Email me at krause[at]krauselabs.net
Inspiration and Models
The true love of virtue is in all men produced by the love and respect they bear to him that teaches it; and those who praise good men, yet do not love them, may respect their reputation, but do not really admire, and will never imitate their virtue.
If ever there was a sage, this exemplar of Stoic virtue would be it. A significant influence on my philosophical voice and tone of discourse. My paramount role model for excellent behavior, character and uncompromising honor. How to deal with anger and frustration, it was Marcus’ greatest dilemma, and his Meditations on this topic helped me to explore my own consternation.
What is within and outside of our control. How to act at an entertainment, or a game. How to deal with the loss of material things, loved ones and other things outside of our control. Plain spoken philosophy and the use of philosophy as a medicine for the spirit. He turned the chaos of my thoughts to a serene wellspring of clear perception.
The importance and action of civic duty. How all human beings share the same divinity, are of the same family. How to love women – to stick to duties first, and not to abandon them to fulfill your own desires.
The use of good rhetoric and morals. On Duty and Scipio’s Dream were of particular influence on my mental culture. His suicide during the war for the Republic and his refusal to accept Gaius Julius’ clemency informs my mode of public conduct.
The fortitude and passion to question the status quo when it brings suffering and fosters dysfunction within a people.
The conduct of a leader and a statesman. Self-sacrifice and prudence (his decision to resign the presidency after two terms).
Through his writings on the role of ancient philosophy as a lifestyle I became confidant in my keystone historiographical ideas and was able to mature my ethical code. His works Philosophy as a Way of Life, Ancient Philosophy and The Inner Citadel confirmed dormant ideas and theses within my mind on the topics most dear to me and provided a rich material to contemplate the fundamental duties of man.
The suttas helped me channel my childhood hatred, prejudices and biases into compassion through mindfulness.
Seneca the Younger
The method for instructing others in how to realize what is within and outside of their control – his letters are a precious didactic guide.
The impermanence of things. His koans have proven invaluable for contemplating nature and the cosmos.
The character of a leader to minister the well being and happiness of his people. Compassion in law. The Edicts were an inspiration to me.
His greatest work, The Faith of a Heretic offered great insights on the history of philosophy and the use, the function, of a philosopher as a bringer of truth. A healthy, qualified disgust for apologists, sophists and other anti-philosophers.
With Carl Sagan, the tools of skepticism. The wit and charm to debunk quackery without insulting people.
Straight Edge, the fundamentals of the punk ethic, a confidence in my disdain for the destructive ways of my peers.
The wonders of technology, electricity, telephony and tinkering. The joy of discovery and creation.
Diogenes the Cynic
Through him, Socrates and punk I became confidant in my rejection of fashion, fancy and rich things. The plain manner of a philosopher. The pointlessness of material clinging.
Magnanimity in victory, the conduct of a winner, physical combat and modesty.
Cato the Younger
His life and blameless character serves as a model for my own.
The method of enduring extreme pain, deprivation and embarrassment. The conduct of a leader: must be a moralist, must be a writer of law, must be a teacher, must be a steward.
His works Discourse on the Arts and Sciences and Emile profoundly influenced my perceptions of modernity as well as the education and upbringing of the young.
How we should be with our desires, ready to defer them in order to serve others, public responsibility, a public body and a lesson in what is most important in life: the community, the state, the whole.
His dialogues, as recorded by Plato, and the insights contained within their contemplation, inform the foundation of much of my thought.
The following is an incomplete, outdated list of admiration and gratitude toward my many mentors.
My uncles and grandfather for providing themselves as rugged examples of manly character, for living the virtues of perseverance, integrity, courage, fortitude, temperance, prudence, dignity, honor, for teaching me the importance of family, the rigors of sacrifice and the selflessness of good men, for never once speaking of how to act but only acting in the way they did by example, for never complaining or asking for anything, for always placing the community before themselves, for being content at eating the scraps from the banquet table only after everyone had stuffed themselves beyond all indulgence; for the simple way they live, for being humble; for teaching me the value of modesty and self-reliance, for sincerely loving their women and admiring them as true equals; for cherishing those in their trust and never betraying them before all ends, my uncle John for exposing me to Theravada Buddhism and for providing himself as a model of generosity, wit, humor, cheer, charisma, cunning oratory with a healthy disposition of reserved skepticism, for being honest and able fathers to their children, teaching me to take responsibility for all of my actions and accept the consequences of the situation, for teaching me the importance of duty and living by my words, for teaching me how to be a man when my father couldnâ€™t.
My grandmothers and Eileen for inspiring my childhood curiosity and creativity to be channeled into a positive force, that I was never told to give up on my ambitions or desires (â€˜satisfaction is the death of desireâ€™), that I was given the tools to allow my faculties to flourish and that I was never put down or limited in scope of my potential greatness and final end, that I could conquer the universe, for loving me unconditionally when I thought myself worthless, for always being sincerely interested in every adventure I had set myself upon, the way they so enthusiastically supported my childhood dream to one day dig up dinosaur bones, that they always listened to my epic sagas and found real joy in them, that they always knew my mind when no one else did.
Uncle Steve for introducing me to the BBS boards, information, security systems, the joy of electronics and reverse engineering, for never becoming angry with me when I managed to destroy these systems, for tutoring me in the fundamental ethics of the hacker; never for destruction, always to build and free knowledge for the sake of human understanding, the lawfulness (the duty) of pirating and the oppression of companies who seek to deny knowledge to those without money or privilege, the way he never became frustrated when faced with a malfunction and would dedicate endless hours until the issue was resolved with not even a hint of despair; the way he never failed to fix problems, for putting up with my womanly whining and defeatism; the way he involved me in everything he did as an adult and equal of mind and so engaged my utmost attention and hope, for letting me use his board login (wiseguy); for not becoming disgusted with me when I got him banned from every board on the east coast for using words I didnâ€™t understand the implications of at age five, the way he was always frank, honest, blunt and intensely interested in anything you had to say, for bringing me to the shows and letting me work in his woodshop; for helping me on projects when I was with the Scouts, for *always* being involved in some project or another and never letting a moment slip by without laboring on it; his intense devotion to mechanical and engineering matters, for enduring the battering and neurosis of his wife, who he loved more than anything, for making publicly intimidating machines easily understandable by speaking of them plainly and candidly (the way he used the term â€˜bastardâ€™ to refer to just about any piece of hardware), for putting up with my vile father who betrayed his trust by again and again deceiving and using him; for being a true friend to my father when he had none, the way he never tried to dress up my fatherâ€™s actions and would often be the first one to tell me the truth of the situation; the way he had no tolerance for lying and trickery, the way he performed amazing engineering feats (often utilizing systems in ways that they had never been designed for), how he was always cheerful of character but never distractingly so; the way in which he so naturally alternated between a intoxicating smile and intense focus when duty called to him, how you could call upon him at any hour and he would come to your aid immediately with no questions asked, his tremendous generosity and selflessness.
My first teachers for believing in me and assuring me that I would accomplish great things by shouting my name to the sky; for seeing promise in a lost boy.
Steinhoff for seeding in me a great interest for the natural sciences and feeding my innate curiosity with mysteries, for letting me tend to his lab equipment and take inventory of his supplies, for helping me to embrace and run with iconoclasm, for teaching me to not take dogma seriously and stick to the inherent meaning of things, for introducing me to the histories of the Greeks and Romans, for stressing that the Greeks were great minds while I was still awestruck by Roman displays of military might, for never picking me up in the morning when he passed me on the way to school but waving with a smile so that I learned to provide my own path and propel my own feet, for never being politically correct or hiding the truth (even to students our age), for being honest and with great charisma and humor, never betraying himself to the authorities looming overhead, for fighting the corruption in the schools, for always giving enough of a push to put you in the right direction but never holding your hand; for challenging me to reach excellence with nothing but a wink and a few words, for teaching me how to remain calm and dignified even in the face of great disappointment or misfortune, for offering fatherly advice when my father left.
Sackstein for introducing me to the finer aspects of literature, providing an avenue in herself for me to express myself in writing, for nurturing my innate creativity as Steinhoff did my curiosity, for honestly critiquing my writings and demanding more of me, for teaching me the virtue of humility and the dangers of arrogance, for being strict and forcing me to become familiar with the English language when I didnâ€™t have the foresight to understand why; for teaching me the power of language and oratory, for granting me a forum to test that oration, for playing into the madness of my violent stage plays; for letting me know it was ok to deviate from the norm in the creative process; to run with wild ideas and see them through to the end, for being sincerely concerned for the welfare of all her students and offering them private consul with honest intentions that went beyond her call of duty, for teaching me the value of silence and meditation, for making me question my racist ways and opening my eyes to cosmopolitanism, for teaching me to â€œknow thyselfâ€ and be sincere even if it means your hated, to do the right thing, even if it means you will be broken.
Franck for teaching me how to be patient and steady in the face of failure, to understand my limitations but never to settle for anything less than the limit, to approach complex problems logically and methodically with a plan of attack, the joy of dry wit, for teaching me to endure mental duress by calming myself down, teaching me how to be tolerant of irritating people and stoic in the face of mockery and insults; that he never showed anger and always safeguarded his reason from the passions but still maintained a fatherly affection for all his students, the way he was never agitated or excited as you failed to understand what he was explaining so clearly and plainly but instead approached the subject from a different angle so that you might comprehend it, to stay focused when surrounded by disharmony and remember what I had set out to do in the first place, to never surrender, never give up, to fulfill my duties as a man, to never complain or whine if the situation is possibly endurable, to focus on the task at hand, to not go busily from one proposition to another without concluding the first, to think tactically and prudently, to strike against enemies swiftly and with no warning or sign of commotion, to not judge the character of those opposed against you, only to judge their actions.
Pentola for showing me how philosophy should truly be used; for offering a year filled with Socratic dialogue and passionate debate, for teaching me how to be delicate in correcting others (when she corrected my mispronunciation of faÃ§ade), for teaching me to be accepting and to admit when Iâ€™m wrong, to stop clinging to old hatreds and old ideals, for opening my eyes to the holes in my absolute thinking, for exposing me to the works of Franz Kafka and existentialism, for showing me that the world of sense can be doubted and that empirical knowledge cannot prove everything, for helping me open my eyes away from the reckless nature of atheism, for being my role model as a teacher and allowing me to observe her mastery of the profession, that I learned not to call myself a philosopher or walk around and think myself better than even the most depraved beggar; that I learned humility of mind and ego and tolerance of ignorant persons, that I learned to refrain from ostentatious displays of flowery rhetoric and instead inspire others by acting and conforming to what my reason concluded upon; to use philosophy to liberate doubt; to use philosophy to govern our actions and not just our words; to really only be honest in acting our mind; and to be free from secrets and different faces; to always be steady and reliable, to display yourself as you are and not to hide any aspect of your life from inspection, for teaching me the value of esoteric philosophy and meditation and the wisdom found there, for keeping my sanity intact by blessing me with a place to rant, for showing unconditional love toward me and being always understanding of inner strife, for teaching me that nothing is more important than philosophy and truth, for teaching me to distrust appearances and instead probe for the real, for teaching me the irrelevancy of material things and how to avoid being disturbed by them, for not being whisked away in the elitism of professional philosophy or use terminology which only complicates the presentation of ideas, for being concerned with what everyone had to say (exhibiting no bias) and moderating debates with a godlike majesty, for teaching me how to be truly compassionate and eager to hear what the most despondent or most repellent had to offer to a discussion, for teaching me the value of dialogue and open discourse, for teaching in the Greek fashion with no inhibitions, for meeting with us after school hours to discuss philosophical issues, for truly being a lover of wisdom and a guardian of harmony, for teaching me to punish myself instead of being punished; straight instead of being straightened; teaching me to understand that I had done wrong and to correct the deed or accept it as being past, to not drone on the vile ways of the world, for supporting my lifestyle when no else did, for understanding the dread I often felt in the face of the common population, for understanding what always troubled me and always offering guidance, for exposing me to the Bhagavad Gita and the eternal wisdom of the Vedas and Upanishads, for showing me a model of how I want to live and die, for igniting within me a warmth and fire that will never die, for stressing the importance of meaning in everyday life and true happiness by being honest in what we do and say, for instilling in me passion, for helping me realize that my life beyond her teaching should be something more than the predictable, mundane and caged; for demanding that I adopt the noble path, fulfill my destiny as a mover and determine every judgment, action and decision by myself, that I do not settle for a career behind a desk, that I reject the chains that nearly had absorbed me in a materialistic and egotistic life, for understanding my misanthropy and need to not belong in a nature of impulse and self indulgence and soothing my fire with just the right words, for helping me find a way to be honest to myself and to the world, for showing me that philosophy and introspection is the only honest way to live and a life spent in a rat race is a life squandered; for convincing me that there is still hope in liberating the minds of the autonomous; for convincing me that there is a way to be good again, to be real, to avoid the fakeness and platitudes in the maze of endless instant gratification and escapism; for inspiring me to fight injustice and avenge those who have been wronged; for inspiring me to never settle for the unkind and apathetic nature of modern society; for demanding that I live well and for the sake of living well, not for any other inclination; for saving my life.
Braverman for exposing me to transcendentalism and the wonders (mysteries) of the natural world, for teaching me to develop a great distaste for authority (especially intellectual authority), to realize that things are never as they seem; to strip away the tarps and gilding, her first declaration to the class: â€œthink outside the boxâ€ as a philosophy for life, to never buy into popular conceptions of something, to always investigate on my own and seek personal truth, to never trust anyone immediately and to never accept what is told to me as being true initially, to never allow myself to be deceived by television (a stage and not reality), to not buy into flowery rhetoric and propaganda, to turn my television off permanently and go outside, for lecturing on the anima mundi and eastern mysticism, for being of impervious integrity and tempered with fierce moral courage, for stressing the importance of intelligence, self-determination and study for the sake of learning, for allowing me to see brutes quelled to submission in her penetrating but sage gaze; for teaching me to command respect without an army, by mere presence alone, for teaching me how to be truly powerful by disciplining the self and training the person, for never speaking more than she had to or moving too quickly; for teaching me to pass through the forest and leave no trace, for never sermonizing but emanating a aura of reserved ethical practice in every step and word; for being a true disciple of Epictetus, avoiding ostentation by acting her will instead of declaring it, for being a mother when my own was preoccupied, for bestowing in me true wisdom by allowing me to momentarily observe it.
Starr for teaching me the importance of the â€˜quest for honesty,â€™ for proposing philosophy as the history of ideas as opposed to the study of independent theory; the dishonest nature of sophistry, for helping me realize the holes in my deontological ethics and for inspiring me to embrace a more natural way to decide, judge and act by selecting which virtues appeal to my reason and cultivating them within myself but not expecting the same of everyone, for disproving the existence of universal laws and maxims; completely changing the way I thought about living and judgment, for stressing the importance of what type of person you choose to be as opposed to what type of person you ought to be, for assuring me that it is ok to escape from the vileness and idiocy of the masses from time to time; the value of refuge in creating your own society (much like Morrie Schwartz), the notion that philosophy is the practice of preparing for death, the pointlessness of most syllogisms and other logical propositions designed to â€œproveâ€ anything, the â€˜faith of a heretic,â€™ for seeding in me a healthy distaste for apologists, the dishonest and moral cowards, for affirming what I already had found within my own reason: the futile nature of describing anything that is immaterial; the dangerous nature of changing the course of our lives because of our arbitrary belief in immaterial things, that it is one thing to theorize and wonder about metaphysics but another to allow ourselves to be saturated in the delusions of rationalism, for teaching me that everything that I say or do must be thought through so that I am not ever deciding, acting or judging by custom, habit or the coercion of others, for teaching me how effective Socratic method can be if its used in conjunction with philosophy of language to demand the meaning of all words in a proposition so that everything is clearly defined and understood by both parties (often the absolutist does not even understand what he is saying because he has have never thought through the meaning of a word such as â€œsoulâ€), for providing me with the tools to break down statements and to identify logical fallacies and coercive rhetoric; to be aware of when I was being deceived or seemingly being defeated in a debate because of my opponentâ€™s exploitation of an incongruity in the logic, for opening my eyes to the dangers of labels and casual declarations of belief, for asking the question: â€œfrom where did this belief derive and why?,â€ for begging to know the standard that determines a proposed quality (beauty, justice, piety etc) so that such judgments are not arbitrary (they always are); what is the standard that determines if something is beautiful, just or pious, for exposing me to Nicomachean ethics and existentialism, for providing a forum to discuss the Republic which inspired me to conceive of an honest form of government and citizenship, for exposing me to many new ideas to brood upon in the night under the sentinel eyes of a certain Turkish Angora.
Hedstrom for renewing my will to fight against the evils of the world when I had become pacified, for providing a open forum for the passionate and creative, for disregarding the tedious nature of class work and converting our time spent together into dialogue and open discussion where living well and the development of character took priority over a paper trail, for inspiring me to strive for excellence and virtue in life and to toughen myself against all burdens; to endure is to grow strong, for being of immeasurable courage and wisdom; for being a model for my own pursuit of courage and wisdom, for teaching me the powers of rhetoric and the tactical use of oratory; for teaching me how to empower myself by following the three pillars (logos, ethos, logos) in all discourse, for making clear the dangers of groupthink and the coercion of dishonest rhetoricians (politicians) who mask otherwise obvious fallacies with sensational and trite platitudes, for keeping the discussions in class fully honest (no euphemism) and uncensored; for creating a society of equals where all were respected and there was no hierarchy of control dominating the dynamic; for treating us all as equals to himself, for being entirely dedicated to the purpose at hand and never swaying his attention or concern away from the speaker, for instilling in me a calling to civic virtue and true patriotism; a calling to make things right again and to demand honesty in office; a calling to restore the republic, how you spoke to him and nothing was impossible; how the grandest ideas were concretized immediately and put into action, the way he inspired every single one of us to change our lives for the better and to never fall short of what we willed to accomplish, for teaching me how to â€˜play the gameâ€™ long enough so that I am in a position to make things right again; the importance of imagery and theatrics, for never denying a topic to be raised and always running with it, his sardonic but irresistible wit, for following no protocol and seeming to always know what someone meant even if they didnâ€™t, the wise and powerful way he moved and commanded your attention when he walked into the room, the lifeâ€™s wisdom he shared with us every day that will help to steer us away from danger in our path to come, for providing himself as a model for the type of teacher I strive to become (like Pentola), for the way he was interested in the wellbeing of every one of his students and if he knew what was troubling you he would talk about it generally without referring to you by name and relating it to himself so that you never were intimidated, the way you were inspired to move mountains and take on great adventures in his presence.
Gilzinger for renewing my interest in literature and English and for approaching such works as philosophical meditations and not mere narratives; for always approaching things in search of the underlying meaning and implications, for renewing my passion in feminism and pagan idealism, for making clear the struggles and intolerance women endure at the hands of lesser men and dogmatists; how he provided himself as a model of a faithful and loyal husband, for lecturing on the ethical ramifications of writings and how we can learn to live well after digesting and reflecting on them (a mythological approach to literature), for training me to be a better writer, to make close readings and to always extensively study the climate and history of any piece of literature for the sake of our comprehension; for making me a better person, the way he commanded absolute silence, focus and respect without ever asking for it by maintaining an eternal cheerfulness and seriousness held together by a sincere gravity of character and his passion for teaching, the way he always doubted his greatness and impact on the minds of his students and never presumed to be anything more than mediocre when he was nothing less than a sage; the way he always apologized for when he had to be absent due to the complications of a terminal disease when we should be begging at his feet for him to speak a few more halfhearted words, for teaching me how to engage the unlearned using examples, wit and language most attractive to them and in doing so plant the seeds of self-transformation within them, the way he always listened to the most idiotic, embarrassing statements and questions and always responded with serious and profound wisdom, how his words had a immediacy and urgency which spoke directly to the heart and caused a great deal of introspection and questioning; how he forced you to think about things we often accept blindly (especially in regards to social norms), how just observing his golden character made you strive for excellence so that you might one day grasp but a wink of his wisdom.
Ricciardi for his readings of the classics, of Milton and of Shakespeare through the lens of virtue ethics and wisdom philosophy. Together with Emmer and my work in the history department inspired a new perception of ancient works, cementing my own Platonic underpinnings. How I could always be inspired when leaving class, rather than bogged down in a mire of frustration, dejected by the meaningless and tedious studies of my other professors. For consistently raising my spirits by the example of his impeccable character and fortitude when I felt hopelessness. His powerful, operatic, Ciceronian recitation of the texts, fueled with passion, which compelled your attention and contemplation on issues of grave seriousness. How he didn’t tend to sermonize, but instead created a vivid picture in the mind through the readings, and by analyzing the actions and consequences of the stories, improved the morals of those around him. His unabashed, frank honesty and bluntness, a quality sorely missing in modern academics. How his immediate concern was the spiritual and psychological wellbeing of his charges, and that he saw to lecturing on immediate topics to assuage soul sickness. His magnanimous and charitable character and love of justice unburdened his students, even while he was burdened with sickness and disease; his self-denial and generosity.
Emmer for his insightful fusillades on the cult of modernism. Through him, I came to trust my pre-existing feelings of estrangement from modern thinking (The value of which was drilled into my head during secondary school). His critiques of Descartes, Locke and Machiavelli were invaluable and unique, spoken nowhere else, and of incredible cogency. That he hasn’t become a great voice of our times is thanks to the sycophantic company he by necessity must reside among, those of which are deathly afraid of offense, rudeness and questioning the status quo. His sardonic wit which intimidated so many people.
St. Joseph’s History Department for offering me the opportunities and structure to mature into a confident scholar. Through my coursework I emerged with a distinctive method of discourse and analysis without betraying my philosophical thought. Principal models for imitation were Brennan, Blakeley and Barry, who indirectly aided in the cohering of my research and presentation method. For both of their meticulous attention to detail and lack of tolerance for half-assed research and work.
Hardcore music for providing an escape from all the vile ways, drama, poisons and violence of my circumstance, for teaching me the value and solace found in unity and cosmopolitanism, for instilling in me the punk ethic, for teaching me the virtue of tolerance and understanding of all walks of life; for defeating my racism and recklessness of judgment, for teaching me how to channel all of my rage and hatred into a positive force of self progression, for teaching me the importance of sincerity, discipline; the value of militancy, self-control and respect, for instilling in me a sense of brotherhood and community, for raising me when I didnâ€™t have a father, for showing me the value of sobriety and the devastating effect of poisons on peopleâ€™s minds and spirits, for inspiring me to stay abstinent from all things that would undermine my character, integrity and reason; for cultivating in me self-control, pride in my decisions and the will to live a simple life free from treachery and unnecessary distractions, for guiding me away from the destructive indulgences and waste of my peers; for guiding me toward a more intellectual and moral life, for being a forum for me to free my angst and calm my feeling of alienation in a brotherhood of equals, for making it clear to me the futility of living a hateful life and the importance of acting for the sake of the community, for â€˜the oath that keeps me free,â€™ for offering to me music which was meaningful, intelligent and passionate; for contrasting so starkly with the mindless drivel of the mainstream chants, â€˜faithless is he who says farewell when the road darkens,â€™ for being my crutch when I find the hour to be late, my heart is open; this slate is clean.
Black metal for helping me explore the inherent nature of the cosmos: nihilism, for offering a mysterious world to reflect, meditate and brood within, for being there for me when I awoke and found myself as a â€˜monstrous vermin.â€™
Fate for delivering me upon wise, noble teachers and loyal, honest friends, that I discovered hardcore music and philosophy before I could be swept by ignorance into the vile and idiotic ways of my peers, for inflicting against me no burden which was not endurable; â€˜nothing can harm a good man either in life or after deathâ€™, for chancing me upon the writings of Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus, for birthing me with no deformities and a sound mind, for blessing me with breath one moment more than the dead.
You can view my earliest surviving recorded philosophical journal here.
In The Case of my Death or Disability
Know that I can think of no state more intolerable than a state of disability in which I am unable to exercise my willpower and reason to determine my actions, decisions and judgments. If I am to be subjected to an injury or illness which disables my ability to consciously think and exert my will, such as a state of coma or persistent vegetative state in which there is no realistic chance of return to my natural state, I request that if you consider me a friend, have any respect for my ideas, or claim to love the idea of what I was, that you do not suffer my body to live. if I am unable to object to you killing me and will most likely not be able to in the future, then do away with the burden of my body.
You cannot lose what you did not control.