The Strange Life

Cherish the rare few who can see you. Above all, cherish them as living reminders that what makes a man worth seeing at all is precisely what makes him difficult to see.

Be strange, not by artifice or for show, but by nature and without shame. Explanation: Anything done for show is the opposite of genuine strangeness, for its aim, by definition, is acceptance, which is precisely what strangeness does not seek, for the quest for acceptance is at bottom a quest for normalcy. Hence, to be strange in the truest sense is never an act of flamboyance or chutzpah, never a play for influence or accolades, but rather the quietest manifestation of courage. And courage, as Aristotle teaches, is the virtue of standing upright against the fear of death, while quietness, as nature teaches, is the music of a soul that has abandoned the call of the marching band or the rebel yell, those stirring noises intended to drown out fear, rather than actually to defeat it. “Philosophy is practicing death,” as Socrates said, while awaiting the hemlock.

Accept that others will be perpetually disappointed in you for not being like them or doing as they do. But avoid the temptation to return the favor; for it is immature to imagine that they could be like you or do as you do.

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