The secret upside of high culture

The secret upside of high culture

Culture is continuity with the past: A cultureless person knows only about, and lives exclusively in, the present. Few things are as pleasing—thrilling, really—as reading a classical author and discovering that he has had thoughts and emotions akin to your own. So I have felt, at times, reading Horace, Montaigne, William Hazlitt, and others who departed the planet centuries before my entrance upon it. . . [B]y removing oneself from the noise and vulgarities of the present, and lending oneself the perspective of the past, an engagement with high culture makes life richer—and thereby immensely more interesting.

Joseph Epstein
Our best is our worst

Our best is our worst

When God saw fit to create a being of wants and of faculties with which to satisfy them, he at the same time decreed that that being should be subject to pain an suffering; for without pain and suffering we can experience no wants, and without wants we cannot understand either the uses or the reasons for any of our faculties. Everything that makes for our greatness has its roots in everything that makes for our frailty.

Frédéric Bastiat

The problem of not writing

Not writing is more of a psychological problem than a writing problem. All the time I’m not writing I feel like a criminal. . . It’s horrible to feel felonious every second of the day. Especially when it goes on for years. It’s much more relaxing actually to work.

Fran Lebowitz