Vertical Thinking

by Nathan Cheever

Love, cheese, and dead French philosophers

A triologue of three French philosophers on the intersection of intellect, love and how to educate our souls.

I’ve picked up reading Blaise Pascal’s Pensées lately and this statement made me wonder: “The greater the intellect one has, the more originality one finds in men. Ordinary persons find no difference between men."1 Do you agree? Intelligence corresponds with an ability to see, perceive, and find things. And not just regular objects, but qualities such as uniqueness, originality, and worth. Failing to see difference in men could mean one is more prone to prejudice and bias.

Form Thinking

Essay 1: An introduction to form thinking

The strangest homework assignment I received in college was to go outside after class and burrow into the ground. I did not complete that assignment. The next day my biology professor asked if any of us tried it. Nobody raised their hands. He then explained why. “That’s because you don’t have the right shape for burrowing! But a mole, with their small bodies, their paws and claws, they’re quite at home burrowing.

The Essential Philamping Packing List

Four maxims to pack when you're roughing it...philosophically

Today I want to talk to you about philamping and what to pack for it so you’re prepared. “Phila-what?”, I hear you asking. Yes, I made that word up. I guess that’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re driving across the country in a Uhaul with no radio or smartphone. My mind starts to mash up words. It means philosophical camping. I don’t think this term exists, but it ought to, as I’ll explain.

DeadTED #1: God Is Dead

A fictional TED-talk-like speech given by Nietzsche from his book 'The Gay Science'.

A fictional TED-talk-like speech given by Nietzsche from his book 'The Gay Science'.

Why I Recommend Philosophy

Mark Twain once said: “Philosophy is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime." Actually, the first word he said was ‘Travel”. Read it again with “Travel” and you’ll see that the two are interchangeable. They’re similar in that respect.

Human Free Will is a Qualitative Reality

In which I talk about why you should care about the free will debate

A year ago, free will was freedom to do what I wish. Eating a bowl of delicious honey nut cherrios now or later. Wearing the button down shirt I wore yesterday that doesn’t smell bad or a fresh one. Also, to decide who I will be, my attitudes, my priorities. To be the captain of my soul. That fullness of ability I often neglect yet that can still inspire me. That was free will.

Compulsion or Compassion?

A look at what’s behind Political Correctness

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”1 The Allure of Correctness My senior year of high school I fell perhaps too much in love with English. I gained a bit of a reputation as a grammar Nazi. I took a sort of pleasure in catching people when they dangled prepositions, failed on their subject-verb agreements, and said who when they should have said whom.

Brooks, Connors, Emerson, and Tolstoy on How to Balance Commitment with Change

We're told to decide and commit, but how do we stay flexible for change?

Introduction Sometimes it’s useful to call up a meeting with your personal board of directors when faced with difficult decisions. In this article, I’ll call in a few of mine to see what I can learn about the interplay of commitment and flexibility. Tolstoy’s Young Man with a Big Problem Nikolai Rostov was a young man with a major dilemma. He was betrothed to his cousin Sonya but he wasn’t in love with her.

How The Mental Models of Orienteering and Topographic Thinking Can Help Us Understand The World

Introduction Recently, I picked up an old college textbook I’d saved, thinking someday I’d peruse its pages and maybe get interested in Biology again. Well, the other day I finally did. While reading the introduction, two mental models stood out to me: the mental models of Orienteering and Topographic Thinking. In this piece, I’m going to relate these two models as my professor taught them, and then perhaps in later posts extend it to other concepts and writers.

Don't be upgraded

'Creative destruction' isn't limited to throwing out last year's iPhone. Technology upgrades can distract us from denigrating human capabilities.

Over the weekend I bought a fanny-pack, an analog planner, and a bunch of note cards. It felt weird, but refreshingly analog. That's how much of a degenerate I am.