07 January 2006

When philosophy becomes a drug

I have an open mind and enjoy reading other people's thoughts and views on things - even when I don't agree with them outright. I believe that you can learn from people you don't agree with. Does that make me (gasp, horror!) "tolerant" - that can't be! I'm a conservative Republican. Isn't it against our priniciples to have any tolerance. Aren't all Republicans mean-spirited, racist, bigots, and homophobic throwbacks? At least that is what you've been taught from the Liberal Left.

Just like most of the drivel that these quislings spew, they're wrong.

I'm reasonably acquainted with the works of the philosophers: Nietzsche, Kant, Decartes, Schopenhauer, and Kierkegaard. From time to time I read some Leftist blogs that are written by, apparently, college students who are philosophy majors. I just shake my head as I read their postings. Here is an example of one:

Yet it is this early section of the lecture course which has most immediately guaranteed the Plato's Sophist's relevance for Heideggarian scholarship. Indeed, it is generally accepted that Heidegger's theory resonates much more clearly with Aristotelian philosophy than with Platonic ideas....which is reinforced by the striking resemblance his preparatory reading of the Nichomachean Ethics bears to the fundamental structure of Being and Time, revealing the particularity of Heidegger's indebtedness to Aristotle. In this respect, Plato's Sophist has been taken up in support of the growing consensus that Heidegger is ultimately most influenced by Aristotle's "practical philosophy", to the extent that commentators such as Franco Volpi and Jacques Taminiaux argue that within Heidegge''s interpretation of Book Six, "what he takes to be Aristotle's ontology of Dasein .... indicate[s] the very structure of Heidegger's own analytic .... which is the first stage of his fundamental ontology." Plato's Sophist is a reconstructed transcript of a course on Plato's Sophist offered in the Winter Semester of 1924-25 by Heidegger just prior to the publication of Being and Time. The text is in two parts; the first treats Book VI of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, whilst the second Plato's Sophist where Plato is cioncerned with the whole--- the notion of being.--as the whole of things, what the world, the cosmos is, including non-being’as a form of Being.
Heidegger's concern is to discover a pre-philosophic way to understand the character and nature of Being through an hermeneutical examination of the western philosophic tradition on the question of Being. That involves a questioning of what the tradition of philosophic scholarship holds Aristotle and Plato to have taught. It indicates how philosophy for Heidegger was in its doing, that for him, philosophy belonged to those who questioned and who didn't write historiological tracts but engaged the material as matter to be thought. Hence the significance of this quote:
'For manifestly you have long been aware of what you mean when you use this expression "being." We, however, who used to think we understood it, have now become perplexed.'

Whew! I don't want to give you the website URL because they don't deserve any more attention than they are already getting. Of course the site is full of Bush-Cheney vitriol and other nonsense from Moonbats with PhDs.

I fully endorse theoretical discussions. Exercises in debates can be healthy and Art/philosophy can be cathartic. It can assist the reader to breakthroughs in understanding and can illuminate the soul. You can become transparent to transcendence.

The question becomes: When does this type of study actually hinder your understanding and become an intellectual trap? I would say that if you're writing segments like the snippet above, you're drowning in your own pool of knowledge.

Let's say you get to a point where you know all the laws, the rules, the theories on existentialism and nihilism and, you can quote most of the top 10 philosophers from the last 300 years. You may be saying to yourself with a smug little grin,"I'm pretty bright."
But it becomes a big "So what?" life moment. It's like when I got my first honorable mention and a salty veteran walked up to me after rollcall and said, "Kid - that and 50 cents will get you a bus ride."

So when do you stop reading all this stuff and fully engage in living your own personal myth? Some people never get beyond intellectualizing. They go through endless loops of circular arguments, hunting for the subtle nuance of tone from one scholar to the next. Does it help you be a better human being?

It comes down to what Walt Whitman wrote in Leaves of Grass:

Have you reckon’d a thousand acres much? have you reckon’d the earth much?
 Have you practis’d so long to learn to read?
 Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?
 Stop this day and night with me, and you shall possess the origin of all poems;
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun—(there are millions of suns left;)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead,
nor feed on the spectres in books;
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me:
You shall listen to all sides, and filter them from yourself.

Philosophy without Action is meaningless and is a waste of time. The great poets take their philosophy and act on it - they fully engage in life by finding their own personal myth.

The most important message in modern philosophy comes from Nietzsche. He writes a passage in which a person goes through life stages. From "Thus spoke Zarathustra" - The 3 Metamorphoses:

Of three metamorphoses of the spirit do I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.

Many heavy things are there for the spirit, the strong reverent spirit that would bear much: for the heavy and the heaviest longs its strength.

What is heavy? so asks the spirit that would bear much, and then kneels down like the camel, and wants to be well laden.

What is the heaviest thing, you heroes? asks the spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon me and exult in my strength.

Is it not this: To humiliate oneself in order to mortify one's pride? To exhibit one's folly in order to mock at one's wisdom?

Or is it this: To desert our cause when it triumphs? To climb high mountains to tempt the tempter?

Or is it this: To feed on the acorns and grass of knowledge, and for the sake of truth to suffer hunger in one's soul?

Or is it this: To be sick and send away the comforters, and to make friends of the deaf, who never hear your requests?

Or is it this: To go into foul water when it is the water of truth, and not avoid cold frogs and hot toads?

Or is it this: To love those who despise us, and to give one's hand to the phantom who tries to frighten us?

All these heaviest things the spirit that would bear much takes upon itself: like the camel, that, when laden, hastens into the desert, so speeds the spirit into its desert.

But in the loneliest desert happens the second metamorphosis: here the spirit becomes a lion; he will seize his freedom and be master in his own wilderness.

Here he seeks his last master: he wants to fight him and his last God; for victory he will struggle with the great dragon.

Who is the great dragon which the spirit no longer wants to call Lord and God? "Thou-shalt," is the great dragon called. But the spirit of the lion says, "I will."

"Thou-shalt," lies in his path, sparkling with gold- a scale-covered beast; and on each scale glitters a golden "Thou-shalt!"

The values of a thousand years glitter on those scales, and thus speaks the mightiest of all dragons: "All values of all things- glitter on me.

All value has long been created, and I am all created value. Verily, there shall be no more 'I will' ." Thus speaks the dragon.

My brothers, why does the spirit need the lion? Why is the beast of burden, which renounces and is reverent, not enough?

To create new values- that, even the lion cannot accomplish: but to create for oneself freedom for new creating- that freedom the might of the lion can seize.

To create freedom for oneself, and give a sacred No even to duty: for that, my brothers, the lion is needed.

To assume the right to new values- that is the most terrifying assumption for a load-bearing and reverent spirit. To such a spirit it is preying, and the work of a beast of prey.

He once loved "Thou-shalt" as the most sacred: now is he forced to find illusion and arbitrariness even in the most sacred things, that freedom from his love may be his prey: the lion is needed for such prey.

But tell me, my brothers, what the child can do, which even the lion could not do? Why must the preying lion still become a child?

The child is innocence and forgetting, a new beginning, a game, a self-rolling wheel, a first movement, a sacred Yes.

For the game of creation, my brothers, a sacred Yes is needed: the spirit now wills his own will; the world's outcast now conquers his own world.

Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I have told you: how the spirit became a camel, the camel a lion, and the lion at last a child.-

Thus spoke Zarathustra. And at that time he stayed in the town which is called The Pied Cow.

This is the heart and soul of religion, of rebirth and of the Resurrection. Neitszche gets his mark. We all have to engage in Life - get down and dirty in the struggles and kill the dragon of "You Should". The "thou shalt" are all the rules and regulations that hinder your spiritual growth. Those rules keep you off your spiritual path and keep you away from your destiny.

Homo sum humani a me nihil alienum puto


Anonymous said...

You wrote all that an NO ONE responded. You suck.

Rue St. Michel said...

Sometimes it is lonely on the mountain top.
Hey - at least you read it.

What did you think?

Anonymous said...

"Those who fight monsters should be careful, lest they become monsters."