Friday, September 29, 2006

Popular Endorsement

The great benefit of endorsing a popular ideal is that you can make a conspicuous show of your own goodness for nobody's benefit but your own.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Expand and Contract

Sympathy is a finite emotion. The vision of ever-expanding rings of sympathy, which the Stoics made much of in the ancient world and Peter Singer makes much of today, has no foundation in human nature. The attempt to force ourselves to feel sympathy for those who exist outside our natural range will not increase our humanity. In fact it will do just the opposite, because if we expend our compassion on people we never meet, we will tend conversely toward indifference in our actual interactions.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Ton of Bricks

Why is it that writing in this age has to be full of bad metaphors in order to be considered good? Evidently something's own essence isn't enough. It has to be like something else, even if the comparison is ill-conceived.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Local Act

It is the goal of our society to give us a sense of fear and awe before its ideals. How well does it succeed? Do you find yourself for instance, in your attempts to achieve local social acceptance, casually upholding and promoting the ideal of universal equality? If so, do you do it because you actually believe in it? Do you understand why? How intimate are you with your own inclinations?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Is There a Recipe for This?

The truth frequently means nothing to a human being until it has been interpreted in processed terms. As a result, the truth and its interpretation have often been mistaken for one another. “The truth is a social construct,” goes the familiar cry. This is close enough to being true to have become extremely influential; but the interpretation, not the truth itself, follows the social construct. The truth is raw, the interpretation processed. Those who propose to deconstruct the truth are doing no such thing. They are merely deconstructing the interpretation according to an assumed and of course rejected social recipe, whether it lies behind it or not, in order to promote their own preferred recipe in its place.