Fantasy Island: The coast was inhabited by dogs and sharks, no ships dared approach: they could hear the barks.
Democracy: The Origin: Placation of upstarts by the powers that be.
Comforts: The sole reward for peering into the pit is the dignity of not having turned one's back on it.
Chimeras: Happy and hopeless.
Tragic, depressing, wonderful, wretched, absurd, divine, a bitch, a beach . . . : Fortunately words always fall short of an accurate description of our condition.
Modern History: A Short History: New know-how, old instincts, more or less restrained by liberal ideals.
Philosophy Exam Question: When are words of wisdom most valuable? When they are: a) Quoted? b) Paraphrased? c) Plagiarized? d) Re-Created? e) Original? f) None of the above?
Civilization: The product of the unproductive use of a society's surplus (however extracted).
Discussion: Some waste too much time trying to persuade the unpersuadable of the obvious.
Home Remedy 1: Unpleasant thoughts are cured by thinking about something else.
Mourning: She's dead: poor me.
Economic Tigers: Late modernizing nations seem to be spared the despair (and brilliance) of tormented selves.
Surroundings: Reality seems so real that it takes a major leap of imagination to realize how unreal it really is.
One-on-One: Having explained almost every natural disaster, we're left alone to master the last.
Just wondering . . . : Has yesterday's pregnancy (my wife's) met the criteria for a panacea (my life's)?
Fractions: A life well lived is made of day-to-days well lived.
'They treat us like animals!': Words that disgrace both perpetrators and victims.
Broadband: Do communication revolutions produce diminutions of misunderstanding?
Challenge: Seek to understand what one can, and stand up to what one can't.
In Flanders Fields: Soldiers soon learn they share more with their foe than with the folks back home.
Six of One . . . : Where holy texts don't ensnare thinking, other cares do.
Grind: Most of us survive by daily living and daily dying (and daily denying the latter).
Small Consolations: Others can't live in line with their beliefs: what a relief!
The Barbarian: Comforted by evolutionary explanations for his conduct, he is nonetheless distressed by the fact that acts with no apparent biological cause attract so much applause.
Expectations: Miserable months are no match for the prospect of joyful days.
The Future: Predictability shrinks the time we have left.
Comparative Biology: Other (more fortunate) life forms can't formulate the questions, this one can't formulate the answers.
Temperamental Differences: Some care about not being caught unawares, while others don't mind the surprise when they capsize.
Acclaim: Few seem contemptuous of the adulation of those they deem contemptible.
Accounting: Letting hope loose has its cost: the time it takes to recover from its loss.
Much Better!: At last her life saw some improvement: there was no change but lots of movement.
Beasts: No cruelty exceeds that endured by beings incapable of it.
Potential: What gap is wider than that between what we are and what we could be? What resentment is deeper than that reserved for those who expose it for all to see?
Different Tacks: Pet owners purchase their loved ones, while parents produce their own.
Nuances: The pessimist thinks the abyss is half-empty, the optimist insists it's half-full.
Letting Go: A sedated self is key to most glee.
Cutting Edges: The only remedy to contemporary frenzy that lasts is the past.
Drinks: Love is life's wine, not its water.
Pooling: With time, the very old have more in common with each other than with their younger selves.
Cognition: Most people say what they think, but few think about what they say.
Lexicographic Tactic: 'Cynicism' had to become pejorative for hope to survive reality.
Courses: One man excels to defy death, the other embraces it to defy failure.
Canine Companions: Some find having hounds around less of a grind than human kind.
All Told: To be conscious is to envy the unconscious.
The Self: An illusion generally worth fighting for.
Genocides: In a crunch, it's clearly a cinch to hate and destroy others, particularly if they claim superiority (and we suspect it).
Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard, et al.: One can share their despair but not their flair for celestial fantasy.
Blessings: Without celebrities we'd ALL be insignificant.
Bibliophily: Deceased companions are a great antidote to living aliens.
Trappings: Take any distant ancestor, strip him, shave his head: there you are!
Spoilsport: Who would have the gall to question the meaning of it all in a hall filled with mothers at play with their children?
Gonad Management Challenge: Males are eternal addicts and younger females (ephemeral) sources of sexual narcotics.
Principles of Philanthropy: It's easier to shame the acquisitive into sharing than into forswearing their greed.
Self-Consciousness: Wondering whether or not to opt for thought while jumping for joy.
Catastrophes: Maybe we should start considering man-made disasters natural?
Maturation: One begins to understand when undeluded (that's why the young are excluded).
Fachidiot: Billions of neurons discovering mind-boggling truths without wondering.
Generation: No single little thing changes things more than an offspring.
Debate Proposition: 'An anti-climax beats no climax at all.'
Socio-Political Breakdown: The fissures appear when the law-abiding begin to feel foolish.
Leveling: Given our lot, we all merit compassion whether suffering or not.
'Lazy Natives!': Curse those who first forced others to work beyond their desires and needs.
To be avoided: Hitting upon how best to live in your final hours.
Different Strokes: Some curse the distractions that keep them from living their lives, others can't live without them.
Different Perspectives: From the point of view of the Spanish flu the Great War was no more than a prelude.
Help Wanted: Any clown can tell up from down. Sadly, there aren't too many clowns around.
Priorities: At one time she was mesmerized by the skies. Now she only has time for the eyes of her offspring.
Political Philosophy Exam Question: Who is worse off: He who has no use for his freedom, or he, unfree, who'd have many a use for his?
The Scientist's Course: From ignorance, to inspiration, to indifference.
Horticulture: You can't transplant wisdom: just grow it at home (on your own).
Wanderlust: How strange that we dream of strange lands, while strangers there dream of ours.
GDP: A TRULY developed country would know it need no longer grow.
Peace of Mind: Better for sure to be sure, right or wrong, than in doubt.
Shifts: Remember way back when, when we worshipped the past, then the future, before settling on the present?
Theisms: No other belief bothers believers more than non-belief.
Milk and Honey: Apparently, prosperity merely turns most poor into former poor.
Memories: The past is usually too weak to dethrone our version of it -- but not always.
Literati: The second-rate who venerate the first-rate and deflate the rest of us.
Heroes: Medals were pinned repeatedly on soldiers who had sinned, but been forgiven (given the circumstances), for having (repeatedly) broken a number of the ten commandments.
Nova: He went relatively rapidly from no-one to number one and back.
Others' Beliefs: Shouldn't we aspire higher than tolerance? What about indifference?
Monotheisms: The genesis of much comfort and hell here on Earth.
Milestones: Think of all the ages you've been that once seemed so old.
Natural Perspectives: Funny how tsunamis don't distinguish between the organic and the inorganic.
Without Us: The universe would remain problematic even if our condition weren't tragicomic.
Social Animals: Hermits, though alone, are prone to take comfort in knowing they're not the only ones.
Opposition: Enemies account for only a fraction of the enmity we endure.
Warning Label: 'Life is hazardous to your health. Don't start: Say No.'
Civil-War Veterans: I killed ALL his relatives: he'd murdered two of mine . . . Now I'm told he's growing old and dying of the same disease as me.
Impasse: What do you do when you've seen the light and it's out?
Killers: Only disease has destroyed more of us than metaphor and euphemism.
Commercial Break: Having dredged in vain for my REAL me, I came across a promising brand . . . So I purchased my true self right off the shelf!
That Whore: Reason!: The most odious human beliefs and behaviours known are also escorted by a logic of their own.
Social-Democratic Challenge: Ride greed's coat-tails without stalling or falling.
Global Panacea Action Programme: Stimulate other (socially- and environmentally-friendly) sources of status, pleasure and 'immortality'.
Metaphysical Worry: That there's something and not nothing is perplexing, but how vexing it is that the something is THIS!
Ethics Exam Question: Why is copulating for money more offensive than marrying for it?
Locations: All living are somewhere or other, all deceased are nowhere.
Barricades: Few revolutionary idealists have managed to amass a following of full bellies.
Vestiges: The thinking of too many atheists is tainted by apostasy.
Whatever works . . . : What's so wrong after all with wallowing in nostalgia while being swallowed by time?!
Stellar Conspiracy: Our very own star blinds us to the reality revealed by darkness.
Species Pride: Humans are at their finest when passionately engaged in the useless.
Walden: Restauration, copulation and vacation: best-selling palliatives for (quiet) desperation.
Nightly News: Tuned into the new, counted blessings, rated the latest attempts at making history, then, duly informed, brushed his teeth and went to his pillows . . . one day older.
Counter-Inquisition: The Special Court of Eminent Scientists voted to behead the noted theologian, who had declared he found E=mc2 'somewhat unsound'.
Blah, Blah, Blah: How repetitive the sages have been through the ages!
Just Desserts: Getting what one deserves is unfortunately (and fortunately) a matter of fortune.
Bohr and Bombs: While science uncertains our nature, our technology asserts it with a vengeance.
To Stage Parents: Average offspring are no misfortune: mediocrity is itself no mean accomplishment.
Diogenes and co.: We ostracize the wise as 'cynics' for mixing insight with irony.
Closing Time: Many a wise old man lives in mortal fear of encountering something overlooked.
The Inevitable and the Improbable: Worry not of the rot that is your body's lot . . . Marvel instead at your LUCK that your mother and father opted to copulate on that special date!
Life Planning: As hoped, I actually did something once. Now I hope remembering meets my needs as hope goes to seed.
Our Progress: From subjects of the Almighty's wrath, to objects subject to the forces of nature.
Basic Political Economy: Newly satisfied consumers rarely care whether their rulers are ruthless.
Rust: Nothing corrodes integrity like deference to power, wealth and celebrity (however gained).
Reforms: We owe many a marginal improvement to extremists who revolted for radical ones.
Bach, Beethoven and Brahms: Given their historical failure in preventing abysmal behaviour, perhaps Beckett and co. should be tried the next go.
Aspiration: To find some serenity in the findings of science.
Self Management: To ensure self-image be sure to distort that of others.
The Hard Part: Disbelieving is a picnic compared to weaving disbelief into being.
The Objective: Blend large measures of pleasure and lucidity in life.
Prerequisites: Wisdom calls for proportionally more balls than brains.
Taboos: Fortunately, for order and progress, certain fundamental matters only obsess an (un)privileged few.
Update: The bad news is there's never been a God. The other news is that it's not dead.
Human Condition: The best analgesic to being bare, forked and muddled is to be cuddled.
Look of Innocents: Many of us owe our life's advance to the glances of creatures unaware of our shared fate.
Cabal: True friends share one's illusions till the end.
Distribution: The have-nots had better bet on bigger pies than bigger slices.
Neo-Blasphemers: Secular sect who prod God without believing in him.
Civilized Toast: Quiet! Let us all raise a glass to spontaneity, enthusiasm and passion.
Asymmetries: Physical delight is no match for decrepitude in driving home the hegemony of our flesh and bones.
Traces: When you're down and out, don't worry: read a biography or two . . . it turns out you're just another story.
Protective Carapaces: How quickly we reach the age when changing ourselves is not too hard but too late.
In the Last Analysis: Living (and dying) in the dark is the worst part of it.
Protective Labels: What would we do without words that neutralize truths that terrorize?
Funerals: Offering condolences is always easier when under amnesia (about one's own lot).
Time- and Tree-Saving Decree Proposal: Henceforth, philosophers may write just one book, completed just before their end and published shortly thereafter.
Peace and Love: What we all deeply long for is to our credit, our tragedy is our strategy.
Lovers: In a mesh of flesh and fluids, they took time off from the troughs of their separate selves.
Aggression: Save your hardest blows for those who'd awaken the violence and hatred that lie dormant in us all.
Candide's Question: Deep down, don't the affluent wonder whether their worth is all they're worth?
Outsiders: Keep clear of those who keep company with nothingness. They won't fuss: they too are bent on avoiding us.
Observation: How to be lucid and not blue? That, too, is the question.
Tautologies: Taking the Lord's name is always in vain.
Check-Up: Nothing like a good colonoscope to regain perspective.
Apostate: Upon hearing that God had kicked the bucket, he said 'Fuck it!' and embarked on a life of leisure and pleasure.
Personality: Tell me what truths you keep afar, and I'll tell you who you are.
Different Strokes: Being in-style, up-to-date and looking good! Being clothed, informed and looking, just looking...
Interests: Somehow we favour free elections and markets when they favour us.
Post-Enlightenment Stress Disorder: The more we know the more we long for the status quo (ante).
Midstream: Many draw the benefits but hardly any the conclusions of modern science.
Curriculum: Forget the constant conquering, pillaging and converting . . . The only human history worthy of being taught is that of thought.
Clashing Theisms: There's only one true fairytale you heathen! The one I believe in!
Home Remedy 2: Dreams are cured by doing something else.
Outlook: Prospects are particularly poor: too many are too sure about too much.
Knock, knock: It's harder to philosophize with the taxman than with the Grim Reaper at the door.
Foodstuff: Humans were a lot more materialistic (philosophically) when they prayed not to be preyed upon.
Succession: Generations are nature's way of updating nostalgia.
Vulnerability: No wisdom has the might to withstand the right smiling eyes.
Lost Opportunities: Too bad we usually feel too rotten to benefit from our sick-bed's perspective.
Post-Prime Paths: Some stay young, though aged and greyed . . . Others just succumb and become ruins.
On the road: By moving, one ensures that one's current abode isn't one's last.
Path to Modesty: A good start is to see us as unbelievably smart (and conscious) blue-green algae.
Palaeontology: Homo sapiens sapiens should know enough to know better.
What's the Problem?: What is there to understand in a hydrogen cloud that (eventually) resulted in a being trying to understand?
Sour Grapes: The loser had the temerity to tell the victor that even posterity's days were numbered.
Fugitives: Our lives (and their meaning) escape us.
Pause: While jostling for immortality, consider the fossil.
Living Logic: Not unborn, not defunct, ergo sum.
Directions: The modern is a cul-de-sac: one can only get out by going back.
Body: The joy of physical being defies description: its attainment implies containment of thought and words.
Room-Mates: The longer one lives with one's convictions the harder it gets to evict them.
Correction: In the land of the blind the one-eyed are drowned, not crowned.
Chain of Being: One big difference between a fungus and us (apparently) is that we have a name for it.
Past Images: Someday, long after you're gone, some stranger's existence will pause an instant, as they gaze into a picture of your face.
Moderate's Mission: Try holding back a ransacking pack of white and black with grey.
Beau Monde: One could bear it more if the fortunate laid less claim to merit.
Firmament: How wonderful to gaze at the stars without wondering.
Pet Dogs: Wolves we've moulded to embody what we most look for in each other.
Mediocrity's Logic: No man is perfect, ergo we're all (equally) imperfect.
Sedimentation: In the end we tend to befriend those who've settled at our level.
Capitalism: A most productive and destructive product of acquisitiveness and invention.
New Western Orthodoxy: 'I believe none of these dumb explanations . . . But there must be SOME explanation.'
Human Tally: Our greatest biological achievement: to have numbered ninety billion, and counting . . .
Vandal Taxonomy: Some smash what we've made for its magnificence, some for its mediocrity, and the rest for the joy of destroying.
Tact: A billionaire should not talk to a hundredaire about the financial misfortunes of a millionaire.
Phases: A mid-life crisis is a dry-run for the late-life one.
Art-World Dialectics: Burghers invariably blemish the (consenting) bohemians they relish.
Opportunity Costs: Too many on-shore discussions keep too many from proceeding along the pier alone.
Loved Ones: And yet, those we beget (more often than not) render our lot worthwhile.
Seneca et al. versus Buddha et al.: Why do we have to dig so deep for words of wisdom and infinitely deeper for those who live by them?
Folk Wisdom: Proverbial support that's at hand whatever your plan.
Dance Sociology: Not all have-nots have rhythm, but most haves haven't.
Disarmament Proposal: Beat all swords into pillows (and check for stones).
Definitions: Fortune is the opportunity to realize oneself, physically, emotionally and intellectually; happiness is to do so.
Bohemians: Those claiming not to conform have no business craving the raves (and custom) of those who do.
Second Principle of Indeterminacy: Life cannot be examined and lived simultaneously.
Dynamics: The more the past accumulates the sooner it becomes too late to cogitate.
Anonymity: Better to add to wisdom than be added to the wise.
Urban Curse: If only we could hear noise without listening to it.
Cooption: The best answer to the unanswerable is to inhabit the question.
Objectives: Maybe we should return to striving for happiness in the hereafter?
Fence-sitting: The agnostic gives equal weight to the wildly improbable and the all-but-certain.
New Scenarios: When we're extinct (with a little luck) evolution will take another course, perhaps pausing at the horse . . . or the duck.
Posterity: The main problem is that we live on in the memory of mere mortals.
Records: Old photos are images of what we've become.
Consolation: Sighing for what we'll miss once our dying is done: discoveries, inventions, gadgets, titles and trends, voyages to the sun . . . Sighing, but smiling: man's future wonders we cannot know, but the future nature of the wonder of man we surely can.
Enemies: In time, envy was elbowed aside by pride, as his friend's fame bolstered his own name.
Added Commandment: Thou shalt not disabuse thy neighbour (or his wife).
Realistic Development Goals: Though we're doomed to be dumb and dead, destitution is not anybody's lot.
Conversationalist: One whose passion is to discover with the other.
Parallels: Somehow, both love and democracy are particularly vulnerable to the contempt of familiarity.
Desire: Nature's antidote to boredom.
Instigators: The naive, who believe in the goodness of man, often bring it about.
Paradox: Given how little of life we recall, it's a wonder we care for it at all.
Tactics: Perhaps the gods would respond more positively if our prayers weren't so obviously self-serving?
'It's just the way it is': Have more profound words ever been uttered around a fresh grave?
Old Juggler: Less and less able to keep life's knives in the air: time to retire.
Palliative: It got so dark . . . He took pen and paper (tools to understand why), but all he came up with was a list of things to buy.
Shames: Our biological needs and drives deprive us of our pretty picture of ourselves.
Our Course: From remains to being and back.
Techniques: We cure disappointment by becoming appointed with something else.
Ponzi Scheme Clients: Guilty victims.
Picassos: What more pathetic sight than a painter's genetic legacy warring over his memetic one?
Preventive Intervention: Fearing seeing something she didn't have or couldn't be, she unplugged her TV.
Erudites: Info nymphos who derive pride in confirming others' lack of learning.
Reactions: Superior wealth sparks envy, superiority itself resentment.
Naive Exasperation: You preachers, predators and killers: have you no mirrors?!
Sports Fan: Whether anything's progressing, regressing or just gressing is all the same, given the prospect of Sunday's game.
Prescription: Being lucid about our nature and fate won't hurt you; in fact it could be the seedbed for modern virtue.
Generation Gap: The young, twenty meters along the conveyor belt, made fun of those who knelt fifty meters ahead.
Life Projects: She had a philosophical bent before becoming inclined to swelling mankind.
Aphasic Astonishment: Proof that the truth has sunk in.
'Because it is written': Words that kill.
Distinctions: Knowledge is mostly a matter of discovery and dismembering, wisdom of recovery and remembering.
One Digital Consequence: Quality mongerers, a smug minority when masses mattered not, are cowered and lost now that masses matter most.
Liberation Aftermath: Ideas that once landed one in jail now fail to elicit any response.
Modern Art: A Short History: From irreverence to irrelevance.
'To be, or not to be: that is the question': By what sad (or happy) alchemy does reiteration raise depth to banality?
Prophet: You must follow and trust me. There's nothing to dread: I myself am being led!
Manichaeism: Either/or makes it so easy to keep score!
Identities: We are what we want.
Balls: Aging sedentarily, he warily felt for unusual bumps on his testicles. Finding none, he zipped up and zapped over to Wimbledon.
Philosophizing: The Two Camps: One, the few who wonder why so few do, and, two, the many who wonder why ANY do.
Responses: Nothing stuns us more than extreme evil (except for extreme good).
Cohen Leaves the Table: A privileged lifelong friend who could wait right to to the end, before passing on sensual (but not spiritual) ways out of our impasse,
Recommendation: Lend an ear if you hear of one who changed nothing when informed his end was near.
Strivings: At least failure doesn't leave you with an empty feeling.
Aphasia: Some truths strike one dumb: no way (nor desire) to tell anyone . . .
Human Life: An electro-chemical conspiracy of hope.
Projections: If only not having lived well was as terrifying as dying.
Commodity Markets: Pork bellies were up today! Surprise! I woke up today, surprised.
Collective Performance: When claiming credit for ancestors' successes, do likewise for their nastier excesses (even if they're one and the same).
Development: Going from wanting what we need to needing what we want.
Elites: Though open to all new comers, the intellectual minority remains the most resented.
Political Variants: Democracy dumbs down, aristocracy dumbs up.
Useful Abuse: Having cursed the sky for its kind of non-sense, and man for his kind, he felt a lot worse, with nothing left to curse.
Alternatives: Those who know how to spend time have less of it for money.
Intended and Unintended Uses: One takes his telescope and focuses on the enemy; the other takes his, points it to the sky, and wonders why.
Digital Growth: Geometric in quantity, arithmetic in quality.
Art History Question: Has art been greater under monarchs, clerics and aristocrats, or merchants, curators and plutocrats?
Halcyon Days: Most are sustained by memories of times lived under the influence of innocence.
Time for More 'Spiritual' Solutions: Busy, drugged, distracted, but unable of late to transcend self, reality or fate.
Geography: All men are islands, but we like to huddle so closely we mostly feel continental.
No Ifs, Buts or Whys: Simply put, the stars simply are.
Immortality: If we were ever to live forever we'd still be addicted to pleasure and esteem (i.e., dopamine).
Let-Downs: Revolutionary leaders and their followers are doomed to mutual disappointment.
Wrongs: What's irksome about injustice in society is how it diverts us from the cosmic variety.
At the End of the Day: Battle-fields are replete with the melancholies of both defeat and victory.
Patria o Muerte!: National liberators are better at liberating countries than people.
Nostalgia: She missed the blissful days of ignorance, when there was still a chance (though small) of making sense of it all.
Proposal for Yardstick: 'Greedspeed': How fast we move from having enough to needing more.
Planning: The best time to expire is just this side of the line separating expectation from disillusion.
After All: Death borne in mind helps our kind in living not dying (though some contend a life well-lived has a gentler end).
Eden: He a man, she a woman, otherwise they had little in common.
2003 Baghdad Blues: As yet another power bullies its way into Mesopotamia, one begins to resent the time spent reconfirming the lack of mystery in history.
Step Forward: You've made progress when you're no longer distressed by human stu- and cupidity.
Courage to Know: Somehow no fact, subatomic or cosmic, geo- or biologic, has quite the impact of the chrono- and necrologic.
Ruts: So many regrets relate less to having said 'yes!', than to not having said 'basta!' sooner.
A Different Approach: Perhaps becoming BORED by it all would facilitate the transition to our final state?
Doubts: Seculars tend to suspend disbelief for births and burials.
What's New?: Novelty is rarely compatible with a good memory.
Litmus: The best test is wanting to wake (and get) up.
Recipe: Tolerance's main ingredient is expedience.
Liberation: Cages can be opened and gates swung wide . . . but most prefer to stay inside.
Gases: Nothing is more volatile than the consciousness of our conscious self-deception.
Creative Minds: From dust to us to dust. No matter: both dead and living are bred in the heads of the latter.
Pulverization: Every single thing ends -- consoling the sad, saddening the glad.
Time of Your Life: . . . now, then, now, then, now, then, YOU!, now, then, now, then, now, then, you (NOT!), now, then, now, then, now, then . . .
Spanish Cultural Itinerary: Having rubbernecked before flesh and kings (and other elect) mounted on crosses and horses, the tourists were bussed to the bull ring.
Necessary Neologism: Not significant nor insignificant, we're simply asignificant: matter that doesn't matter.
Killing Fields: For some reason our Dionysian brutality appalls us less than the Apollonian variety.
Those Were the Days!: His lyrics make for less passionate songs, now that the dictator has gone.
Basic Needs: Granted, man cannot live by bread alone, but many men can by bread, butter and jam.
Relief: Let's do all that we love to each other and, for a moment, forget Beckett, the bills and your mother.
Faux Pas: Never force polite company into thought.
Chain: And to think that your dad's dad probably worried about the world he'd bequeath his kid's kid!
Erogenous Zones: Is being devoid of them better than having them avoided?
Inner Realism: Taking time to react to the fact of the slime, and other natural properties, of my liver.
Curiosity: Need to know from whence we came, need to know of what we're made. Need to know how to live (serenely) with the answers.
History Exam Question: Which period of history was the biggest waste of time? Explain.
Consistency: If a misanthrope has a child, can it be the object of love?
Basic Political Economy (2): Who says, does and gets what.
Umpapa, umpapa . . . : For better or worse the blessing (or curse) of reflection abandons us as we abandon ourselves to music.
Roots: Rights inherited or granted are rights poorly planted.
Hasty Judgments: Critics should be told to be patient: this mammal's only 8,000-generations old.
Histories: Personal history is also 'one damned thing after another', except that it ends with one damned thing like no other.
Quest: Tired of the superficial, he longed for the spiritual and opted for the ritual (and vision) of a somewhat organised religion.
Age Management: With time, the struggle consists of bolstering the present with the help of the future (however daunting), against the encroachment of the past (however haunting).
How to Stop Time: Avoid beginnings.
Post-20th Century Challenge: Try to improve the lot of mankind with no utopia in mind.
Warning: Beware of disillusion with your own kind: you may find yourself embracing ancient Greeks or Golden Retrievers.
People: Only the secure seem cured of the need to smother others.
Romantic's Despair: Some are forced and others fight for the right to exercise the oldest profession.
Anti-Socialism: To get anywhere essential, turn your back on the world.
Father and Offspring: Having fought for heaven on earth and failed, he now floundered in his criticism of his son's cynicism.
The Western Way: Elected oligarchs usually realise how little it takes to tranquillize the rest of us.
Heterodoxies: Alexander's greatness lay not in his conquests or being a god, but in his request for an audience with Diogenes the dog.
Motivation: He wrote to understand but published to persuade others he'd understood.
Genealogy: Looking down on her life she sought comfort in her family tree.
Muse: The poet felt obliged, after his last affair, to put pen to paper and say something about her hair.
Double Destiny: What's worse than no longer being? Why, being a corpse of course.
Ecce Homo: A bipedal mammal characterised by its remarkable intelligence and the trouble it has in using it.
'One upon a time ... ' That fabulous perennial narcotic.
Dissonances: We love animals with human traits and inpute animal traits to humans we hate.
La tentation de la facilité: The greatest hindrance to human flourishing.
Bloody Interruptions: His killer rudely intruded into his philosophical musings on the meaning of life.
Antonyms: The opposite of both hopeful and hopeless is hopefree.
Lepers: The lucid are rightly ostracised: why risk derailment by the facts from the skies when we're up to our eyes with those of our lives?
Populisms: Oligarchs ignore the modest needs of democracy's masses at everyone's peril.
Pursuit of Happiness: A favoured distraction.
Distractions We Live By: It all boils down to one question: 'What's your poison?'
Herds: If you've never felt your self melt into a crowd, you've never allowed part of you out.
Modernization: Having little trouble adapting to change, having lots adapting to none.
Humans: No animal is more intelligent and none more stupid.
Neo-Scolasticism: Maybe it's time to redirect our best minds to theological niceties and give nature a break.
What others will say: Too many are confused about whose views they should care about most.
What Are We Here For?: The most profound of presumptuous questions (and vice versa).
Artists All: No exercise of creative imagination is more popular and widespread than falling in love.
Turnarounds: What transition is more abrupt than that between pitying the dying and envying the dead?
Obligations: Heaven is an empty in-basket . . . Hell is as well.
Changes: With age, we measure pleasure by the absence of pain.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Surely social security should also cover the vacuum left by the death of our enemies?
Nothing to it: Our fatal flaw is the feeling of knowing it all following a minor (or no) mental effort.
Insomnia: He never lost sleep over his ultimate lot, but lost lots over his neighbour's new yacht.
Precautionary Principle: Many non-believers would just rather not take the Lord's name in vain.
Sentimental Performance: Tears flowed when the audience was exposed to the possibility of unprescribed and unrewarded kindness and decency.
Birthday: Having circled the sun seventy times, he grabbed his gun: he'd seen and been enough.
Perspectives: The wise seem beside rather than above it all.
Parsing: Life is said to be sacred, shit holy and wine divine . . . Thank heaven for little adjectives!
Arithmetic: Lonely plus lonely equals coupled.
Challenges: A missionary's Everest is a missionary of another bent.
Meteoritic Impacts: Lunatics must envy the moon for having gotten away from us.