If we accept the premise that personal sufferings and misfortunes provide excellent grist for philosophy’s mill, then we must concede that Solomon Ibn Gabirol was provided with incomparable ingredients for speculative thought. He was born to a prosperous family in Malaga, Spain around 1022. Yet life wasted no time in dealing him cruel cards; his parents died when he was a child, making him an itinerant orphan. He seems to have been stricken by a degenerative disease as a teenager, and this fact lodged in his breast an enduring sense of alienation and resentment; but like many other thinkers, he would find refuge from his pain by taking up the pen.Continue reading
Making Things Personal
I was walking today through some side-streets of Falmouth, Massachusetts and saw a lawn sign that caught my attention. The sign said, “Drive As If Your Kids Live Here.” What an effective message, I thought to myself. The writer is making a direct appeal to the reader, asking him to put himself in the shoes of the people living in the neighborhood.Continue reading
Two Questions: Different Virtues, And Book Lists (Podcast)
In this podcast we answer two recent questions from readers. One question deals with the virtues, and the other question relates to recommended books.
George Washington’s Leadership Qualities
George Washington generally preferred a restrained style of leadership. By this I mean he was economical with his words, careful in doling out both praise and recriminations, and mindful that his actions would resound more loudly with subordinates than his statements. He understood the principle that, when leading men, sometimes a leader had to turn his back on them; he did not strive for back-slapping familiarity, but instead the calm and steady application of discipline and objective.
The Five Protecting Companions
Our trusted friend Ibn Muqaffa provides us with the following advice which I have committed to memory:
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