Going home

Richard Cohen is an ex-South African correspondent for the New York Times who lives in New York these days. He had a column today (In Search of Home http://nyti.ms/1fzpn4v) that asked where you would go if you knew you only had a few weeks to live. This is his answer:
I would go to Cape Town, to my grandfather’s house, Duxbury, looking out over the railway line near Kalk Bay station to the ocean and the Cape of Good Hope. During my childhood, there was the scent of salt and pine and, in certain winds, a pungent waft from the fish processing plant in Fish Hoek. I would dangle a little net in rock pools and find myself hypnotized by the silky water and quivering life in it. The heat, not the dry high-veld heat of Johannesburg but something denser, pounded by the time we came back from the beach at lunchtime. It reverberated off the stone, angled into every recess. The lunch table was set and soon enough fried fish, usually firm-fleshed kingklip, would be served, so fresh it seemed to burst from its batter. At night the lights of Simon’s Town glittered, a lovely necklace strung along a promontory.
As an ex-South African myself who knows Kalk Bay well, I liked it.

Colin Wilson The Outsider

I have just learned of the passing of Colin Wilson, author of The Outsider on December 5th, the same day that Mandela passed away. His book had a profound influence on my life, enabling me to turn from feeling like a plain misfit into something much more noble called an Outsider. Instead of feeling worse than society Wilson helped us to feel better. We were exalted souls lost in a cultural wasteland. While very narcissistic, it did have its positive side, enabling me – and I suspect many others – to go out and do battle with the world. It was a lot better than falling into a slough of despondency. So Mr. Wilson, thank you.

Pot-head good life

There was a fascinating oped piece in the NYTimes by David Brooks on the Colorado marijuana experiment.  It was not so much his comments on how he and his friends had outgrown the weed, but his comments on what constituted the good life – of which the weed was not a part in his opinion. As he sees it our goal is to become “more integrated, coherent and responsible people. This process” he says, “usually involves using the powers of reason, temperance and self-control — not qualities one associates with being high.” He then goes further and links these admirable virtues to happiness. As he then says, “The deeper sources of happiness usually involve a state of going somewhere, becoming better at something, learning more about something, overcoming difficulty and experiencing a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.” In found the connection  between his comments that focused on the work dimension and those of AEI that covered faith, family, friends as well as work interesting and worth exploring further.