Tagged: philosophic life

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...

Preferences

I prefer feeling anxiously alone to feeling safely swaddled within a crowd. I prefer ideas that leave me uncomfortable in my weakness to ideas that satisfy my weakest inclinations. I prefer looking at things squarely to rounding off the edges of my vision for the sake of stability. I prefer the constant hum of disquiet that comes of acknowledging the vast unknown to...

Introduction to Metaphysics: A Dialogue (Part Three)

This is actually not a reply but more like Mayday. Be, it surely is a familiar word, but I’ve never met such a confusing one before. Even though it is not too much to say that “be” is the most common verb, it is extremely difficult to understand the meaning of the word. Be, exist, being, existence, property, essence…

Introduction to Metaphysics: A Dialogue (Part Two)

It is admirable that they realized the importance of invisible but existent things and studied them this deeply, and it is surprising that my question was the one that drove metaphysics in the beginning! It feels like I’ve arrived at a strange place after wandering around here and there. You mentioned “metaphysics studies Being Itself, independently of any specific case or type,” and…

Introduction to Metaphysics: A Dialogue (Part One)

The defining mission of this website, sometimes pursued subliminally, sometimes overtly, is to undermine the corruptive influence of “current events,” which is to say the distracting noise of the everyday, in the lives of anyone within reach of my voice. As our civilization winds down, the attraction of building a solid spiritual fortress to defend the soul against the glittering degradations and nihilistic...

Overcoming Prejudices: Being Right, Being Lazy

Recently, a student told me that she feels “disgusted” by her father’s way of speaking of other people, whether in the news or in the world generally, as he tends to criticize everyone as though they are all “stupid” if they do not think as he does. In reply to this student, I noted that sometimes we feel “disgusted” by another’s attitude —...

Friends and Distance: A Musing for An Age of Isolation

I have friends I have never met face to face whom I would trust with all my money. Meanwhile, very few of the “friends” I have made through the normal social accidents of my life have ever been more than useful or pleasant acquaintances in the end — “nice,” agreeable enough, but lacking the essential kinship of soul that is the essence of...

On the Fear of Death

Today, hundreds of millions of men and women from most of the nations of the developed world have been herded into mass hysteria and precipitous panic over a virus outbreak that has proved to be no more ravaging than a bad flu season, an illness that is having its severest effects mostly among the small proportion of the population that is already at...

The Philosophical View

An enthusiastic and diligent student who has been studying Plato with me for several months — we were in the middle of a close analysis of Book III of the Republic several weeks ago, when coronavirus “social distancing” interrupted our conversation — sent me an e-mail yesterday to share his distress over the current situation. You know, students like me don’t know how...

Philosophical Beginnings, Civilizational Endings

One of my most resonant childhood memories is from elementary school, perhaps third or fourth grade. I was walking home for lunch (my school was near my house) with a few friends. One of them, Jimmy, had gotten much lower scores than the rest of us on his recent tests. While we were talking about our scores, Jimmy said, with insouciant bravado, “I...