Tagged: self-knowledge

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...

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...

Gratitude

A student sent me a text message this morning with the following question: “Would it be good for me to feel grateful to a person who gave me pain?” Without knowing the specific context she had in mind, I replied: “If the person gave you pain while trying to help you, then yes. If the person gave you pain while trying to harm...

Learning and Teaching

In my recent “Reflections From A Great Distance,” I compared the thinking life to backing away from a mirror. Seeing yourself too close up exaggerates one’s perception of the immediate foreground of life, the accidental details of the moment — flaws, errors, pleasures, excitements, fears, frustrations, and all the rest of the transient and noisy. As you back away, those accidental details of...

Reflections From A Great Distance

As you back away from a mirror, your reflection becomes smaller, and therefore less minutely detailed — but also, in another sense, more complete and true, due to the widening context. For a man seeking the truest image of himself, the goal is to hone his eyesight and maintain perfect focus, while viewing his reflection in ever more distant surfaces. The smaller he...

On Loneliness and Understanding

As I write this, it is still the early hours of a temporally indefinable election aftermath in the United States. In this age, there is perhaps no sharper focus in which a thoughtful person may observe his own soul than an election time, as there is never a moment when the extent of such a person’s isolation is clearer than when everyone around...

(Probably) Final Observations on THE ELECTION, and Beyond

The old “binary choice” fraud is universal truth in America at last; that’s the real fraud in all of this, Trumpsters, and it is a fraud that your idol’s operators have perpetrated against you,¬†as they have been scheming to do for a generation. Consider: Trump vs. Biden, as advertised, never existed. On election night (or its months-long early ballot surrogate), polls and slogans...

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...