If you disengage from other people, you get solipsism; if you don’t exercise your personal faculty of reason, you will fall prey to false gurus, cultists and demagogues. If you can face down a mob, and the mob of one in your head, you have at least a shot at freedom.
“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” ―Glenn Gould
An idea is clarified by collision with a counter-argument; this is partly why listening is so important: your ideas are only as strong as your apprehension of another perspective.
“If any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility.” —John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
Anything not tended, cared for, built or maintained will perish; most living things do this without thinking, but in relationships we need a system.
Hypothesis: low-integrity people have few qualms about expressing their views; high-integrity people are more cautious. Recommendation: high-integrity people should consider it their duty to publish, and their friends should consider it their duty to encourage them.
If you hold a position, you must name at least one piece of evidence that would cause you to change your mind or adjust your level of certainty; if you can’t or won’t, how can we tell if your views are tethered to reality?
Writing and meditation are two shadows cast by the same faculty: the ability to direct one’s own thoughts.
Dear Rowan, It was lovely to speak with you yesterday on the subject of writing and publishing, and how these things affect us.
In John Carpenter’s “They Live,” the main character dons a pair of shades that reveal reality, undistorted: billboards read “CONSUME,” “OBEY,” etc. I need a pair that filters out speech (especially mine) arising through herding and imitation, and not conviction and thought.