Tagged: philosophy

The Mountain or The Marketplace

Socrates cared little for woods and birds. Peaceful riversides and quiet paths meant nothing to him. As he frequently observed, his concern was learning, and his teachers were not the rocks and trees, but his fellow citizens, whom he found and pestered in the marketplace.  Nietzsche, at the opposite end of the history of philosophy proper, wrote of his long walks alone and...

The 2020 United States Presidential Election

I gave this post its very formal, impressive title as a simple bit of irony. If you are an American voter, and you wish to vote for someone who might actually have a chance of winning the 2020 United States Presidential Election, you must vote for Republican Donald Trump, a lifelong world famous crap merchant, or Joe Biden, a babbling fool who has...

Plato’s Gorgias in 200 words

It takes more than an hour to make stuffed peppers. At best, that hour’s effort will give me, or perhaps one or two other people, five minutes of vanishing sensory pleasure. A student sends me a message asking how to handle her anger with a rude coworker. I reply that being spoken to rudely is annoying, but causes you no essential harm, whereas...

Reflections on Lives that Matter

These days, hordes of uncivilized, desperate-to-be-cool white people are accosting other white people in restaurants and cafés demanding that the latter raise their fists to verify their support for one of the most prominent communist slogans du jour, “Black Lives Matter.” Ask these hate-filled, inhuman thugs to define “black,” “life,” or “matter,” as those terms are employed in that slogan, and you will...

The Rule of the Experts, Part One

An honest search for knowledge inevitably and necessarily opens out on other avenues of inquiry beyond the one originally embarked on. The moment one begins to feel “knowledgeable” about X, further questions present themselves — questions which, if examined with the same honesty with which you set out on the initial investigation, typically complicate the original knowledge. Specifically, the whole truth you seemed...

It’s the end, but…

We are watching something remarkable, namely a civilization committing suicide. Those of us who see clearly what is happening have traveled, in the course of just a few short weeks, through several stages of realization: from bemusement at people’s susceptibility to media manipulation, to frustration at their deference to excessive authority, to alarm at their willingness to sacrifice societal foundations in the name...

What Not to Do

Popular sages and life-advice dispensers are very good at issuing ready-made, one-size-fits-all commandments on how to live well. They tend not to be quite so good at following their own advice, however, partly for the obvious reason that most easily-synopsized “rules for living” must be kept so nebulous or generic in form that one who is clever enough, and motivated enough, will always...

The Soul’s Motive

What motivates? A feeling that we need something, without knowing quite what it is. If we knew what we needed, it would no longer have much power to move us — and hence, perhaps, we would no longer need it very much. From the preceding, we may conclude that all essential motivation is indirect. For there must be a thing we can point to...

Socrates on the View from Our Hollows

Several days ago, I wrote a short piece about Socrates’ description of the Earth to his companions, as he sat in his prison cell awaiting the hemlock. Today, as a spiritual escape from the moral prison formed of modern politics and the mass hysteria of coronavirus, I would like to reflect on one of the key themes of that famous episode in the...

Mind and Body

Who would not think, seeing us compose all things of mind and body, but that this mixture would be quite intelligible to us? Yet it is the very thing we least understand. Man is to himself the most wonderful object in nature; for he cannot conceive what the body is, still less what the mind is, and least of all how a body...