The military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz used the term coup d’oeil to describe a special, innate ability to grasp the military possibilities presented by a specific situation. We may broaden this idea to describe an instinctive talent in some field of endeavor. Each of us possesses a special skill that distinguishes us from others; too often, however, those talents languish, or remain undiscovered. It is our responsibility to try to discover where our own coup d’oeil lies.Continue reading
In this podcast we discuss the importance of focusing on what matters, not on what does not matter. We illustrate this principle with a few anecdotes.Continue reading
A young reader from Britain has a question about his relationship with his girlfriend. He wants something long-term, but has some nagging doubts as to whether his girlfriend is the right one. He’s not certain how to proceed. I read his email, and offer my thoughts.Continue reading
Bookmark this page. In one place, you have links to every G Manifesto tweet reading. The first one was made in 2018, and the last in 2020. Since the G Man has deleted his Twitter account and blog, I consider these tweet readings to be an important part of the historical record on one of the great internet personalities of recent years. I also feel I played a role in introducing his account to a wider audience. And not only are you hearing the tweets themselves, but you’re hearing them read by me. Enjoy. May he return to us soon.Continue reading
In this podcast we discuss Alexandre Moratto’s 2021 film Seven Prisoners. The movie describes the experience of a young man named Matheus, who is basically sold into a modern form of industrial serfdom in Sao Paolo. He tries to rebel at first, but quickly learns the futility of resistance. But being ambitious, he gradually begins a series of accommodations with his oppressors that strip him of his honor. What is the price of one’s soul? What is the price of one’s humanity? The loss of one’s moral base happens slowly, gradually, and almost imperceptibly.
A brilliant, morally profound film, and one that we should all reflect on.
When it comes to learning, were things better back in the 1980s and 1990s, or are they better now? How has the internet contributed to the “instant gratification” mentality? What are the parameters of the tension between the availability of resources, and the ease of gratifying our baser desires? We discuss.Continue reading
Far too often, we base our opinions on what we absorb from others. But if you have done the homework, if you have done the heavy lifting, and if you know the material, you should have the confidence to form your own thoughts. People read your writings because they want to know what YOU think, not what some other nibbler thinks. A critical step in intellectual independence is having the courage to state your own opinion on some learned topic, once you have earned the rights to do so.Continue reading
In this podcast I discuss my new translation of Cicero’s Tusculan Disputations. The work deals with five critical problems that face all of us: the fear of death, how to endure pain, how to alleviate mental distress, the various disorders of the mind, and why virtue is important for living a happy life. (A review of the book can be found in the October 2021 issue of The New Criterion). What questions could be more essential and fundamental than these?Continue reading
A veteran of Afghanistan has a memoir he is trying to put together. He’s asking for some tips on how to publish it. We offer some suggestions and comments.Continue reading
In this podcast, we discuss a serious subject. A reader explains that his family has just lost a young child, and he is searching for advice on how to deal with this calamity. I offer some suggestions drawn from Plutarch’s letter of consolation to his wife on the death of his two-year-old daughter Timoxena. We also discuss anecdotes from other sources (e.g., Cicero’s views on grief, the life of P.T. Barnum, etc.), and my own personal experiences. Fiat voluntas tua.Continue reading