Thoughts of an Anti-Philosopher
- Being is that which must be, and yet never is.
- Eternity is the infinitude of the possible.
- The truth is whatever happens to be the case.
- The truth is that which conceals nothing.
- Virtue divorced from vice is vicious.
- For the artist, the ego serves as a prophylactic.
- To be a philosopher has always been to wear the mask of truth.
- Every philosopher must protect himself against the terribleness of his knowledge--he has need of a prophylaxis, he has need of "wisdom."
- There is a suggestion in Heraclitus that truth is an element that we breathe--it is that which quickens us.
- Each thought conceals its own essence and speaks nothing of it.
- Every philosopher leaves behind a body of discarded convictions.
- The more resplendent the brilliancy, the more glaring the fault.
- The only thing that is not redundant is redundancy itself.
- We become wise out of necessity and not by choice.
- Where there is love of women, there can be no philosophy.
- He who believes he possesses power is possessed by it, while he who makes use of power, yet eschews its possession, is unpossessable by it. The one is a slave, the other a free man.
- It is not gods who have been worshipped from time immemorial, but power.
- Force is never anything but a means, but power is an end.
- Many may have a view, but few have a perspective.
- Inattentive thinking is a blinding, an unseeing, a sleepwalking among the already-known.
- In perceiving, we select, order and dispose. An all-seeing eye could only see accidentally and at random.
- Philosophy is a latecomer--it belongs to sunset and dusk. It is poetry that is animated by the spirit of the dawn.
- In the earliest time, what was "immoral" beyond all else was the private and the individual, for it holds itself accountable to itself rather than to others.
- We no longer live in the midst of a world of essential being, but of existential sublimations. We deceive ourselves if we think that through mental appropriation we have captured the being of existence. In presuming to "know" existence, we have blinded ourselves to it.
- Gide on Dostoievsky, "perhaps not with just enough mind to be fully aware of all the secrets." My immediate hilarious eruption: "No, not the small ones!"
- It is certainly one of the consolations for a strong spirit in an age of sickness to be sick as well, but in a remote, incalculable sense, so that one's special degree of sickness not only conjoins one with the general malaise (a malaise which cannot be escaped except through exceptional means), but, contrarily, succours one's strengths as well, especially of the spiritual orders, if you will. To desire not a cure, but a higher level of malady, i.e., a higher awareness, a higher state of knowledge, so that sickness becomes positive justification for itself as negative stimulus to life--and so sickness may itself be a form of health, just as health may in fact be a kind of sickness.
- Thought is a disease of consciousness--so says the Advaita Vendanta.
- Being makes its first appearance as the question of itself.
- Being disappears in its announcement.
- Dialectic is the countering of thought by itself. In this sense, dialectic is the essential reactionary element within thought which makes thought possible. For thought to be possible it must subsist as the negation of itself.
- The end of the dialectic is contradiction; synechistic thought, on the other hand, proceeds from paradox.
- Here we have ground of chance (life), field of force (nature), and flux of time (history). The life of nature is history; the nature of history is life; the history of life is nature.
- In the earlier history of the human, it was exactly that which was most "noble" which scorned dialectic as being of common origination.
- Self-consciousness arises out of negation and is founded on the power of negation. But the negative essence of self-consciousness must not be confused with the dialectic, as such, for the arisal of the dialectic depends upon the positivisation and, as such, the falsification and inversion of this essence, in other words, on the negation of negation , as Hegel phrases it, out of which a new positive arises. Thus, self-consciousness, as the negation of a negation, must always posit itself against the "not-self" as the negative of itself.
- The dictum, "Know thyself," in its original sense could have only had an entirely different meaning than we might assign to it today, for it was not the personal self, the ego, which was called into question here, but the heraldic self.
- The heraldic denotes the prime necessity and highest value of self. Self-knowledge in this original form is a choosing, a selection, and determination of that which has heraldic significance as against that which possesses a merely "personal" value. Pindar's exhortation, "Become what you are!," pointing toward the what and not the who, is indicative of a heraldic goal placed over and above life.
- Self-concealment is never deeper, never more profound, than when we presume to self- knowledge. The old Delphian dictum, "Know thyself," was even then a trap for the unwary. How many have lost themselves in thinking they had found themselves!
- A society defended by citizen soldiers, such as was the case in Athens, will always mean by virtue and trustworthiness that one will not turn tail and run once the battle has commenced, but will stand firm with one's comrades eventhough it be to one's detriment or death. If citizens, however, exempt themselves from such service, hiring others to perform it for them, such as in the case of mercenaries, then their societies must be deemed unfortunate, for he who is the most privileged, once he has abandoned all pretense to valour, is then generally no more honest, trustworthy, or virtuous than a common thief.
- The revolutionary impact of the revelation of Eternal Recurrence would be that we would be confronted with this very quandary, that we cannot separate ourselves from anything that has occurred in our lives and thus could not wish that anything would not have been without wishing that we, ourselves, would not be. Not being able to wish that anything would not have been is tantamount to wishing that everything would repeat itself exactly, ad infinitum.
- To be an anti-philosopher is to "loiter" in the domain of thought.
© Copyright 1996-2008 Steven E. Callihan
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