A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, war, abstractivism, conscience, scientism, consciousness, modernity, and nihilism

Just as totalitarian epochs have aptly been described as nightmare-interludes in which a society's continuity of "normalizing" self-consciousness lapses into a black pit of nescience and denial (a collective urge of wanting NOT TO KNOW--see Arendt's ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM), so too with war itself, which is inevitably some species of demoniacal terrorism:  even the "victors" in a modern war are victims, dehumanized utensils for imperialist policy; and those who inflict hideous suffering on others are traumatized to the end of their lives by the horrific things they discovered they were capable of doing.  John Huston's lines from CHINATOWN--"Most people never have to face the fact that, at the right time and in the right place, they are capable of anything"--is meant as an obliquely self-incriminating insight into the covert nihilism of modern hyper-power and macro-wealth; but in truth, in essence, it is just the knife's edge of Goethe's superb aristic and contramodern verdict:  "Everything that sets our minds free without giving us mastery over ourselves is pernicious."  The quintessential dementia of modern "consciousness" is just its sheer self-abstraction from conscience, from community, from values, from religion, from culture, from purpose, and from its own reason. We have been trained to "know" banausically, to know without caring, without judging or evaluating or grasping the larger significance of anything. That is what is called "science" and "fact" and "information."

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave