Category Archives: Philosophy

Theory as Reality Check

“Study has been to me a sovereign remedy against the vexations of life, having never had an annoyance that one hour’s reading did not dissipate.”—Montesquieu Sometimes we need to step back from the mundane routine of life and take things … Continue reading

Posted in Eric Voegelin, Philosophy, Politics

Silent Friends

There are some passages in Kierkegaard’s essay “Be Satisfied with Being Human” which contain marvelous insights. Speaking of sorrow and commiseration, the Danish writer notes that [E]veryone who sorrows… is perhaps also tempted to impatience and does not want to … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Religion

Rethinking Political Science

The best known volume by Eric Voegelin is The New Science of Politics (1952). His discussion of philosophical and revolutionary “gnosticism” is the most popularized aspect of the work; however, in this post I want to examine the concept of … Continue reading

Posted in Eric Voegelin, History, Philosophy, Politics

Ernst Jünger as Cultural “Anarch”

I have been working my way through a rare, and very rewarding, series of conversations with Ernst Jünger, the First World War hero and author. The volume, The Details of Time (1995), was published toward the end of the writer’s … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Culture, Literature, Philosophy

Enlightened Skepticism

Israeli philosopher Yoram Hazony has penned an interesting essay in The Wall Street Journal (“The Dark Side of the Enlightenment”) about Stephen Pinker’s Enlightenment Now. I have not read the volume in question, but the fact that Bill Gates calls … Continue reading

Posted in History, Philosophy

The Observant Traveler

English writer Hilaire Belloc was observant not only in his travels, but also in his journey through life. Consider the essay “On Wandering” in Places (1941): A man wanders in order to entertain himself with new discoveries and experiences…. But … Continue reading

Posted in Hilaire Belloc, Literature, Philosophy

Detectives and Philosophers

I picked up a new set of the Bantam two volume edition of Sherlock Holmes to replace the tattered copies acquired during my college days. I started with “A Study in Scarlet” a  novella length story, published in the 1887 … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Literature, Philosophy

A Habit of Silence

“And over and above all else we must keep at hand… the saying of Simonides, that he had often repented of speaking, but never of holding his tongue.”—Plutarch The idea of talking (or writing) about silence is admittedly ripe with … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Plutarch

Some Notes on Living

The time that I have not spent recently in blogging has been devoted to an online course on Communist Russia. Taking a momentary break, and picking through my accumulated notes from recent weeks’ reading, I thought this comment by Samuel … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Religion, Samuel Johnson, Stoicism

Humanity, Ideology and Individual Destiny

“There may be community… of material possessions, but there can never be community of love or of esteem.”—Samuel Johnson, Rasselas Continuing my reading of French philosopher Raymond Aron, I came across some passages which confirm the age-old insight that humanity’s … Continue reading

Posted in Existentialism, Philosophy, Politics, Religion