Tagged: pain

Helping

To the extent that we are social animals, we all have an urge to help. The problem is that we also have a common weakness — perhaps, paradoxically, an expression of our lust for power — for confusing helping with “making the problem go away.” Nietzsche observes, in The Gay Science, that the “religion of pity” thrives on the self-important air of the...

Gratitude

A student sent me a text message this morning with the following question: “Would it be good for me to feel grateful to a person who gave me pain?” Without knowing the specific context she had in mind, I replied: “If the person gave you pain while trying to help you, then yes. If the person gave you pain while trying to harm...

Tomorrow

It may not come. If it comes, it will bring disappointments, including the disappointment of reliving everything that disappoints you about today. Something will anger you. Someone will annoy or offend you. You will find yourself struggling to start a task you had hoped to undertake with enthusiasm, or you will start one but fail to complete it satisfactorily. You will fall short...

Reflections on Life and Living

A dragon sitting on his gold.— Nothing that makes life worth living requires that one’s life be particularly long. On the contrary, to state what is self-evident, the obsession with longevity represents little more than a search for more time to postpone what one ought to do — ideally, to postpone it long enough that one forgets what the prolonged time was for,...

The Pleasure Principle

Pleasure ameliorates pain. Pain is a condition of growth. Therefore, pleasure either interrupts or thwarts growth. The only possible exception to this conclusion would be a pleasure that was specific to the process or achievement of growth itself. This latter pleasure — the pleasure that accompanies or rewards growth as such — would thus be the only pleasure consistent with the life impulse....

Rarefaction

He craves the desert, where he would be alone, and as far as possible untouched by water — by anything that cools, dampens, or tends to suffocate. He would slake his thirst, when necessary, on cactus fruit, or perhaps track an occasional passing bird to its water source. The cacti, who would be his only friends in this setting, are ideally designed to...

The Uncomfortable Life

From Nietzsche‚Äôs 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...

On Comfort and Freedom

In my “Impolitic Reflections,” I noted Plato’s antagonism toward democracy, rooted in his presumption that the majority of men will always have appetitive natures, and therefore be unfit to direct a city that wishes to be just and wise. For this reason, I explained, he has his Socrates argue that in founding a good city, “you would never place any of its decision-making...

Sometimes I feel like this…

We are living in the proverbial “interesting times.” To say the world is in a state of flux would be absurdly generous. The world is in a state of freefall. Nothing will stop this fall now, until, inevitably, we hit the ground. And having lost the use of our wings, due to rampant materialism and generations of spiritual lockdown, we have no civilizational...