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. You want, if possible — and there is no more insane “if possible” — to abolish suffering. And we? It really seems that we would rather have it higher and worse than ever. Well-being as you understand it — that is no goal, that seems to us an end, a state that soon makes man ridiculous and...

Truths Sometimes Forgotten

Practical freedom is the best condition for the development of good men — but freedom itself is no guarantor that good men will indeed develop, any more than having a comfortable notebook and a smooth-flowing pen will inevitably produce good writing. More often than not, good writing tools have facilitated the production of mountains of sludge. What if good political conditions are analogous...

The Mountain or The Marketplace

Socrates cared little for woods and birds. Peaceful riversides and quiet paths meant nothing to him. As he frequently observed, his concern was learning, and his teachers were not the rocks and trees, but his fellow citizens, whom he found and pestered in the marketplace.  Nietzsche, at the opposite end of the history of philosophy proper, wrote of his long walks alone and...

Nietzsche, Socialism, and Utilitarianism

Among Nietzsche’s many excellent insights into the mind of nineteenth-century socialism, here is one from his early days (1878) that particularly appeals to my way of thinking: The Socialists demand a comfortable life for the greatest possible number. If the lasting house of this life of comfort, the perfect State, had really been attained, then this life of comfort would have destroyed the...

A Thought on Wasting Time

Regular readers will be aware that I often return, perhaps somewhat obsessively, to the theme of not wasting time. I can never emphasize enough, however, that when I speak of wasting time, or invoke the personal motto of sorts that I use to exhort my serious students to improve their lives — “I don’t waste time” — I am not even remotely concerned...