Decorated Silence

    'There is no greater sin than desire, No greater calamity than envy, No greater adversity than pining for something for oneself. He that knows enough is enough will always have enough.' Lao-Tzu         I believe that every great man, once he fully understands what 'society' is like -- and by society I mean any gathering of people -- will want nothing further to do with it. Experience has taught me that when I meet someone who prefers their own company to that of the rabble of Mankind, in general I discover a person with a superior Read more [...]

The Discovery of Death

        'Like an eternally gay festival of the children of Heaven and of the inhabitants of the earth, life swept along spring-like through the centuries...until a thought, a frightful vision approached the merry company and filled their hearts with wild terror...It was Death that interrupted the revelry with fear and pain and tears.' Novalis Hymnen an die Nacht       For primitive men death was not a natural event. Our prehistoric ancestors believed that when someone died it was either the result of an enemy's magic or mystical, Read more [...]

About Face

            'Whatever he did was done with so much ease, In him alone 'twas natural to please; His motions all accompanied with grace, And paradise was opened in his face.'           'Every human face is a hieroglyph, which, to be sure, admits of being deciphered — nay, the whole alphabet of which we carry about with us. Indeed, the face of a man, as a rule, bespeaks more interesting matter than his tongue, for it is the compendium of all which he will ever say, as it is the register of all his thoughts Read more [...]

National Pride Prejudiced

      'My country right or wrong is on the same level as 'my mother, drunk or sober.'' G.K. Chesterton           'The cheapest sort of pride is national pride; for if a man is proud of his own nation, it argues that he has no qualities of his own of which he can be proud; otherwise he would not have recourse to those which he shares with so many millions of his fellowmen. The man who is endowed with important personal qualities will be only too ready to see clearly in what respects his own nation falls short, since their failings Read more [...]

Love As Place Beautiful

        'In presiding over lawsuits I am as good as anyone. The thing is we should make it our aim that there not be any lawsuits at all.' Confucius     I have made these two observations about education today, and I am referring to university. The first, much to my surprise, is that university graduates don't seem to know very much. The second thing should erase any surprise, because I've seen that the goal is not to be educated or learn, but to get a good job, to get lots of money. It seems to me that a majority of parents want their children Read more [...]

Sex, Marriage, Hypocrisy And The Juggernaut

        All great thinkers from the dawn of time have come to the same conclusions about this world, for a perusal of history tells us that intelligent people have always said the same things and likewise with the stupid. Anyone who believes that 'things were different back then' -- and I don't care whether one speaks of Periclean Greece, the time of the Pharaohs, or last week -- must be a greenhorn in the ways of the world and has never opened a history book of any kind.  What will be in the future? What is today and what was before. For the world is populated Read more [...]

The Wrath of Grapes

  ‘A lecherous thing is wyn, and dronkenesse is full of stryving and of wrecchednesse. O dronke man, disfigured is thy face, sour is thy breeth, foul artow to embrace,’       Lawmakers, in their constant battle to stem the escalating,  worldwide boozing, may want to consider the ancient Aztec laws regarding alcohol consumption. In most countries the law allows people to drink once they are deemed to have reached maturity -- say eighteen to twenty-one years. This was not the case with the Aztecs. Their law prohibited the consumption of alcohol before the Read more [...]

The Leaping Point

    The ancient wise men of the Middle East saw the whole of reality shaped by a vast underlying principle that no human could ever fully comprehend. The Hebrew sages called it Hokhmah (Wisdom).             I am suspicious of this 'Big Bang' thing. I've no doubt it happened. The evidence is everywhere to be seen. But it looks to me rather like a computer program starting up. Think of the unimaginable size of the cosmos. That this endless space extending in every direction came into being in a microsecond and from a tiny speck Read more [...]

Books For Sad Men and Weedy Women

        I like women who look devilish. Black lipstick, nail polish and those with small frogs in little jars filled with formaldehyde. I think I said somewhere that I once had a girlfriend who kept all manner of insects and tiny reptiles in jars in her kitchen. I believe she put a hex on me, because the day after I broke up with her my car wouldn't start, a tyre was flat and for the first time I experienced 'sexual problems.' I once joked with her about all her 'witch stuff' and she said to me: Don't play around with things you know nothing about. What's better Read more [...]

Practically Deranged

            Many people write in to me and tell me that they know the world is a bad place and they don't want to hear about it. They prefer to occupy themselves with other things. Fair enough. What surprises me is that so few want to know why the world is as it is. I know of no 'happy' people. The unhappiest ones I know are the most intelligent. They face the sheer terror of life without illusions. Strife and sorrow are everywhere. History provides us with a long list of poor behavior by humanity, and to call it 'poor behavior' is being kind Read more [...]