Category Archives: Apophthegmata

Paradise? Bah.

I don’t like the tropics; they’re too profuse. Anything goes, completely unchecked. Give me the North. Each winter Life’s follies, feints, and flourishes are weighed, measured and tested. The ones that make it back the following year need to show something serious: at best, ingenuity, but at the very least, genuine toughness. Everything in the […]

Hey, Hold On There

It would be an awfully suspicious coincidence if Truth turned out to be exactly what we think it ought to be.

What Goes Around

What never seems to occur to those who anathematize and seek to bury the past is that they in turn prepare the future for their own erasure. The result is a sullen and solipsistic presentism in which, as Burke foresaw, men become nothing more than “the flies of a summer”.

Wagging The Dog

It is a great temporal vanity to see, in the study of history, only the present struggling to be born. It is, quite literally, preposterous.

Sex As Quantum Observation

Conception collapses the biological Eigenfunktion: from an infinite probability-cloud of sperm and ova is instantiated a particular actuality.

Truth Or Consequences

When a society comes to believe that nothing should have consequences, it soon will face very serious consequences indeed.

Destroyer Of Worlds

The modern attitude places the burden of proof upon every aspect of traditional life. All is disposable unless proven necessary, including even the axioms upon which such proof depends. What vessel could contain this universal acid?

Memes And Species

A culture, a civilization, is a memetic ecosystem. If one species — a ritual, a tradition, a way of modeling some aspect of the world — goes extinct, the effect may reverberate through the entire habitat.


People talk about the “second childhood” of old age. What relates the second childhood to the first is high “time preference”; that it cares more about the present than the future. The edges of our lives are unlike the middle. The child is unaware of its future; the old man has none.

So Much For That

“When you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.” – Lord Kelvin “Yes, and when you can express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.” – Jacob Viner

Simple Things

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” – Churchill


Every so often one is asked: If you could assemble a dinner party with anyone who ever lived, whom would you invite? For me, the list would have to include Baltasar Gracián y Morales, a Jesuit writer, philosopher, and courtier who lived in seventeenth-century Spain. He’s hardly a household name, but he has always struck […]


George Santayana said: Repetition is the only form of permanence that nature can achieve. We, however, are exempt — and nature reminds us every spring that while she is cyclical, we are linear. For us, spring, and winter, come but once.


The perfect should never be the enemy of the good, but we should always let the good be the enemy of the merely convenient.


The central inconsistency of multiculturalism: the belief that a culture that believes all cultures are of equal value is a superior culture.

Rear View

Living is walking backwards. All we can see is where we’ve already been.

High Road

“In the mountains the shortest route is from peak to peak, but for that you must have long legs.” – Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Golden Mean

If you look at any vigorous society in its prime, you see a healthy balance between rights and privileges. When either grows too much at the expense of the other, a nation declines: on the one hand toward impotent mediocrity, on the other into tyranny.


What’s your favorite color? Mine are the darker blues and greens; best of all are the deep and aqueous tones in between. The blues and greens are horizontal, and patient, and extended in time, like the sea and the sky and forest; the reds and yellows and oranges are vertical, and call us to the […]


An unconfirmable truth: the unexamined life is not worth living.

Maybe A Little

This afternoon, a commenter on our previous post asked me: Malcolm, are you cynical? Meanwhile, an old friend wrote me today to quote something I had, apparently, said to him when I was about 17 or 18. I don’t remember saying it, but here it is anyway: Everyone needs a pack of lies to live […]

Chain Of Fools

A brain is only as strong as its weakest think.

Could Be Worse

Life is hard, but at least it’s short.

Just Asking

Perhaps the most important question of all is: what is the most important question of all?


There is an agreeable interval between childhood and marriage during which a man may eat what he pleases.