Matthew T Grant


Tall Guy. Glasses.

Not a Day Without a Line

As an undergraduate I took a class on Russian literature. One of the books we read was Envy by Yury Olesha. As I recall, the professor, whose name I cannot recall, though I do recall her telling me that she was not a feminist, told us that Olesha’s motto was, “Not a day without a line.”

Is it better to do things because circumstances demand it, or because we impose on ourselves a certain discipline? My current motto is, “Do whatever the circumstances demand.” This is my attempt to enact an ideal of freedom conceived not as “do what thou wilt,” but as “do what is right” – “rightness” being defined as “what is most appropriate to the situation.”

Can one be a “fundamentalist” when it comes to relativism? If so, that’s what I am. More or less.

Category: Writing

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One Response

  1. Daniel says:

    As we used to say, “moderation in some things.” Olesha was a very witty, quirky writer. Envy is like Notes from the Underground narrated by a clown instead of an homme de ressentiment. Right now, for me, discipline is the next right thing. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.