Sand

2009-03-04

A few folks have pinged me online and off regarding my recent posts about saying no to politics and instead focusing on practicalities. I sometimes summarize that line of thinking as consisting of two steps: (1) find some good sand (2) stick your head in it. The problem is that it's hard to know exactly where the good sand is unless you pay some attention to what the political class is up to (because they can ruin a good location in a hurry). However, I draw a distinction between keeping an eye on the bastards and actively spending one's precious time, energy, and attention opining about what "should" or "ought" to be done in the political sphere. I hate to break it to you, but no one really cares about your policy opinions. So it's more productive to start letting go of ought in the political realm and instead concentrate on things that are within your span of control. For me that includes helping to build out a secure infrastructure for real-time communication over the Internet, writing about Ayn Rand and Epicurus and Aristotle and in general trying to figure out what it really means to formulate a philosophy for living on earth, composing and recording music that someone might find inspiring or that at least I feel expresses something important about life, being a good friend to people I value, and flourishing as a human individual (yes, eudaimonia is much more than mere psychological happiness). Perhaps that's what I mean by finding good sand: carving out a life of meaning in a world gone awry in some rather serious ways. And maybe, just maybe, if more people focused on creating value in their own lives and paid less attention to those who want to run our lives through force (however "democratically" delegated), human beings would begin to heal themselves of the political disease that is slowly but surely corrupting everything we think and feel and do. Certainly we must monitor what the political class does, because eternal vigilance is the price of what dwindling liberty remains to us; but I think we must also recognize that, in the deeper context of life, politics happens but has no true meaning and importance.


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