brevity

Welcome to the first installment of Distilled Philosophy. This one is going to be a lot longer than it will usually be, because it is a digest of my distilled philosophical reflections since the beginning of January, and usually it will be just for the preceding week. Please leave your thoughts, responses, etc., and if you like anything in particular, please Tweet and/or Share on Facebook. Although not required, I would love it if you would give me a shout out– @skinnerlayne on Twitter and “Skinner Layne” on Facebook.

I

To relate is to heal, and to be healed.

II

Always think well. If you are endowed with great mental faculties, it is a waste to spend them any other way. And if you aren’t, you don’t have anything to spare on anything else.

III

One need not be passive in order to be a pacifist.

IV

To be willing to die for freedom is brave. To refuse to kill for it is virtuous. May we all learn to be both brave and virtuous.

V

The design mind is beautiful. It can articulate what to the rest of us are just vague impressions about aesthetic life.

VI

Humility does not mean that you must think poorly of yourself, but rather that you must defer your own needs in favor of others’.

VII

Envy arises from laziness in doing the work you need to achieve, and from ignorance of what you should uniquely want for yourself that nobody else already has.

VIII

Self-deprecation is often the falsest form of humility.

IX

Lend your books without reservation, don’t worry if you won’t get them back. A book worth sharing is a book worth re-purchasing.

X

A man can only be truly free when he accepts both that he has nothing of value anybody can take away from him and incalculable value he can create for others.

XI

Institutions cannot develop human potential, but people can. Institutions must create the space for that to happen.

XII

People are like plants: in order to bear fruit, they must be rooted in something.

XIII

If you really do “have it all together,” chances are you are totally miserable.

XIV

The Old Testament is man’s response to God. The New Testament is God’s response to man.

XV

To decide to live is to not commit suicide today. To decide to be alive is to not commit suicide gradually every day.

XVI

There is a life experiment most people are trying but shouldn’t: Do what everybody else is doing and hope to come out ahead.

XVII

Without radical doubt, there cannot be radical faith.

XVIII

A just and orderly society should be characterized by laws that are thusly made: Everything not explicitly prohibited is permitted. Very few things are explicitly prohibited and any reasonable man of average intelligence and little study could at all times be aware of those things that are.

XIX

Beyond the human toll of the tragedy of the 20th century’s experimentation with totalitarianism, the worst lasting impact of it is that it raised the bar for what people are willing to call tyranny.

XX

The future will be determined by those who are conscious of, but not tied to the past.

XXI

The hypocrisy of disarmament is that it would be enforced by people who are heavily armed.

XXII

Most people learn the wrong lessons from failed experiments. This is rooted in the mistaken belief that an experiment with an other-than-desired outcome is a failure.

XXIII

Don’t over-think. Experiment. There is no such thing as over-experimenting.

XXIV

The truly radical reformer is not the man who wants to change everything about the world, but who wants to change just the one thing that matters, knowing that everything else will change as a result.

XXV

It is a dangerously slippery slope from “Some things could be known a priori” to “Many things are.”

XXVI

The medicalization of the mind is among the 3 most disastrous sociological trends of the second half of the 20th Century.

XXVII

Depending on context, “That is so American of you” can be the finest compliment or the gravest insult.

XXVIII

Most of the time it’s not that people make the wrong kinds of sacrifices for those they love, but they make them toward the wrong ends. They sacrifice so that their loved ones may have more, instead of so they can become more.

XXIX

Liberty does not guarantee virtue. If you want a world characterized by liberty, you would do well to first build a world characterized by virtue.

XXX

Contemporary “mental health” professionals are just legalized drug dealers in most cases.

XXXI

A tribe is an identity without Community.

XXXII

Free Markets eventually zero out economic profit. If you want to eliminate the super wealthy, you have to eliminate the artificial barriers to entry in the market that prevent this from happening.

XXXIII

Linear-thinking is the best way to ensure that your life will flat-line.

XXXIV

Forget life plans. Forget “where do you want to be in 10 years?” All of that is complete bullshit and is making you miserable. Think about what you want to be doing tomorrow. Then figure out how to do that thing and do it amazingly well. Then, in 5 years, when you don’t want to do that anymore, you can figure out what you want to do next.

XXXV

On Facebook, ignorance usually triumphs.

XXXVI

There is only one path toward giving unconditional love: doing the daily work of identifying and expunging conditions, one by one.

XXXVII

There is a big difference between communities and Community.

XXXVIII

There are two kinds of days worth living: days of inspiration and days of perspiration. If you aren’t having the former, make sure you have the latter.

XXXIX

Finding happiness is like finding the end of a rainbow. Better look for something more useful instead.

XL

Forget discovering your passion. This is the wrong way to think about the question. We must determine our passion. It’s up to us. We aren’t born with it. It’s not ingrained our genetics. It is up to us to choose. Choose wisely.