Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Who is and who isn't...

Heaven preserve us from all the sleek and dowdy virtues, such as punctuality, conscientiousness, fidelity and smugness!” So wrote Violet Keppel in her unruly call to arms to the great ruling passion of her life, Vita Sackville-West. “What great man was ever constant? What great queen was ever faithful? Novelty is the very essence of genius and always will be. If I were to die tomorrow, think how I should have lived!” And indeed, how this woman, this “unexploded bomb,” as Vita called her, “lived!” from:A BOOK OF SECRETS

Illegitimate Daughters, Absent Fathers

By Michael Holroyd

Illustrated. 258 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $26.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

What is an Aristocrat?

There is nothing at all wrong with a tough physical regimen. Plato understood that a philosopher must be an individual perpetually in training. He must keep himself (or herself) nearly as tough and strong as warriors do. Plato's philosopher eats a simple diet; exercises regularly; owns no property; has no family; never touches gold or silver (he has these things in his makeup already, Plato says). But all of this training is not an end in itself. It is done to put the thinker in the position to think. It's necessary to remove as many external distractions as one possibly can. One cannot be overwhelmed by the merely circumstantial. But the philosopher does not strive forever. When he thinks, he touches on eternal truths (if he thinks well), and this gives him all the commerce with the eternal that he needs for an entirely joyful life. And he eats and drinks as he does in order to be in a position to do what he believes he's been set on earth to do, cultivate wisdom. He does not eat and drink in a given way primarily to be healthy, feel good, and prolong life. from:The Chronicle Review An article by Mark Edmundson"Health Now: A Provocation