You cannot hope to be a scholar. But what you can do is to curb arrogance; what you can do is to rise above pleasures and pains; you can be superior to the lure of popularity; you can keep your temper with the foolish and ungrateful, yes, even care for them.
But after the flicker of delight, I felt a worm of disquiet. For I can’t help thinking that many obese people could lose weight by eating less and exercising more. They don’t have a medical condition; they lack resolve. I don’t mean those with serious thyroid or other conditions — I am talking about people who can’t manage to do what they know, deep inside, is in their best interests.
For what does it do to a person to subcontract a matter of volition to a pharmacological intervention, thus bypassing the will? What does it do to our sense of agency, perhaps our sense of self? These consequences may not show up in the side-effects listed in a clinical trial — but they are serious, nonetheless.
There’s also an interesting parallel from the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Give your heart to the trade you have learnt, and draw refreshment from it. Let the rest of your days be spent as one who has wholeheartedly committed his all to the gods, and is thenceforth no man’s master or slave.
I’ve just finished The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray. It opens…
We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant.”
If you struggle to find a logic to follow in identity politics, if you’re somewhat mystified by the raging debates about gender versus sex, or the rights of actors or writers to present a perspective other than that of their own race-gender-sexuality, then this is the book for you.
As a result, I too found myself googling “European art” and “straight white couple”. I’ve so far resisted the temptation to google Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda video … but, the days are longer in self-isolation.