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, and the most common, to fool oneself on this matter — it typically takes a lifetime’s dedication to even begin to unfool oneself in this regard. But the ultimate fool is the one who chooses the easiest path, which is to ignore the matter altogether.

People who wish to reform the world to end hurt feelings and the pains of exclusion are in effect trying to end the conditions that made Heraclitus, Plato, Dante, Swift, Nietzsche, Frederick Douglass, and Emily Dickinson possible. One ought to face that fact squarely every time one hears of someone, or some group, trying to banish a hurtful or “oppressive” word or idea from the classroom, from a book, or from one’s own mouth and mind. Those sensitive souls are trying to eliminate from life the conditions that might allow the development of a new Heraclitus, Plato, Dante, Swift, Nietzsche, Douglass, or Dickinson — and above all to eliminate those conditions from their own lives.

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