Tagged: philosophic life

Conditions of the Philosophic Life

Recently, a serious student who has embarked with gusto on the path of philosophy mused, in an e-mail, about what it means, definitionally speaking, to “be who she is.” Let’s say this is a note for the future, in case I might lose myself someday. What if I lose myself and forget who I was? Read this: “From myself in the past (2022)...

Melancholy, Modernity, and the Free Soul

Kafka’s burden — the bureaucrat of practical necessity suffocated by life in the bureau — embodies in its tortured anxieties the modern diminution of the raging Heracles: Why must I, a soul full of passion, strength, and cravings for eternity, succumb to these expectations of others, to these odious priorities of daily life, to the duties of my lot, my status, my family,...

The Devil Is In the Details

In this age of social media, social thought, and social truth, the richest man in the world, a pot-smoking cool kid with his hands deep in the government cookie jar, is now the controlling owner of the world’s dominant social discussion forum.  Meanwhile, in this age of ubiquitous internet addiction, online surveillance, and the dubious boons of universal interconnectedness, the most influential and...

Reflections on Surviving Today

Everything today is for stupid people. If anything exists today that is not fundamentally aimed at the stupid, then it falls entirely outside the public eye, resides beyond social discourse, has no connection to the quasi-life that the society around you is engaged in. Hence, if anything you like, do, or care about does fall within the public eye, occupy a corner of...

The Philosopher and Society

To interpret a thing is to categorize it. We may categorize only in accordance with existing categories, of course, which in practice — an obvious point but one easily forgotten — means in accordance with categories we know. Hence, the limits of interpretation, for each man, are determined by the modes of existence that he himself has previously recognized or intuited from his...

Philosophy, Truth, and Esoteric Doctrines

For two centuries, the dominant scholarly view of the notion of esoteric or “secret” philosophic doctrines, particularly as regards the canonical thinkers, is that such a notion is simply out of the question. Though the history of philosophy is replete with direct and indirect references to public teachings which vary from private beliefs, and to the philosopher’s need for circumspection in speaking of...

Reflections On Not Being One of Them

It is standard among today’s professoriate to teach Plato’s Apology with perplexity or mock-sophistication, agonizing over efforts to make sense of the charges against Socrates, seeking to persuade the students (and themselves) that those charges as recorded — impiety and corruption of youth — were “trumped up,” or perhaps merely a cover story for more immediate personal or political motives. For Athens was a...

Advice For Living Today

Do not attempt to live in ordinary ways — to “carry on with your life as well as possible” — during times of crisis and decline. When oppression is ascendant, liberation naturally becomes, or ought to become, the central theme of practical life. If it does not, then you are living in detachment from your true situation, which is never advisable and may...

Reflections On Living Seriously

I dislike surprises of the sort that are imposed upon one by other people — surprise visits, surprise parties, surprise invitations, and the like. The reason is simple: I do not waste time, and therefore experience imposed surprises not as welcome salvation from life’s tedium, but as an interruption of something I had previously judged to be essentially worthwhile or necessary in favor...

The Attraction of the Sea

The sea is bigger than you are, more powerful than you are, more frightening than you are, and more permanent than you are. It is also more beautiful and desirable than you are. The sea is not impressed by you, and never could be. The sea will never think, “I am so fortunate that you have come to me.” It may never notice...