Tagged: philosophy

Surface and Depth

The great modern error, resulting from the spiritual dialectic of modernity: desire as depth. Thesis: Reason is a calculative response to the imperatives of passion; hence the passions comprise the original “state of nature.” Antithesis: If passion is our original nature, then reason, which dilutes or repurposes passion, is a corruption of nature. Synthesis: Desire is reality; reason is merely the deforming mask...

Too Embarrassed to Live

We do not know why we are here. Hence, every expression of disinterest — and worse, every dismissive certainty – about this question bespeaks a detachment from life itself. There is no life without definition. There is no definition without essence. There is no essence without purpose. “Why are we here?” To the extent that this question has become a laughingstock, a joke...

Wisdom In Context

All thought, as expressed, is in part a temperamental response to circumstances. Thus it is a mistake to imagine any single great thought is The Thought, unless it be a thought arisen from universal circumstances. This is why all searches eventually return to Greece, which, partly due to its being the first flower of mature poetry, philosophy, and politics, appeals to all thinking...

Patience Worn Thin

A headline I just read, from the Washington Post: ‘Patience has worn thin’: Frustration mounts over vaccine holdouts My patience has worn thin with propagandized “frustration” against any human being who believes he still has the right to make his own decisions, and judge his own needs. My patience has worn thin with people who assume you will believe exactly what they believe...

Reflections on Infinity and Meaning

If the universe were infinite, everything of which it is comprised would by necessity be infinitesimal, and a universe of incalculable vastness thus comprised of an array of incalculably small components — with both the incalculably small components and the incalculably vast whole becoming increasingly so (small and vast, respectively), without end. In such a condition, everything — both the world and its...

The Freedom You Have

Montaigne wore a medallion around his neck engraved with the words, “What do I know?” It was his way of continually reminding himself of the necessary humility at the heart of the sometimes hubristic philosophic quest. My version of Montaigne’s medallion is the home screen of my cell phone, which, for about six months, has been adorned with my customized welcome message, “I...

Random Thoughts on The End of Man

Plato’s Republic belongs to a world without smartphones. Smartphones belong to a world without Plato’s Republic. The difference is that Plato’s Republic can explain smartphones, whereas smartphones cannot explain Plato’s Republic.

Every time I notice something interesting, beautiful, or fascinating, my attention is almost immediately distracted by humans interfering with my point of view.

Meandering Toward Eternity

To be eternal is not to live through an endlessly long time, but to live through no time. It is not like writing every book in the world, or counting every number to infinity, but rather like writing a single word that implies all books, or thinking “one” not as the beginning of a series but as all numbers simultaneously. To be eternal...

Culture vs. Self-Knowledge

The word “culture,” as used with reference to human societies or societal customs, has been one of the key theoretical constructs in late modernity’s assault on being. I never use it, except in the most casual conversational context, without the qualification that the term is artificial, names an idea that is not only ill-defined but perhaps indefinable, and runs counter to the basic...

Guidance and Independence

It is not weak, nor any contradiction of the desire for independence, to look to others’ opinions in assessing one’s own thoughts and behavior. The mistake or weakness is in looking to others’ opinions at random — looking to the crowd, or to the popular, or to the powerful. One has already made a great advance in self-knowledge and independence who is able...