Tagged: wisdom

On Shrinking

The more uniform and repetitive the conversation, the more any alternative or outlying opinion sounds like irrational extremism.

The more everyone is encouraged to speak, the less most people have to say — and the less audible above the din is anyone who does have something to say….

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….

Writing for the Age: Three Questions

Should I try to write more comfortingly? But I am of a nature to find comfort only in reality, and indeed to find the greatest comfort there. The kind of comfort that masks what is immediately unappealing to face, or that simplifies what is inherently difficult to comprehend, is false comfort, and therefore the most dangerous obstacle to learning and freedom — that...

True Dichotomies

Anything that cannot be justified as contributing to the advance of my ultimate human goal — the glimpse of eternity, a share of wisdom, god-like happiness, call it what you will — must be regarded as an obstacle and liability, and therefore rejected or actively diminished in significance in my life, as the case admits. It is the easiest thing in the world,...

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...

Activism, Progress, and Thought

A young man should speak only in the form of questions, at least in public, while issuing his opinionated outbursts in private, preferably alone. To be perfectly clear, this is not to say that he should form no opinions, but only that he should be discouraged in every possible way, including through a well-honed sense of secrecy, from expressing them to anyone, let...

Afraid To Ask

“If I have 80% understanding and 20% ignorance about a topic, then I think it will be easy to form questions about my ignorance, but in this case, I think I have 10% understanding and 90% ignorance, so it is not easy to even form a proper question, because I’m not sure if it is a good question to help my understanding.”

Questions

Increasingly, we are becoming a world without questions. A world that cannot ask questions, both in the sense that the most humanly necessary questions are subject to restrictions and public mockery precisely to the extent that they are humanly necessary, and in the sense — far more decisive in the long run — that we no longer have the desire to ask these...

Losing Control, Gaining Control

The most dehumanizing aspect of enslavement is the sense of completely losing control of one’s essential actions, i.e., of having one’s realm of practical choice, such as it is, reduced to the inessential and transitory. The most desperate aspect of incremental enslavement is the awareness that one is in the process of losing control of one’s essential actions. The most infuriating aspect of...

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...