Saturday, September 24, 2022


 Worked so well last year, thought we would try again.

Counter-cultural again...........?

 Meantime, much of American society’s genuine intellectual, artistic, and comedic energy—the kind of creative fire that draws bright young minds—has migrated to the Right. As the populist academic Michael Lind recently argued, “If you are an intelligent and thoughtful young American, you cannot be a progressive public intellectual today, any more than you can be a cavalry officer or a silent movie star,” since at this point “intellectual life on the American center-left is dead.” The spirit of adventure and debate that once drove the Left has, as he wrote, “been replaced by compulsory assent and ideas have been replaced by slogans that can be recited but not questioned,” while the mainstream marketplace of ideas is now filled with “the ritualized gobbledygook of foundation-funded single-issue nonprofits like a pond choked by weeds.”

N. S. Lyons, as cut-and-pasted from here


Checking in......................................

........................................with Morgan Housel:

The line between "inspiringly bold" and "foolishly reckless" can be a millimeter thick and only visible with hindsight.

We have brains that prefer easy answers without much appetite for nuance.

. . . financial success is not a hard science.  It's a soft skill where how you behave is more important than what you know.

There is no reason to risk what you have and need for what you don't have and don't need.

A plan is only useful if it can survive reality.  And a future filled with unknowns is everyone's reality.

Napoleon's definition of a military genius was, "The man who can do the average thing when all those around him are going crazy."

-all snippets from his book, The Psychology of Money


 At a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island, Kurt Vonnegut informs his pal, Joseph Heller, that their host, a hedge fund manager, had made more money in a single day than Heller had earned from his wildly popular novel Catch-22 over its whole history.  Heller responds,“Yes, but I have something he will never have — ENOUGH.”

-as culled from here

better cogs....................

"The spirit of the times is one of joyless urgency," writes the essayist Marilynne Robinson, who observes that many of us spend our lives "preparing ourselves and our children to be means to inscrutable ends that are utterly not our own."  Our struggle to stay on top of everything may serve someone's interests; working longer hours—and using any extra income to buy more consumer goods—turns us into better cogs in the economic machine.  But it doesn't result in peace of mind, or lead us to spend more of our finite time on those people and things we care most deeply about. 

-Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Truth and consequences.............

.................from this Martin Gurri essay:

This may be the proper place to bring up a question first raised by Nietzsche: Is truth at war with life? For all his irony, Nietzsche was an extreme Romantic who exalted strength and the instincts as the “will to power”—the great myth-making impulse that engendered meaning and dignity both for a civilization and the individual. To this end he opposed the “will to truth,” which he held to be cold, rational, instinct-denying and myth-destroying. That was the particular disease of the Western world, which “proposes as its ideal the theoretical man equipped with the greatest forces of knowledge, and laboring in the service of science, whose archetype and progenitor is Socrates.” The rise of theoretical man meant the death of the Christian God and a paralytical incapacity to pursue any other high ideal. The examined life, in that sense, was the affirmation of decadence and death.

Such notions may sound paradoxical, if not preposterous, to a modern hipster, but I make it an iron rule always to take Nietzsche seriously. Consider: Science is a neutral method, not a value system. It’s not by coincidence that scientists served monsters like Hitler and Stalin with as much loyalty and brilliance as they have dedicated to democracy. Heroic materialism as a way of life, which science ordains, typically degenerates into hedonism—the love of money and things. Obsessive self-examination leads directly to the mirror of Narcissus. A society built on self-worship has no conceivable future.

In a perfect world...........................

 .............Policymakers would have more humility.

-Arnold Kling, as cut and pasted from here

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


 The harm that is done to education by politics arises chiefly from two sources: first, that the interests of some partial group are placed before the interests of mankind; second, that there is too great of love of uniformity both in the herd and in the bureaucrat.  Of these two evils, the first is at present the greater; but if the first were overcome, the second might become very grave.

-Bertrand Russell, from his 1932 essay on The Reconciliation of Individuality and Citizenship

Never give up....................

 ....................... a story of lifeitsownself here.

Monday, September 19, 2022

keep a sharp eye..............

 [1]  If you forfeit an external possession, make sure to notice what you get in return.  If it is something more valuable, never say, 'I have suffered a loss.'  [2] It is no loss if  you get a horse in return for an ass, cattle for sheep, a kind act for a little money, real peace in place of idle chatter, decency in exchange for vulgarity.

     [3] Bear this in mind and you will everywhere preserve your proper character; forget it and I assure you that your time here will be a waste, and whatever care you are now expending on yourself will go down the drain.  [4] Very little is needed for everything to be upset and ruined, only a slight lapse in reason.  [5] It's much easier for a mariner to wreck his ship that it is for him to keep it sailing safely; all he has to do is head a little more upwind and disaster is instantaneous.  In fact, he does not have to do anything: a momentary loss of attention will produce the same results.

     [6]  It's much the same in our case.  If you doze off, all your progress up to that point will be negated.  [7] So keep a sharp eye on your impressions, and never fall asleep.  It is no small thing that is being watched over, it equates with honesty, trustworthiness and stability.  It is freedom from passion, grief, fear and consternation - it is freedom itself.

     [8] What are you going to get when you trade your freedom away?  Check to see what your proud new possessions will be  worth.

-Epictetus, Discourses, Book IV

by chance..........................

'Chance' is a poor word among
the mazes of causes and effects, the last
stand of these all-explainers who,
backed up to the first and final Why,
reply, “By chance, of course!” As if
that tied up ignorance with a ribbon.
In the beginning something by chance
existed that would bang and by chance
it banged, obedient to the by-chance
previously existing laws of existence
and banging, from which the rest proceeds
by logic of cause and effect also
previously existing by chance? Well,
when all that happened who was there?
Did the chance that made the bang then make
the Bomb, and there was no choice, no help?
Prove to me that chance did ever
make a sycamore tree, a yellow-
throated warbler nesting and singing
high up among the white limbs
and the golden leaf-light, and a man
to love the tree, the bird, the song
his life long, and by his love to save
them, so far, from all the machines.
By chance? Prove it, then, and I
by chance will kiss your ass.

-Wendell Berry,  While Attending the Annual Convocation of Cause Theorists and Bigbangists at the Local Provincial Research University, The Mad Farmer Intercedes from the Back Row