Tagged: philosophic life

My Boycott, Part 2

In “My Boycott,” having explained my principles on the topic of boycotts in general, and in particular how and to what extent the boycott is a legitimate form of political expression, I then qualified the discussion somewhat with the following personal condition: I must note, however, that boycotting per se is not, and has never been, my cup of tea, primarily because I do not...

Thoughts on Being a Slave

What the slaveowner knows.– A society of strong and virtuous men would never make a great cause out of liberalizing so-called “recreational drug” laws (nor would they ever have to make a cause out of it), since they would be too busy enjoying all the more essential forms of liberty to care much about such things. By contrast, if a society does make...

Ripples and Currents

You may, by way of even a slight movement of your hand, cause a visible ripple or splash upon the surface of the sea. The effect will appear before you immediately — and disappear just as quickly. In that moment, you will see most palpably that you have affected the vastness of life, however minutely and superficially. For some men, this minor and...

Nietzsche’s Collapse Into Madness

This age has pushed its rational minority to the edge. It has become difficult to walk out amongst one’s fellow human beings today without being intermittently struck by the thought of how embarrassing it is to belong to the same species as these others — these bipedal sheep, these regressed pre-individuals. But there is a hint of madness in such a musing, of...

On Pleasure and Learning

Philosophic hedonism.— The soul naturally inclines toward beliefs, solutions, behaviors, and aims that promise the greatest pleasure. Education is primarily the process of unlearning the childhood weakness for mistaking the quickest or most immediate pleasure for the greatest pleasure. The educated person is thus the one who habitually forgoes the near or easy pleasure in favor of the distant, rarefied one, and the...

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...

How to Handle This Moment

At the end of the Peloponnesian War, in 404 B.C., Sparta appointed a ruling committee in Athens, the group which came to be known as the Thirty Tyrants. At the time, Socrates, a private man but a figure of considerable repute and controversy, was sixty-five years old. His most famous student prior to that time, the divisive iconoclast Alcibiades, had already been assassinated...

Happiness by Comparison

A student who frequently writes to me about her efforts to overcome self-doubts and develop a more moderate, reasonable way of life, told me of an exchange she had recently with a friend who was trying to persuade her that she ought to be happier. The friend offered three specific arguments, which my student summarized as follows: 1. You have no disorder in...

Thoughts on Being Abnormal

If you see that the world is sick, and understand the sickness as the inevitable result of a toxic way of life, then you cannot help but feel, whenever you catch yourself acting as they do, using their words, or enjoying their pleasures, that you are like one who knowingly infects himself with a virus. In a diseased civilization, to be normal means...

Time vs. Life

Modern materialists, forever eager to debunk ancient notions of eternal being, have carelessly fostered a linguistic and psychological reduction of life, the activity of the soul, to time, the only remaining measure of man’s existence once eternity has been discarded as even a goal. But to reduce life to mere temporal continuation — to “time on Earth” — is inherently to overvalue mere...