Thought Dump #5

When you spell absolutely everything out, you rob your reader of the opportunity to imagine he’s thinking for himself.

Why did Rome fall? Perhaps it just died of natural causes. If civilizations are on some level organic, then it shouldn’t surprise us that they rise and fall: all organisms rise and fall.

Happiness is like a woman: it comes around when it sees you pursuing other things.

Getting your heart broken is like the chickenpox in that it’s safer to get it over with early in life.

How we could possibly carry the burden of Adam’s sin totally baffles the classical liberal, who has the ridiculous notion that we are all individuals pure and simple, cut off from one another by a permanent and impassable divide.

It’s usually more profitable to re-read old books than to start new ones.

Intelligence searches for the invisible threads holding together divers phenomena.

The mirror image of an error is also an error. Communism, capitalism; hedonism, puritanism; optimism, pessimism; the attitude that nothing’s ever your fault, the attitude that absolutely everything’s your fault; etc.

Perhaps it’s possible that there existed, once upon a time, a man who was persuaded to change his mind as a result of losing an argument.

A woman gets to play some guy’s saved game.

What is intractable in men is lust, what is intractable in women is idle chatter and gossip.

The virtues of the citizen are not the same as the virtues of the soldier. There are upright persons who would prove useless in times of war, and scoundrels who would prove heroic. There are people to whom you could trust your life but not your money, and vice versa.  

The power of women lies in appearing pathetic and pitiable to men. We are quite vulnerable to that sort of thing.  

Life has no problem giving you precisely what you want, at least on the condition that you no longer want it.

“I deleted 2,000 words today. It was a very productive day.” A writer who writes like Michelangelo carves marble—by taking away.

For the ancients, the purpose of philosophy was to live a certain kind of life, not to write learned books.

People will generally interpret your words through the lens of self-interest. If you’re talking compassionately about incels, then it must be that you’re an incel yourself. If you question the utility of IQ tests, then you must have a low IQ yourself.

Who are my best friends? Invariably those who have read and loved the same books.      

Hierarchical societies are stable because they give the vast majority of people something to lose by upsetting the balance. Think of a line-up of people giving each other back massages: the person up front is getting a free massage, the person at the end is massaging but not getting massaged, and everyone between them is both getting massaged and massaging. Except for the one guy at the end, everyone has something to lose by rebelling against this arrangement, so there is not likely to be a rebellion of the sort that can’t easily be put down.

We are all experts in marketing our necessities as virtues. Neurotic people are simply industrious, lazy people are just tranquil, etc.  

You know you’ve assimilated an author when you start plagiarizing him unconsciously.

Industrious people tend to cause more problems than lazy people.

Where would evil be if it couldn’t march under the banner of morality?

The past has its own authority.

Cowardice is its own reward.