Tagged: philosophic life

On Making A Difference

Every man who thinks and writes will begin to harbor hopes of making a difference, and even, perhaps, begin to believe he is seeing evidence of his making a difference. In an age without true teachers, it may even be necessary for a man to experience such hopes, as an impetus to forge ahead with his thought against the taste and climate of...

What Independence Means: A Personal View

I once had more readers in any given week than Nietzsche and Kierkegaard had in their entire lives, combined. I lost all those readers by choice, or rather I should say by lack of any agreeable alternative. The thought of “keeping them” was revolting, given what I would have had to do to myself to achieve that end. I now write — as...

The Philosophic Perspective

The principle of the thing matters more than the individual outcomes — and this includes also one’s own individual outcomes. 

There is no reality that, having finally revealed itself, cannot be accepted, and to which one cannot adjust oneself. This adaptability is not to be mistaken for….

Free Will and Failure

You are obliged by the most basic necessities of nature to make choices. You should therefore make your choices with the greatest degree of attention, the widest range of understanding, and the most serious appreciation for the extent to which your freedom to choose in any given circumstance is a gift that will come only once. But there is one more element of...

Big Men

The bigger one appears within one’s view of the world, the smaller one actually is. One’s true size is determined not by how large one seems relative to one’s context, but rather by how large one’s context seems relative to oneself. For one’s context is oneself, whether that context consists of the most ephemeral and transitory aspects of individual existence, or of the...

Reflections on Human Nature

We all know less than we think we know — and more than we are willing to admit to ourselves.

There is no other known species with the ability to recast its weakness as strength and its defeat as swagger. Humans are uniquely resourceful at enslaving themselves and calling it freedom….

Reasons Not to Drink

Here in Korea, drinking is not merely a commonplace activity but a deeply embedded ritualistic element of social life. And I work at a university, where the social ritual aspects of the “drinking culture” are exacerbated by the universal college-age confusion of new-found debauchery with burgeoning freedom. Hence, I am often met with skeptical double-takes and wide-eyed “Why nots?” when I inform students...

Philosophic Detachment

A student who is about to move away from home to begin graduate studies in philosophy was ruminating about the value and significance of detaching oneself from relationships and sentimental entanglements which distort or limit independent thought. As a young man deeply interested in both Eastern and Western thought, he mentioned having recently heard a Buddhist monk explaining the spiritual benefits of cutting...

New Year’s Resolutions for 2022

Anyone who has ever slipped backwards on ice or fallen down a flight of stairs knows the feeling: the trajectory of uncontrolled descent having passed the point of no return, you have no choice but to wait for the painfully certain outcome, helplessly. In addition to the two generic examples I have just mentioned, I also have a particularly personal memory — possibly...

On Being Liked

The dependent man tends to judge himself more highly to the extent that he is liked by others, and therefore feels a compelling vested interest in gaining approval, which is to say that he increasingly uses others’ acceptance of him as an emotional surrogate for the self-understanding that he lacks. This tendency naturally drives him ever farther from any considerations of the good,...