Tagged: writing

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...

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...

Principles of Writing

A thoughtful Korean student who frequently reads my writing, and to whom I recently mentioned my essay about the disappearing craft of handwriting, “Are We Solving the Mystery of Atlantis?” sends me the following thought: “I want to understand the writing on your website. It’s not easy, but I like that it’s not what everyone can get easily.” To which I reply as...

What Independence Means: A Personal View

I once had more readers in any given week than Nietzsche and Kierkegaard had in their entire lives, combined. I lost all those readers by choice, or rather I should say by lack of any agreeable alternative. The thought of “keeping them” was revolting, given what I would have had to do to myself to achieve that end. I now write — as...

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...

Heraclitus and Writing

Pigs delight in the mire more than in clean water. (Heraclitus, Fragment 13) As a writer, I believe I have consistently striven to find the clean water. But striving and succeeding are two different things, and all searches begin in the fog. Hence, I concede that I may, in spite of my best intentions, have had “my moment among the pigs” — which...

So you want to be a writer?

Yesterday, as occasionally happens, a good student who has maintained a regular correspondence with me even after graduation, and who is an avid reader of modern and classic literature, sent me this simple message regarding her future prospects: “I think I want to be a writer.” The following is my reply. What does that mean, “I want to be a writer”? A writer...

A Devil Speaks

Many are cheering on Rand Paul in his demand that Anthony Fauci be fired for his role in funding gain-of-function research at the Wuhan lab and then repeatedly denying this fact to the U.S. Congress. Is it wrong for me to hope that Fauci will never be fired, and on the contrary that he will continue to live in the public eye —...

Reflections on Writing and Writers

Anyone who writes for attention is not a real writer. Writing is spiritualized hiding. It is no accident that Shakespeare, the greatest of all writers, is the one about whose life and person we know the least. He wrote dozens of the most magnificent works in literary history, and yet we are not certain who he was — or even whether he was....

New Year’s Resolutions

Try not to hate humans en masse, no matter how infuriatingly inhuman and inhumane they collectively become. Remind myself every day that a population raised from earliest childhood to belittle itself and aggrandize the state can hardly be expected to view itself and the world any differently than in accordance with its lifelong training. Consider humanity, for at least ten minutes a day,...