I am not ashamed to talk to them and ask them to explain their actions and they, out of kindness, answer me. Four hours go by without feeling any anxiety. I forget every worry. I am no longer afraid of poverty or frightened of death. I live entirely through them.

When I come to find these little fragments of honesty, of truth — in unexpected places — the darkest cavities in my heart are suddenly filled up with a bright light.

Read Article →

The ‘well-born’ felt themselves to be the ‘happy’; they did not have to establish their happiness artificially by examining their enemies, or to persuade themselves, deceive themselves, that they were happy

Eugenics, then, is simply about having a “good beginning.” And a good beginning doesn’t necessarily have to involve having some supposed “superior biology.” In the truest sense of the word, it’s about being born into a better culture, a better society – in short, a better world.

Read Article →

Indeed, it might be a basic characteristic of existence that those who would know it completely would perish, in which case the strength of a spirit should be measured according to how much of the “truth” one could still barely endure-

Now, to return once again to Nietzsche and to comprehend him: the greater the crime, the greater the strength of the spirit must be, in order to endure the truth of the “what I am.” Well, what are we? To Nietzsche, we are a mixture. To use a metaphor, we are a mixture of “good and evil” – that is, we are a mixture of the IS and the IS-not.

My preferred way to say this same thing would be put it this way: there is an entire Pantheon of Greek gods living inside of us. But perhaps that is more confusing, and I am making too light of a grave situation, too quickly.

Read Article →

A bold venture is not a high-flown phrase, not an exclamatory outburst, but painstaking labour. However daring, a bold venture is not a violent call to action but a quiet dedication that receives nothing in advance but stakes everything.

I interpret Søren’s message to be that: a world based solely on knowledge and evidence can lead only to despair, because knowledge and evidence are actually incomplete and unstable (being non-absolute). But faith (!) – oh, it gives a person a certain kind of confidence because faith is decisive, absolute, and complete. There is no other qualification to make it what it is.

Read Article →

But the son of Cronus, Zeus, stole Glaucus’ wits away. He traded his gold armor for bronze with Diomedes, the worth of a hundred oxen just for nine.

I think the best way to make sense of this, is to understand Homer through metaphor, rather than to take him literally. The “gold armor” represents immortal fame. The “bronze armor” represents the mortal life. When Homer tells us that the “gold armor” is worth over eleven times that of the “bronze armor,” he is actually comparing the relative value of immortal fame with that of the mortal life. In the age of Homer, immortal fame was something worth dying for – eleven times over, even.

Read Article →

One person who does have understanding is often more powerful than a multitude who don’t.

Yes, he was the teacher to a very ambitious young man, but Alexander’s military successes rested uniquely on his acquisition of Herodotus’ ‘Histories’ – which turned into an Ancient Wiki-leaks in the hands of Alexander. So, yes, Aristotle passed on the intel that was originally gifted to the Greeks, but he failed to pass on the “σωφροσύνη” (self-control) of the Greeks to go along with it. As far as I can tell, I would judge that Aristotle failed in being a teacher. For, all he did was to give an impressionable young man a loaded gun without the wisdom to know when to use it.

Read Article →

It was very important not to pretend to understand what you didn’t understand and that you must always be honest with yourself inside, whatever happens.

In her book, Addams says that one must always be honest with oneself, and that one mustn’t pretend to understand things one didn’t. When I read that, the simplicity of her words shocked me. It was true, of course. But it took me years to learn it on my own. Decades. And she said it so naturally, and so simply – so honestly.

Read Article →