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The Most Lasting Works of Art

A work of art often remains important to us throughout life not because of any intrinsic worth, but simply because we came upon it precisely in the moment when it could be of the greatest value to us.

Second Chances

Surely we should give others second chances, but there is no reason why we should we give a second chance to someone who has never given us a first chance.

Leibniz’s Theodicy

We are at our happiest when we agree with Leibniz, who thought that life’s suffering are as essential to its beauty as dissonance is essential to the beauty of music. But there is something coldly indifferent to the misfortunes of others in this sort of happiness.

To Have Played One’s Role

It is often better to have thought through something for oneself and made a honest mistake than to have succeeded simply because you followed orders without thinking. Modern society, with its perpetually growing complexity, requires ever more of the latter, but the depth of our character and intellect depends almost exclusively on the former.

Stagger Lee

To know a man, you need only find out how he envisions the story of Stagger Lee.

A Single Date

It is a great injustice when we meet a woman only once and become infatuated with her: we have lost the chance to learn enough about her to be glad that we will never see her again.

Measuring Others’ Opinions

We measure the accuracy of others’ opinions by their consonance with our own.

The Little Things Matter

A country where people do not wait in line in orderly fashion, or where the drivers do not stay in their lanes, is usually a country with serious economic and political problems.1 If you like that passage, I recommend reading all of Arnold Kling’s discussion of Tyler Cowen’s new book, Create Your Own Economy. Tyler’s […]

Mac OS X 10.5.7 Observation

Is it just me or does the Dock respond much more smoothly under 10.5.7 than under 10.5.6?

The Best Question of Conscience

The heaviest weight. — What if some day or night a demon were to steal into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: “This life as you now live it and have lived it you will have to live once again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every […]