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NY: On Thinking

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Fatigue, n. The condition of a philosopher after having considered human wisdom and virtue. (Ambrose Bierce)

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On second winds. My only experience of a second wind is waking up from a long nap in the afternoon. Unalloyed and pure thinking comes with the coming of the wind.


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On why it is harder to contemplate than to act. Why is it that the harder the thought, the more pleasurable it is to think? Not only do easy thinkers or writers bore me--they also make me tired more quickly and more sleepy. But the hard ones! They keep me up or make me make one more cup of coffee or make me sit in my chair longer; perhaps it is because I find them more entertaining. No philosopher has made me laugh more than Schopenhauer or Nietzsche.

But aside from that I love the abstract more than the real and the concept more than the thing itself. Not that I relish thinking about ideas but perhaps because I find the real too dirty and thus too unreal. Thus I have never had any interest in law and politics and governance. To be sure, it is easy to accuse me of being snobbish if not arrogant or more so "out-of-touch." But the way I see it, I already am swimming in the stench of reality everyday as I am already the murderer of my brother and the abductor of my sister. I already have blood in my hands--and I do not deny it. So why do I not act, you ask? Because this is my inactive action: to find a way other than marching with farmers or building houses or praying for their souls or being and staying indifferent to it all. There are more than enough able and willing bodies out there, all carrying banners of change and crying for justice and equality. Do as you wish--and may you succeed for them. You are only beginning to experience now what I already went through. But I have my own task now. So as I leave you be may you also leave me be.


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The gravest sin of philosophers. Philosophers who call themselves philosophers are not philosophers.


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En vino veritas. Sober minds are complacent. Drunken minds are reckless. And truth always hits you like a car crash.


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The postmodern. Like an overtime period, the postmodern is merely the resumption of the modern but with the illusion that it begins anew and that it can finally settle the score. The thing is, the players of the postmodern cannot deny that they are already dog-tired.


15

Why I drink. I drink so that I become too drunk to continue thinking.


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Why I think. I think so I can have something to do when I am not drinking.


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Intellectual snobbery. A sign of intellectual insecurity: those who argue a lot, e.g., debaters. A sign of intellectual snobbery: those who never listen, e.g., teachers. A sign of intellectual security: those who ask questions not to argue but to clarify, those who listen and speak silently, e.g., students.


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On Quitters. They are quitters who are undecided--whereas there is only one necessary question to answer in life: What must I do?


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