Pacifists of Thought

The people at my old high school were what you’d call “pacifists of thought” — they would never try to convince you of anything cause they thought it was akin to a violation of your mind’s integrity.  Nor would they try to tempt or tease you into inquiring what they thought, because to them this was a kind of fraud or lure, like the web of a spider or lantern of an angler-fish.  I have to say one time I embarrassed one of them because everything he said was mysterious — you couldn’t figure out why he said it or what he meant by it — and I said “oho!  you are deliberately adopting an air of mystery!  Like the ancient philosophaster Empedocles who went about in metal slippers and a purple robe and tried to seem deep by self-murdering into a volcano as if to suggest he vanished leaving no mortal remains; oho my friend your obliquity oppresses, your ambiguity stuns the mind, your lack of pretention to having anything to say is pretention to having nothing to say.”  As I mention I shamed this man and he said “Fine, what do you want?” And I said “Tell me” and he told me.


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