Meditations on the rough game

“Wisdom — seems to the rabble a kind of escape, a means and a trick for getting well out of a wicked game. But the genuine philosopher — as it seems to us, my friends? — lives “unphilosophically” and “unwisely,” above all imprudently, and feels the burden and the duty of a hundred attempts and temptations of life — he risks himself constantly, he plays the rough game…”


The difference between simple animal pain and human suffering is the element of perplexity. Pain is mere sensation. If we let pain just be bare pain as the Buddhists advise and refuse to compound that pain with interpretation and conceptualization, we can withstand extreme pain with the dignity of a house pet.

Suffering is pain interpreted as an insight into the human condition, a certain foresight that is actually fore-blindness, an intellectual analogue to the discovery of the ever-present/ever-absent scotoma in our field of vision.


Philosophers are perverse people who, upon detecting perplexity, instead of evading it like a normal person, go straight into it, and through it, in order to come out on the other side of it with something deeper and more comprehensive.


There is nothing more natural than to detest philosophy. Without this natural impulse there would be no culture because there would be no stability.

But when stability is not advantageous, and deep disruption desired, nobody is better for the job than a philosopher. A philosopher will rip down a system of thought and replace it with another that was inconceivable while the old system reigned.

That’s why once a satisfactory system is put in place, the philosopher who established it should be given the post-war Churchill treatment.


The best simple insight I’ve heard in the last year is that chaos is not the vacuum of order, but the simultaneous existence of far too many orders.

In respect to the genesis of a world, there is no ex nihilo.

The particular is articulated from infinite mess, speaking metaphysical perspective is chaos, and experientially, perplexity. To be philosophical is to willingly return to that mess and to allow it to re-articulate differently (for the sake of who knows what).


Innovation is rough. That is why it rarely really happens.

People who want to invent without destroying have no choice than to be trivial.


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