Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Trying to uphold it is a lose-lose proposition in all situations. Unless you're religious and fervently believe in Heaven, I guess. In which case, you might want to prepare yourself for a rude surprise come Judgment Day, when you find out that there is no Heaven and you had spent your short, precious life living up to an invented ideal designed to brainwash you into becoming a good citizen. Nietzsche's Mad Man is running wild (see the paradox?).

In a certain philosophy discussion section I had a couple of weeks ago, we were simulating the Prisoner's Dilemma game, which is basically a puzzle that tests out different theories of cooperation (i.e., going back on pacts, ganging up on others, etc.). My group ended up dead last. Our only consolation? "We never screwed anyone over! We were the only ones that kept our word and our integrity!"

But it was not much consolation, because we were at -23 points by the end of the rounds. If we had been generals commanding armies at war, we would have ended up like Germany at the end of WWI. So much for trying to uphold integrity in this nonsensical world.

Monday, October 26, 2009


P.S. Edited, because I'm on my second round of procrastination tonight.

Violent bouts of misanthropy sometimes strike me late at night, especially when I'm browsing my Facebook News Feed. I don't even know why I'm "friends" with half of these people.

It's strange how easy it is to dislike people late at night. I sometimes feel a senseless urge to comment on people's walls, letting them know that they're 1) rude, 2) stupid, and 3) just plain ugly. However, my fear of confrontation usually smothers these urges neatly. Instead, I resort to passive resistance: I delete people from my Friends list. For fun.

I'm pretty sure this has to be some type of a psychological disorder.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Changing Ideas

At this rate, I think Juan and I will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that we have become "grown-ups." Not in the sense that we are mature or responsible, but in the sense that each day we become more like the caricature of adults portrayed in the The Little Prince.

We have become realists. We have embraced Hobbes over Locke. We have, during egotistic and hedonistic pursuits, lost sight of what's important. The prince in our hearts is no longer Le Petit Prince, but Il Principe.

It is unfair, of course, for me to speak oh his behalf. But this is the trend I have observed: the loss of innocent love and steadfast belief in goodness.

I'm not sure if this progression is reversible. In fact, I don't think Antoine de Saint-Exupéry thought it possible. What is important, then, is to remember the fox's secret: that "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

When I asked my 11-year-old pupil, after he had read The Little Prince, if he would ever like to grow up, he answered with an emphatic "no." It is too late for us. But if we can manage to keep the fox's secret close at hand, we can at least salvage what wisdom we had as children.