10/02/2011

child





"A philosopher never quite gets used to the world. To him and her, the world continues to seem a bit unreasonable; a philosopher remains as thin-skinned as a child... Only philosophers embark on this perilous expedition to the outermost reaches of language and existence. Some of them fall off, but others cling on desperately and yell at the people nestling deep in the snug softness, stuffing themselves with delicious food and drink. 'Ladies and gentlemen,' they yell, 'we are floating in space!' But none of the people down there care."
- Jostein Gaarder


"What makes one regard philosophers suspiciously and mockingly is not that one again and again detects how innocent they are — how often and how easily they make mistakes and go astray — in short, their childishness and childlikeness — but that they display insufficient honesty, while they make a mighty and virtuous noise as soon as the problem of truthfulness is touched on. They pose as having discovered and arrived at their real opinions through the self-development of a cool, pure, divinely disinterested dialectic (in contrast to the mystics of all ranks, who are more honest than they are and more stupid with their talk of “inspiration”—), while basically they defend with reasons sought out after the fact an assumed principle, an idea, an “inspiration,” for the most part some heart-felt wish which has been abstracted and sifted. They are all advocates who do not want to call themselves that."
- Nietzsche,
Beyond Good and Evil #5




We'll forgive Gaarder's sweet self-aggrandising Enlightenment leanings, and, best of all, we'll forgive them because of Nietzsche's venomous metaphilosophy:



We need people to make the mistake of objectivity, after all.

(Or, if not "need", then "find it easier for". Evolutionary errors are like market forces, solutions requiring no upkeep; whereas hard-won Nietzschean self-possession is very much a Command economy.)


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Also: My baby brother does not know that I'm often regarded as a clever person. This lack of illusion allows him to call me a "silly" and to insist that I do not understand Lego; a faculty no-one else possesses and which he is soon to lose. But perhaps not!

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