Kenneth Smith

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy and education

To me philosophy like "intelligence" or "wisdom" is definitely a moving target, whose essence keeps metamorphosing as one gains more resources to penetrate it better. It seems only natural to me that Heraclitus would intuitively leave his murky manuscript ON PHYSIS in the temple of Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, i.e. the dialectic of living animal instinct with human acuity. Philosophers are after live and very cunning prey, already I began to think of my courses at LSU in terms of safaris and big game hunts, except that more and more they dealt not with ordinary species but with monsters, dragons, still-living dinosaurs of ideologies and orthodoxies.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy and understanding

I have always been spurred on by my not finding expressed anywhere the kinds of perspectives that I thought these issues most perspicuously needed and deserved; but that is just another way of saying that Americans have overwhelmingly expunged from their public understanding the strongest and most clarifying resources out of ancient and traditional European cultures. By far we prefer our familiar and user-friendly parochialisms, and there is no percentage in trying to pry these pachydermal plates apart.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, existence, self, and ego

For the vast majority of humans, to be a "self" means nothing other than to carry their own claustral cardboard-box of dysculture and rhetorical controls and verbal-perspectival poverty around over their heads, so they can be out and about "in" the world without actually having to be "in" it in such a way that they suffer the chaos of it and are exposed to the rawness of it. Idiotia wants always one-way perception or information or intelligence about the world, like the sunshaded stand-apart or alienated loner who tries to observe without being seen or the sniper who picks his shots without himself being exposed to fire; idiotia wants to know without being known, to stripmine the world and other people of what is useful to him but utterly without any reciprocity or just exchange. Ego overwhelmingly is just a way of getting through life untouched, unscathed, uneducated, i.e. with one's virginal infantilism intact; that is ego's most profound and pious mission, and the whole meaning of its ensemble of monadic-isolationist purposes; except for a very few anomalies across an entire population, "ego" is just the commonplace expression for idiotia. "Existence" for the vast majority of humans is more truthfully the buffering virtuality and technology of anesthesia or euphoria that shields them from actual and naked "existence," the kind of life that is "truth"-based (analogous to "fact-based accounting procedures," as opposed to unctuous and subjectivist hypotheticalisms).

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, wisdom, daring, audacity, courage, and excellence

The key to all aristeia and wisdom and gnosis is a seed that conformist and mediocritist and democratist Americans haven't got even a scintilla of a prospect of nourishing, and that is sapere aude:  DARE TO BE WISE.  

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, capitalism, depressions, cycles, politics, and economics

If you like capitalism, you will positively love depressions, because they are one and the same, like manic-depressives and their cycles, like spouse-abusers and their storms of violence.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, growth, and self-realization

It is man's intrinsic and irreducible self-responsibility to humanize himself, to exercise his entire range of rational and moral resources to raise his mode of being and seeing and acting above not just that of animals, but also above that of the majority of subhuman (never to be self-realized) humans who will never draw themselves into a self-punishing position of focal self-diagnosis and self-accountability.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, self-culture, virtue, excellence, and arete

In this world, not to be concerned with the pursuit of arete means to be doomed not just in the struggle with life but also in the struggle with other peoples: a people so facile, slack and fatuous as not to prepare to defend itself has already naively resolved to live out its existence as the enslaved subjects of others. War is omnipresent, to some a demoralizing eventual fate of all cities, and to others "the [Heraclitean] father of all things," i.e. the spur to all forms of virtue and excellence. We should be as energized and passionate about our commitment to our utmost values and self-culture as the warrior must be in learning the arts upon which his very life will depend.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, thinking, and intuition

Americans are cultured from their earliest years to be either one-sided douloi or one-sided banausoi, i.e. either they cannot think abstractively/conceptually/orchestrally or else they can only think abstractively. Thinking in a truly rational dialectic between intuition and intellect is just beyond the reach of our nation of emotionalist helots. What prevails among us truly has to be called not thinking but "thinking," a pathetic surrogate for actual thinking for the benefit of existentially or modally crippled mentalities.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, fear, and self-delusion

Between what human beings so naively and stupidly fear and what they most profoundly ought to fear-i.e. what they so pathogenically and addictively do to their own selves-there is a horrendous gulf and disparity.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, thinking, and society

You know, the brute reality (as darkling Heraclitus perceived so many centuries ago) is that in the vast majority of human lives, the mind is not actually an asset but a liability; humans on the whole are only apt to injure themselves through the deployment of their attempts at thinking, because thinking is a sublime art at which far more is likely to go wrong than to go right by blind chance. To encourage people indiscriminately to "think more for themselves" is therefore highly irresponsible if not catastrophic. It is actually a boon, in normal social and historical circumstances, that so many humans allow others to think for them-a boon when they live in something other than a predatory and mendacious social order, a society aristic enough on the whole to bear up fiduciary responsibilities for its undercastes. Alas, moderns try to practice this thinking-for-oneself in the most culturally impoverished of all cultures and the most amorally atomistic of all societies.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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