I am animated by distrust of all high guesses. . .
[George Santayana, from Skepticism and Animal Faith]
Adept Lu said: “If the Lord of Wei wanted you to govern his country, what would you put first in importance?”
“The rectification of names,” replied the Master. “Without a doubt.”
“That’s crazy!” countered Lu. “What does rectification of names have to do with anything?”
“You’re such an uncivil slob,” said the Master. “When the noble-minded can’t understand something, they remain silent.
Listen. If names aren’t rectified, speech doesn’t follow from reality. If speech doesn’t follow from reality, endeavors never come to fruition. If endeavors never come to fruition, then Ritual and music cannot flourish. If Ritual and music cannot flourish, punishments don’t fit the crime. If punishments don’t fit the crime, people can’t put their hands and feet anywhere without fear of losing them.
“Naming enables the noble-minded to speak, and speech enables the noble-minded to act. Therefore, the noble-minded are anything but careless in speech.” . . . The Master said: “Once you have rectified yourself, you can serve in government without difficulty. But if you haven’t rectified yourself, how can you rectify the people?” [Analects XIII]
From: The Four Chinese Classics: Tao Te Ching, Analects, Chuang Tzu, Mencius (Trans. David Hinton)
[V.] From Apollonius, [I learned] true liberty, and invariable steadfastness, and not to regard anything at all, though never so little, but right and reason: and always, whether in the sharpest pains, or after the loss of a child, or in long diseases, to be still the same man. . . .
The folks at An Fur Ünd Sich align with my own view on this, the first day of the Trump Era. I still cannot get my head around the results of the recent election. It feels like a dream, or a masque intended to warn & educate me & my fellow-citizens. But it is no dream & it is going to be a rough time for our already frayed & tattered American democracy.
I remember back the last time the Electoral College delivered us an incompetent overreaching fool — one of our watchwords in those years was that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. And so, on November 9, Obama should have said, “We all know the Electoral College is nonsense, and so I am going to begin the transition process with President-Elect Clinton.” I’d rather the bit about the Electoral College be a dead letter than the emoluments clause, for example. Is it a dangerous precedent? Not as dangerous as the precedent that the person who loses the election takes office and we all act like it’s God’s fucking will.
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
“Preface to Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman.
Among 19th century philosophers, Arthur Schopenhauer was among the first to contend that at its core, the universe is not a rational place.
[Source: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy]