Kenneth Smith

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, reason, passions, desires, and slavery

Most humans know their own "reason" only in the sense that Hume defined it, as "a slave to the passions"--and by "passions" he meant not moral passions or the passions of transcendent genius, but only low appetites or base desires, which society and economy ultimately shape and spur on in us.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, cults, therapists, psychotherapy, therapy, psychotherapists, culture, modernity, and insight

Like the priestly cult of the Middle Ages, the modern priestly cult of "scientific" psychotherapists exist overwhelmingly to stultify or blunt a too-acute insight into the powers benumbed in our personalities by our prevailing culture.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, intellect, noesis, gnosis, academia, and education

The approach of intellect or noesis will forever be an effete and limited sort of thing by contrast with the vigor and color of gnosis; but in academia there is virtually nothing but noetic minds to be found, and the very idea of gnosis is alien and untranslatable, not to mention discreditable.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, education, teaching, students, and passion

There is a form of poetic and esthetic and moral genius necessary to make philosophical issues truly incandesce for students, and even though I indeed had some world-class professors myself when I went through the curriculum, I rarely saw such gnosic or concretist/poetic passion among them.  I am not speaking of broad histrionics or melodramatic delivery, but rather a moral investment of concern, of loving delight and pathos in exposing one's consciousness to the full horrific and magnificent implications of the materials.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, intellect, modernity, specialization, utilitarianism, and banausoi

Nietzsche is absolutely correct, even more correct today than when he wrote it in Thus Spake Zarathustra:  I looked all about me for human beings but all I saw were fragments, deformed creatures with too much eye or too much ear.  This is what the modern culture of specialized intellect--the kind of one-sidedness that banausic utilitarianism alone can value--works so hard to produce. 

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, soul, and magnanimity

Terence:  nihil humanum alienum a me--"nothing human is alien to me," the greatest expression of ancient megalopsychia or great-souled and cosmopolitan "magnanimity."

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, education, academia, intellect, and intelligence

One can hardly appreciate how academia has perverted its highest tasks and "ideals" without pondering long and hard the implications of Jacques Barzun's House of Intellect and its Hegelian/Bergsonian contrast between rigidified "intellect" and always-growing "intelligence."  This fundamentally Hegelian distinction, needless to say, cuts to the quick of the contrast between Platonic and Aristotelian forms of philosophy.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, truth, dynamicism, holism, energy, and spirit

There is no extrahistorical or eternalist or abstractivistically pure standpoint where we can get oriented in the absolute Truth per se before dealing with the concrete lineaments of how we happen exist in this time and place.  We are participants in a dynamic system and we know its profile only by its action in organizing how we interact together and how we see our own selves.  "The truth is the whole," and the whole is a system of living energy:  our life as human and historical spirits.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, education, energy, spirit, and appearance

Education in philosophy is energy speaking to energy, a higher perspective of spirit that is trying to awaken its next natural generation to something beyond the stupid appearances of things.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, students, suffering, thinking, clarity, teaching, ideas, freedom, sympathy, education, and conviction

Because of the very intimate character of philosophical norms and criticisms, a teacher in philosophy has to be like Alexander the Great:  never issuing dictates as to what his soldiers ought to do that he was not ready and willing to leap into doing himself.  An excellent teacher is one accomplished in serving as an exemplar, every act of every kind of thinking and every form of perspective must be something he is prepared to illustrate by carrying out himself.  Students need to see the incandescent arc-welding that joins ideas together into thoughts.  If one is saying something that inflicts suffering, one by all rights had better be prepared to suffer along with the student, to sympathize and assure them that the profit for this agony consists in freedom and clarity. 

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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