It is often the guiltiest conscience which speaks the loudest and most often.
A temporary hell of one’s own making is preferable to an eternal heaven resting on another’s whim.
It is only human for someone who ascribes wholly to liberalism (as they understand it) to also be convinced that the alternatives are fascism, nazism, and communism. After all, we project ourselves on the world out of necessity.
And they are not necessarily wrong in their belief about the alternatives.
But when that conviction is so prevalent and entrenched as to become a blind spot, then you have the curious phenomenon of people who think that anything different to their point of view (liberalism notwithstanding), no matter how slight, necessarily leads to the alternative extremes.
This is what happens when an idea is conflated with the person (or people) who ascribe to it or opine to — when they think they embody it and so what they say about it is true, indubitable, perfect and incapable of objection.
Ideas are always spoilt by people and ever it was thus.
Why? — Because ideas organise people and people crave power.
A: Why is beauty so important?
B: That question is meaningless, but let me try to answer it from the spirit in which you asked it.
Because beauty does not discriminate in its relation to you, in how it affects you.
Beauty uplifts you, irrespective of who you are.
If you are a depressive through and through, beauty will uplift your depression and sharpen that state in you. In beauty, you will find reasons to be depressed and feel justified in doing so.
If you are ambitious through and through, beauty will incite that ambition. In beauty, you will find reasons to be ambitious and feel justified in doing so.
But does beauty care for what you make of it? Certainly, not.
Beauty is a stimulant, spiritual fuel, which asks no questions about the engine which it supplies. And so, throughout the ages, it has inspired the worst and the best of human beings — without asking any questions and without being apportioned any blame.
In a word, beauty is morally neutral — and, perhaps, so it should be…?
A failed man is as good as his humility — and that humility is as beautiful as its appearance as a calm repose in the face of his failure, not as a pain in whose presence he crumbles, or goes in on himself, or looks away in disgust or anger or hatred or fear . . .
Who would have thought that from humility can grow a towering, oak-like strength with shimmering branches of calm, which we associate with wisdom and maturity — we find its most beautiful appearance in men, generally irrespective of age.
But it is common in older men, in whom ambition is tempered by the enlightenment and foresight which the paradoxical marriage of death with long life ushers in.
Men who age badly carry a wounded humility or, its sibling, a defensive vanity — and nobody sees or knows it better and more deeply, nobody feels it more fully and is more affected by it than the women who love them.
Don’t believe me — get out of your shell and start connecting deeply with people, start speaking to people about something other than superficial, political and ideological categories and concepts which dominate our common discourse.
Start to feel people and look past their words and propositions, observe their emotions, their reactions, their behaviours, their choices . . . Feel people.
Beware of a delicious, self-righteous temptation — to justify your malice by the paranoid assumption that another’s intention is malicious.
Sometimes, we justify malicious deeds by construing them as self-defensive, as reactions to others, as though we are the victims who must protect themselves.
At that moment, we become the malicious individual(s) from whose intentions we try to protect ourselves.
How do we overcome this temptation? Admit that you can be malicious and, finally, that secretly you enjoy it —
Temptations are never overcome by means of psychological denial, but by acceptance, by psychological and emotional subsumption — by affirmation.
There are two types of wealth creators which some of us confuse. We likely do so due to being overexposed to one at the expense of the other.
However, we must find comfort in distinguishing them, because each one sets a different tone and character to the relation between a business and the people it services.
The first type identify a need or issue and bring people together to create a service, product or solution. This type have a vision of how they want the world to be, which structures their actions and decisions, often tending them towards long-term gain.
The second type also find a need or issue and bring people together to create a service etc., but this type wants to maximise it to extract the most value. They are often reactive to events and emotional in approach, which often restricts their decisions to their short-term and limited gain.
They sound similar in their efforts and actions — many of us would see them as the same — but they differ in what drives them. One is driven by a vision of things while the other is driven by the current context and the emotional state(s) underpinning it.
However, both are great wealth creators who service us, albeit in differing ways and — we may say with a slight degree of confidence — with different consequences to the moral tone of the world in which we live.
Without demonising the one or evangelising the other, the moral view of their activities paints the first type as philanthropic and second type as exploitative.
What drives us and how it does so is as important as — and in some case more so than — what we do.