The Life of the Mind

by Kathleen Rooney

Kathleen Rooney

Train tracks across flat land seem infinite. But at a point not visible, they do have an end.

For Wittgenstein, concepts resemble tools and they, like tools, can cease to be useful. It isn’t tragic.

Someone said to me about a photo of Audrey Hepburn, “She even looks glamorous reading.” I said, “Now that you mention it, everyone looks glamorous reading.”

Maybe people who dismiss style as frivolous are jealous. Who does it hurt if I flounce around in my fanciest dress?

In 1999, I read The End of History. But the joke’s on you, Francis Fukuyama! History keeps pouring out like slurry from a factory that manufactures something besides liberal democracy.

Aporia, in rhetoric, is a useful expression of doubt.

Will professional thinkers ever abandon dialectical tensions? I doubt it. Remind yourself daily that this is temporary.

The 22nd Century. Who can say the phrase out loud?

A friend wrote to me that in Chinese there are five seasons, not four: summer, fall, winter, spring, and the season-in-between. In English we don’t have a word for that which separates after from before.

A little epistemic humility can be worth a try. The best philosophers admit they have no idea what they’re talking about.

The train tracks of thought can become sclerotic. Regarding beauty reduces inflammation.

I can easily imagine the end of the world and the end of capitalism

Can’t wait to catch you on the other side, where the blank page holds its breath and waits.

Last updated February 23, 2023