Why Am I So Happy?
On the joy of philosophy
I wrote this four years ago, pre-COVID-19, pre-Biden, before things really got bad. But I am still happy. For some of us happiness is a basal state, bred-in-the-bone, affected somewhat by external circumstances, but not by much.
My beloved country looks to be going the way of the Roman empire: overextended abroad and collapsing within under the weight of its own decadence. We can't agree about much of anything anymore and are arguing bitterly about things we ought not be arguing about. The future looks grim. Civil war may be in the offing. Idiots and overgrown children now occupy positions of power in our government. The Speaker of the House regularly spouts nonsense. Deep State operatives deploy fascist techniques against harmless citizens to intimidate and spread fear. People who should know better apologize for speaking the truth. Journalism is pretty much dead and brazen lies are rampant. Delusional race-baiters who retail incoherence are celebrated by white 'liberals' in the pages of once respectable publications. Bootless neocons with no skin in the game advocate spreading 'democracy' among benighted tribalists regardless of the expenditure of American blood and treasure, and in denial of the fact that we, on the eve of becoming a police state, are hardly a democracy and have not a damned thing to teach anybody. The rights that are every American's birthright are under assault. Roughly half of our fellow citizens are reasonably viewed as domestic enemies. And the litany continues.
So why am I so happy?
When I was 20 I wrote into my journal, "Philosophy, the joy of my youth and the consolation of my old age." I was prescient, but not prescient enough. Philosophy has proven to be not only the consolation but also the joy of my old age, and a greater joy than ever.
The owl of Minerva spreads its wings at dusk, and this owl is reaping a rich harvest as the shadows grow long and the end of the trail comes into view.
It helps if you can look beyond this life and see it as a passing scene, real enough as far as it goes, and certainly no dream, but a scene of no final reality or importance.
And so I pity the poor secularist who has nothing beyond this hopeless world.