In every age humanity finds sages and martyrs, those who put their bodies to the wheel, those who act as rudders to the ship of Humanity.
And we might cry out to Heaven, “Lord! Grant me strength to be a sage or martyr!”
But this is not a worthwhile prayer.
For the number of sages and martyrs can be counted on one hand, and often happens accidentally. The odds are far better that you will not be a sage or a martyr, but, rather, one who witnesses them.
Pray therefore: “Lord! Grant me the strength to respond properly to the sages and martyrs! That I might walk in their way!”
Which is truly a worthwhile prayer.
Sometimes it’s hard to shake the impression that life offers a choice between evil and good accidentally turning to evil/good consciously being used as a disguise for evil.
Thinking on the life of Li Zhi: sagehood usually comes upon one accidentally.
It is what can be said of the Christian Gospel that the revelation of God will always come of the greatest shock to those who thought they knew God best.
Which may be extended to any ideal. That those who exhort most furiously do so because they do not actually understand. That, confronted with it, they will be shocked by the marrow of what they exhort.
If reality is what exists regardless of whether or not people believe it, then it automatically renders itself irrelevant. Because what people pour their passion into is what they believe.
In philosophy, one cannot hope to encompass the world. The world is too much. The best one can hope for is to point to the world and jog the listener into seeing it in a new way.
(That new way may not be the way you had in mind.)
Happy is the era that does not give those who live through it the opportunity to find out just how evil they can be.
Consistency is not humanity’s strong suit.
Exactly the opposite, really.
A philosopher is what you become because you didn’t have the guts to do something actually interesting with your life.
To actually keep a secret in this world seems impossible. One person with a secret tells “just one person,” that person in turn tells one additional person, that third person tells others. Information oozes out.
Or perhaps it just seems that way–because we never hear the secrets that are successfully kept.