I never understood the pull of her poem till a few days ago when I made my first successful attempt to look up. People will cause you immense pain. But when you accept that pain, and there is no shortcut on how do that — I had to try for years unendingly and was lucky to have the help of many friends, there is an intense sense of weightless freedom and a great sadness, because for the very first time, you have a panoramic glimpse of the ocean of your grief and frustration and resentment.
How can I protect myself from newsporn every evening? I lose an hour surfing CNN, NYT, Breitbart, Drudge, Kevin Drum, and so on.
I have to protect my soul. I need to spend an hour daydreaming. When I was a child I could do that effortlessly.
Why is it so hard now?
The book, by Bernard Roth, is utterly honest, remarkably so re: his emotional relationship with his wife. So it is moving with the touching guilelessness of a very very smart engineer, which the author is.
The human insights of the book only serve to show what exceptional investigators of the human condition men like Hume, Kant, Schopenhauer were. They went so much further than anything you see today in productivity porn books. And they said it all. But perhaps going that far is inimical to $.
So professional schools are forced to stop at some arbitrary $ point and say this is the human purpose of it all. Philosophers and mathematicians have no such restraint.
I love to jab people who have more fame than me. I am actually good at jabbing. I know where these people are weak and I am strong; so I know how to attack. These people ignore me — because they are famous and I am not — but I know that my jabs do the job.
I never jab people whose intellect I truly respect.
Sometimes, my friends accuse me of jabbing them. I feel my conscience is clear here, for my jabbings are directed at those who feel it’s beneath their dignity to respond. Furthermore, with friends, I feel I should tell the truth and not avoid what I see as the white elephant.
My friend asked me the other day: what joy do you get from jabbing? Do you desire or resent their fame? You must, for why else would you do it.
I am sure of this: I don’t want their lives or their life choices. I would die rather than be them.
So why the jabs? I know I want to and enjoy making them feel bad about themselves. But why?
Maybe part of me does want their fame. But I never resent the fame of those whose intellect I respect. Am I a fame Puritan?
So I asked the person who I trust the most on these matters, my mom. She said I jab at people who’ve deeply hurt me in some way or the other. Once I heal, she said, my jabbings will cease.
I sadly realized that the wisdom of most business professors is rooted in fear. The wisdom of true change agents from Jesus to Joesph Smith is rooted in celebration. These men recognized their inner Schopenhauer: they had no freedom but to do what they were meant to do. There are countless others like that, from human rights lawyers in China to aspiring artists.
Capitalism needs fearful people to serve the needs of the fearless. That’s its inherent contradiction.
The drop in stock prices made me appreciate anew the value of accumulating knowledge, as every philosopher from Plato on has never tired of repeating.
That is the only way to live with Schopenhauer.