I pity the poor activist for whom the real is exhausted by the political. But I detest these totalitarians as well since they seek to elide the boundary between the private and the public.
We need to battle them in the very sphere they think exhausts the real. But it is and must be a part-time fight, lest we become like them. Most of life for us conservatives must be given over to the enjoyment and appreciation, in private, of the apolitical: nature, for example, and nature's God.
Worry and regret form a pair in that each involves flight from the present; worry flees the present toward an unknown future, regret toward an unchangeable past. The door to Reality, however, is hinged on the axis of the Now. If access is to be had to the nunc stans it is only via the nunc movens. Past and future are but representations in comparison to the reality of the moving now.
George Mallory fell to his death in 1924 while attempting to scale Everest. His body was found in 1999. It remains a mystery whether he summited.
Now one can admire Mallory's courage, dedication, and perseverance. But one must question the value of the goal he set for himself. Arguably, he threw his life away attempting a merely physical feat. He spent his incarnation pursuing self-glorification for a merely physical accomplishment.
How much more noble the mountain climbers of the spirit like Buddha, Socrates, and Jesus who attempted to surmount, not a hunk of rock, but the human predicament!
I happen to live in Beirut and feel safe enough in the Christian area, which is the eastern quarter of the city along with big chunks of Mt. Lebanon and the coastal area as far north asTripoli, which is a Sunni hotbed.
I've asked a lot of Lebanese Christians if they feel safe. They worry more about Sunnis than Shia, and they are especially worried about the de facto resettlement here of a million Syrian refugees, who are mostly Sunnis. There's no love lost between the Christians and Hizbollah, which is Shia, but there is an unspoken toleration of it as long as Hizbollah helps keep Lebanon a ISIS-free zone. The security at Beirut airport, for example, is almost certainly penetrated by Hizbullah partisans. Most Lebanese see that as a line of defense against ISIS bomb-smugglers.
Safety is a relative concept. I wish my reader the best. Twenty years ago I spent a year in Turkey in Ankara, the capital. We travelled all over. I wouldn't risk living in Turkey nowadays or travelling all over. I would only feel safe now with a quick in and out to Antalya or Bodrum or one of the other seaside resort towns.
The magnificent Graeco-Roman, Christian, and other antiquities in Turkey! I am glad I got to see them at Hierapolis, Ephesus, Cappadocia, and so many places. It is sickening to think of them being destroyed by jihadi savages. Remember what they did to the Buddhist statuary? Recently. the destruction in Palmyra. Have the archeologists spoken out?
In chess, the object of the game is clear, the rules are fixed and indisputable, and there is always a definite outcome (win, lose, or draw) about which no controversy can arise. In philosophy, the object and the rules are themselves part of what is in play, and there is never an incontrovertible result.
So I need both of these gifts of the gods. Chess to recuperate from the uncertainty of philosophy, and philosophy to recuperate from the sterility of chess.
To be neither poor nor rich is best for the truth seeker. The poor can think only of their poverty and its alleviation, the rich of their wealth and its preservation. The few exceptions 'prove' the rule.
When we master desire and aversion in the present we mortify what will soon be dead in any case.
"That may be appropriate wisdom for you, old man, but I'm in the full flood of my youth and vigor. I love, hate, and live passionately. Why should I mortify what will be dead? I should further enliven what is now alive!"
As magnificent a subject as philosophy is, grappling as it does with the ultimate concerns of human existence, and thus surpassing in nobility all other human pursuits, it is also miserable in that nothing goes uncontested, and nothing ever gets established to the satisfaction of all competent practitioners. The magnificence and misery of philosophy reflect the magnificence and misery of its author man, who, neither animal nor angel, is the tension between the two and a question mark to himself.
Magnificent in aspiration, philosophy is yet miserable in execution.
One reason to try to 'make it' is to come to appreciate, by succeeding, that worldly success cannot be a final goal of legitimate human striving. 'Making it' frees one psychologically and allows one to turn one's attention to worthier matters. He who fails is dogged by a sense of failure whereas he who succeeds is in a position to appreciate the ultimate insignificance of both success and failure, not that most of the successful ever do. Their success traps them. Hence the sad spectacle of the old coot, a good flight of stairs away from a major coronary event, scheming and angling for more loot and land when in the end a man needs only -- six feet.
Natural science pursued for its own sake is a magnificent and noble thing. But in the end one ought to consider whether it is but a high-minded diversion, an extremely high-level form of Pascalian divertissement.
As contemporary 'liberals' become ever more extreme, they increasingly assume what I will call the political burden of proof. The onus is now on them to defeat the presumption that they are so morally and intellectually obtuse as not to be worth talking to.