People get into this condition [i.e., ignorance] through their own fault, by the slackness of their lives; i.e., they make themselves unjust or licentious by behaving dishonestly or spending their time in drinking and other forms of dissipation; for in every sphere of conduct people develop qualities corresponding to the activities they pursue.”
Plato and Aristotle were philosophers of Classical antiquity. Those who can read these ancient philosophers in the original Greek are better able to understand the fundamentals of art and science. To understand Plato and Aristotle is to hold a decisive intellectual advantage in all forms of discourse. The value of the ancients is hard to explain to the desiccated modern mind – which is often unable to place facts in their proper context. Modern life is very busy, very distracted. Modern man is trapped in the news cycle, unable to synthesize or unify his knowledge. The ancient science of seeing, weighing, and ordering has largely been lost to us. A modern thinker with access to the ancients, however, is like a man looking down from the top of a mountain. Those who know nothing of the ancients, having journalistic predilections, are only looking down from the foothills. It never occurs to them that there is a mountain to climb. Unlike his journalistic critics, Brazilian philosopher Olavo de Carvalho is someone who climbed that mountain.
Whoever argues for a restoration of values is sooner or later met with the objection that one cannot return, or as the phrase is likely to be, ‘you can’t turn the clock back.’ By thus assuming that we are prisoners of the moment, the objection well reveals the philosophic position of modernism.Richard M. Weaver
Richard M. Weaver was born on March 3, 1910 and died on April 1, 1963. He was a scholar and author whose work remains relevant today. Had he lived to the end of the Cold War, he would not have congratulated America on its supposed victory. Communism, he knew, was part of a deeper problem; that is, a philosophical and moral problem. The West was sliding into decadence. It was spiritually disintegrating. “Every man participating in a culture has three levels of conscious reflection,” noted Weaver: “his specific ideas about things, his general beliefs or convictions, and his metaphysical dream of the world.”
Lo, this is the tarantula’s den! Would’st thou see the tarantula itself? Here hangeth it’s web: touch this, so that it may tremble.Friedrich Nietzsche
Thus Spake Zarathustra, 29
Nietzsche wrote to the tarantulas: “Revenge is in thy soul; wherever thou bitest, there ariseth black scab….” The tarantulas of Nietzsche’s parable preach equality. But their preaching is not honest.
From ancient Chaldean and Hebrew sources (Gen. iv and part of x), we learn of a mythic age of giants and heroes — before the deluge. Today we eschew this prehistory. We do not believe in a lost Golden Age or the deluge that swept it away. We do not believe in Plato’s Timaeus and Critias, or in Polybius’ fragment on cosmic catastrophes that periodically annihilate civilization. We do not believe the Chaldean and Hebrew accounts of a great flood.
Most human beings … complain about the meanness of nature, because we are born for a brief span of life, and because this spell of time … rushes by so swiftly and rapidly that with very few exceptions life ceases … just when we are getting ready for it.Seneca
Seneca complained that ancient Rome’s degradation stemmed from people’s preoccupations. To rush around, without careful thought, was a waste of one’s life. To live, he said, is to be alive to the truth — to take account of reality. The problem with preoccupation, with ambition and career, is the way ambitious and preoccupied people disregard truth. After many years, instead of growing wiser, the ambitious man resembles a fool. He has not stopped to take account of his surroundings, or his associations, or his country, or the truth about himself.
Socialism will usher in a new era in this country. The great wealth of the United States will for the first time be for the benefit of all the people.Program of the Communist Party USA
Twenty-one years ago I was having coffee in Washington, DC, with former British MP John Browne, Newsmax chief editor Missy Kelly, and Col. Stanislav Lunev, a GRU defector to the United States. John was waxing eloquent on the idea that Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan had saved the West from socialism. As Missy showed interest in John’s thesis, Lunev leaned over and whispered in my ear, “I don’t understand this.” Lunev then added, “America is the Marxist paradise. Russia is dog-eat-dog capitalism.”
Solvent: something that eliminates or attenuates something especially unwanted.Merriam-Webster dictionary
Suppose we reject our God-given existence. What follows? The ungrateful creature, eager to thwart his Creator, would have to concoct an antidote to existence — a universal solvent — with which to dissolve Universal Being.
….I believe there is a style of mind that is far from new and that is not necessarily right-wing. I call it the paranoid style simply because no other word adequately evokes the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy that I have in mind.Richard Hofstadter
The prevalence of paranoid personality disorder in the general population has been estimated at around 4.5 percent. In effect, the United States is home to over 14 million paranoids. But there is another category of persons, of indeterminate number, who indulge paranoid thoughts without being clinically paranoid. These are the people Richard Hofstadter described as evincing a “paranoid style” of political thought.
We possess art lest we perish of the Truth.Nietzsche
In his wandering meditations on German thinkers and artists, Erich Heller asks, “Has the ugliness of the ugly truth increased so drastically since Plato’s time that now anyone associating truth with beauty commits a philosophical felony?”
There are many approaches to the subject of ethics. Aristotle said that we do not naturally possess goodness of character. Only by obedience to rules of valid conduct do we acquire such goodness. Does our national security establishment even know what goodness is? And was it right to assassinated General Soleimani?
Consciousness should defend its reason and protect itself, and the chaotic life of the unconscious should be given the chance of having its way too – as much of it as we can stand. This means open conflict and open collaboration at once. That, evidently, is the way human life should be. It is the old game of hammer and anvil: between them the patient iron is forged into an indestructible whole, an ‘individual.’Carl Jung
It is embarrassing to have a logical premise dismantled in a dream; but that is exactly what happened over the holidays. My previous column, published on 23 December, was titled “Left and Right as Cosmological Systems.” My premise was that left and right symbolize good and evil respectively.
What is the right, and what is the left? Do they represent economic interests? Are they mere political designations? Might they signify metaphysical or moral doctrines? What if the answer is — all the above? What if left and right were grounded in two opposing cosmological ideas? (Cosmology being a theory or belief about the origin of the universe.)
—And I saw a great sadness descend on mankind. The best grew weary of their works. A doctrine appeared, accompanied by faith: ‘All is empty, all is one, all is past!’ And from all the hills it echoed: ‘All is empty, all is one, all is past!’ Indeed we have harvested: but why did all our fruit turn rotten and brown? What fell down from the evil moon last night? In vain was all our work; our wine has turned to poison; an evil eye has seared our fields and hearts. We have all become dry…. All our wells have dried up; even the sea has withdrawn. All the soil would crack, but the depth refuses to devour. ‘Alas, where is there still a sea in which one might drown?’ Thus are we wailing across shallow swamps.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra
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Our great shame — the shame of the present generation — is how we have been fooled: first, by the supposed collapse of communism; second, by our tolerance for the promises of socialist politicians who deny they are socialists; and third, into tolerating a bogus set of claims that should have been struck down as madness— like today’s gender and race obsession, like the politics of climate change, like our culture’s romance with the homosexual and the transsexual. It is, as Nietzsche intuited, a shallow swamp in which we hear the refrain, “Everything is empty, everything is one, everything is past.” It is the crisis of European nihilism.