Tagged: thought

Reflections On Living Seriously

I dislike surprises of the sort that are imposed upon one by other people — surprise visits, surprise parties, surprise invitations, and the like. The reason is simple: I do not waste time, and therefore experience imposed surprises not as welcome salvation from life’s tedium, but as an interruption of something I had previously judged to be essentially worthwhile or necessary in favor...

Reflections on Thinking For An Audience

Public Intellectual.— Your mind shrinks to the size of your audience. The more frequently you accept the artificial self-reduction of speaking to please the smallminded — or rather the more you invite the spiritual diminution of needing to please them — the more likely it is to become a permanent condition, such that you gradually become less able to expand your thoughts back...

Reflections on Language and Thought

If a man just can’t stand metaphors and wishes to ban figurative language from the marketplace of ideas, one should approach that man’s own words and thoughts — especially his best and most interesting ones — as having been conceived and expressed under the peculiar misapprehension that his own metaphors (including and especially his most extraordinary ones) were literal statements. Paradoxically, some of...

Theory of Recollection

You cannot do what you have never attempted. You cannot attempt what you have never imagined. You cannot imagine what you have never seen. You cannot see what your faculties have never sought out. You cannot seek out what you have never desired. You cannot desire what you have never thought of. You cannot think of what you have never experienced. You cannot...

Collecting Planets

I have a city-dwelling student who has recently begun to take a keen interest in the special wonders of the night sky. She sometimes sends me urgent messages to alert me to a perfect crescent moon, or to ask me which star is shining so bright on the horizon this evening. On a couple of occasions, the objects she is noticing, as though...

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...