The grandest view of Gstaad and the surrounding Saanen valley bar none—and that includes the vista from my high-up-on-the-hill farm—belongs to an imposing house that was originally a sanatorium but is now a home for the blind. It’s ironic to be located where only eagles dare, yet unable to view the sights, but such are the jokes fate plays on mankind. I had just finished a very hard training and was looking up the mountain at the blind people’s home that looks like a very luxurious hotel from the outside, and my heart went out for those poor people inside, blind to the magnificent valleys and streams and mountains surrounding them. I feel there would be nothing worse than losing one’s sight, although Helen Keller might have had something to say about this. For some of you young whippersnappers, I too may be blind, insulated from the internet-dominated world, which I happily am, having decided that I will never learn to text, tweet, or use Facebook, although I do know how to file my copy and send and receive emails. Yippee!
I acknowledge that being a Luddite is a form of blindness to the modern world, but I hate modern technologies and the immediate pleasure they afford. Apparently, smartphones set off the production of dopamine, the same stuff that addiction comes from, but as I’m already addicted to stuff like booze and beautiful women, the last thing I need is a hard-on for a device next to my ear. I know, I know, it makes one a nonperson, but although anonymity may be a mortal sin nowadays, it’s still a luxury for some.
I recently read somewhere about Socrates and Wittgenstein both having an obsession for “knowing one’s self,” and found myself rather surprised at having something in common with those two chappies. Soc, Witt, and Taki, all three looking to be honest about themselves. Socrates and Wittgenstein both believed that philosophy was as much an exercise in self-honesty as it was an intellectual endeavor. Taki agrees. I know that I’m lazy as hell, and I admit it. I know that I go weak in the knees when I see a beautiful young woman, and I admit it. I know that a good wine or an old Scotch whiskey is irresistible, and I admit it, just as I know I can’t refuse a gamble if challenged, or a fight if told I’m too old and weak to rumble, and I admit it. Which makes me an equal to Socrates and Wittgenstein, and if anyone disputes this they can go to hell. “Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving one’s self,” wrote Wittgenstein in 1938. “Nothing is easier than not deceiving one’s self,” wrote Taki in 2018. I leave it to Takimag readers to decide who among the two of us is the greater philosopher. Old Socrates, of course, remains No. 1.
And now let’s get down to more serious business, like how to stay cheerful as the days dwindle down. September, October…it used to be a downer for me—the tennis was finished, the summer crowd of the Riviera had gone back to the cities, and rumbles would arrive from home about what I was going to do with my life. Head for South Africa or Argentina was the answer, keep the summer going at all costs, and that’s how I began playing polo, incidentally. But at least I never felt pain, stress, or terrible sadness, as is the case for 154,000 people in 145 countries around the world who have been surveyed for at least a decade about their emotional lives. Taki the philosopher advises these depressed ones to either charter a large yacht and sail down to Argentina, or go to Cape Town and pay for a photo safari with my Rhodesian friend Hannes Wessels. It is as easy as pie, or fake news, for that matter.
And speaking of the latter, did you know about the three blind mice whose names begin with M—Maureen, Michelle, and Maggie (the three stooges, actually, better yet three old hags)—who write for the N.Y. Times and who present their opinions as news reports? If that’s news that’s fit to print, I am also an M: Monica Lewinski. All three stooges naturally hate Trump, and Maureen thinks that Trump has also ruined Australia by being friendly with the new prime minister, Scott Morrison. (“He dooms children to detention centers,” she bleats.) The other two Ms are going nuts, but really nuts, that The Donald is still in the White House and trying to place a rapist on the Supreme Court.
As everyone who has not overindulged in dumb pills knows, the left now acts as if under the spell of evil space aliens. They’ve discovered a lefty academic whose “recovered memory” suddenly can keep a Trump appointee off the Supreme Court, and is trying to pull this bullshit with a straight face. Who was the Frog who said something about 1,000 guilty people going free is better than one innocent going down? What truly bothers me is that these very same people, like Dianne Feinstein of California, don’t lift a single finger to help women and children being slaughtered with American weapons in Yemen, because the Saudis have got to them in the old-fashioned way. So they sit in judgment with the smug superiority of a proctologist inspecting a patient, while an innocent man goes down.