The Paradox of What Is Terrifying

The prospect of paying the rent — or, more precisely, of lacking the necessary funds to do so — is terrifying. Also terrifying, however, is the tedium one must endure — by means of finding gainful employment — in the service of paying the rent.

To review, then: both paying and also not paying the rent — this is what’s terrifying.

Spiritual Dilemma of the Middle West

Epicurus claims that one is capable of finding spiritual equanimity under any circumstance. Meanwhile, parked at a rest stop along an unrelenting stretch of Midwestern interstate, I observe a tired woman Windexing the glass doors of an edifice denoted by a sign (mistakenly, I assume) as the Welcome Center. Minutes later, she’s moved to a metal bench, where she smokes a cigarette while gazing without interest upon a collection of nearby weeds.

The tableau would appear to offer a compelling counterargument to Epicurus, who unfortunately — owing to his death thousands of years ago — is unable to enter the debate.

On Pleasure and the Novel

My wife relates to me the plot of a novel she’s reading in which the protagonist is incapable of experiencing pleasure — from which fact I gather that’s it’s an autobiographical work. The inability to experience pleasure is a necessary condition for the composition of a novel.

A Working Definition of Adulthood

One doesn’t enter adulthood merely by reaching the legally defined age of majority — nor, alternatively, by participating in a rite of passage such as the bar mitzvah. Rather, adulthood is that state one attains upon recognizing that his talent — and, in particular, the temptation to profit from it — is his greatest burden.