Kenneth Smith

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

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, life, character, nature, society, wholes, value-judgments, values, discrimination, intelligence, options, and will

As Kierkegaard insisted from his theistic perspective, so Nietzsche also argues from his naturalistic one: whoever accepts the whole must accept as well the negative, resented, embittering, contrary elements in that whole. If life and character and nature and society truly are wholes, then everything in them is in some way essential to that whole; and we cannot grasp that whole by means of value-judgments if values are INHERENTLY DISCRIMINATORY or divisive functions of our intelligence. Values drive rifts between options, they exist for the sake of the natural powers of the will which (so to speak) needs its food cut up into willable portions or differentiated options.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, character, modernity, scientism, capitalism, truth, nature, culture, ideology, egalitarianism, hierarchicalism, libertarianism, values, principles, preconceptions, and logic

The worldview of modern scientism and capitalism are profoundly wrongheaded, rooted in an artificialism and arbitrarialism that cannot begin to see the primordial truth of the way nature actually works, in animals and in ourselves as well. All modern culture and ideology that try to disestablish these principles -- radical egalitarianism, capitalist or bourgeois materialist-artificialist hierarchicalism, arbitrarial libertarianism, etc. -- are flying in the face of the headwinds of both nature and values, the tides of human nature and human character. But these ideologies' fallacies are incomprehensible to them just because their culture systematically prohibits them from thinking about issues at the level of structural principles, of ultimate preconceptions: nothing but good pedestrian mechanical bourgeois logic, as remote as it can possibly be from philosophy.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, differences, oppositions, perspectives, issues, polemics, hierarchies, illusions, delusions, judgments, superiority, inferiority, rationality, objectivity, hierarchicalism, preferences, idiotia, aristeia, a

Values by their very nature tend to seed differences and oppositions, i.e. to make it possible for us to detect and appreciate the various perspectives from which issues may be seen; even though we (by a profound self-misconception) may find this psychologically and socially unpleasant, for the sake of value-intelligence we must learn to live and to thrive AMIDST such polemics, "in medias res," in utmost self-uncertainty and insecurity. Values, also by their inherent character and natural function, tend to form hierarchies; and even though our egos and appetites and illusions and delusions may resent being afflicted with judgments of rank and superiority/inferiority, again for the sake of connoisseurial and wisdom-seeking value-intelligence we have to stretch and traumatize our minds aristically to understand the rationality and objectivity of such intrinsic hierarchicalism, valid and authoritative over and beyond all that we may have cultivated as our idiosyncratic and subjectivist preferences (idiotia). Aristeia is naturally ingrained in the very nature of values; values are naturally ingrained in the very character and laws of nature.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, culture, form, immediacy, modernity, consciousness, self-centeredness, wisdom, and value

Human cultures are all experiments in trying to find a form that will fit the matter of our immediacy; but it is absolutely not the case that all such experiments are of equal merit or value. Some cultures -- and modernity is patently one -- have managed to transmute consciousness into the "disease" that Nietzsche called it, the self-affliction of a self-centeredness that has purged itself of all vestiges of wisdom and value.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, greeks, aristeia, values, culture, illumination, determination, life, cognoscenti, and vices

The Greeks took for granted a warrior-ethic ("aristeia," the virtues, values, culture and competence of "aristoi") not just between man and nature, and one city and another, and in the competitive contests (agones) between one person or point of view and another, but most especially between the individual mind striving for illumination and the vast surrounding obscure chaos of all that we do not know or understand or, as yet, have the resources to master. Humans from the earliest days of their lives have already planted their feet on one of two paths, one leading toward self-illumination or a determination to live life knowingly, as cognoscenti or "knowers," and one leading toward the absolute minimum of effort at illumination, a default-mentality marked by the vices of ignoranti, the countless herds of the mostly oblivious and passive who are content merely to be, to drift and be driven, not to be morally or philosophically accountable for themselves.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, consciousness, determination, criticism, sentimentality, ego, insight, truth, subjectivity, objectivity, and life

Not the least of the problems in clarifying one's consciousness is developing the stoic determination to criticize one's own softness or sentimentality toward oneself. Ego, self-solicitous about its own tenderness, is the ultimate policeman over its own false consciousness, dementedly uprooting every healthy seedling of insight into the truth. As Kierkegaard remarked, most people are subjective toward themselves and objective toward all others, but the real trick and task of life is to learn to be just the very opposite.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, self-mastery, growth, will, spirit, transcendence, passions, morality, aristoi, valuing, power, and self-delusion

The aristic thrust and conception of "contra natura" lie in our power finitely to extend our self-mastery, to GROW in will and spirit; but as Nietzsche repeatedly teaches in ZARATHUSTRA, such ends must be WILLABLE, achievable. There is nothing to be learned from the human-all-too-human impulse for self-deification or wholesale transcendence over the vicissitudes of life -- even though this aims at something contra natura, it is not truly concretely WILLABLE, it is just a fantasy of our imagination. We cannot BECOME a God. But we can learn to hold our deepest passions in check for the sake of a higher morality, if indeed we are aristoi. Willing and valuing must become an art, must be made consonant or coherent with the fabric of our natures. Mere megalomaniacal extravagance does not truly increase our charge of concentrated power; on the contrary it fires up our ambition with inflationary abstractions that give no traction or purchase to our actual wills. That way lies radical frustration and a metaphysics of depression: an inevitable life-pattern of self-delusion, as we suffer over and over from the necessity that "it would not be better if men got what they wanted," and yet will not permit ourselves ever to see or to learn anything from this self-deception and self-betrayal.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, moderns, values, excellence, worth, culture, fulfillment, purpose, fitness, and justification

Men who have made "life" easier and more bountiful for moderns have done nothing to make life more eminently VALUABLE, fit to be valued. We appreciate our inventors and benefactors but in truth they have done nothing whatsoever to teach us how to make ourselves more excellent, more WORTHY of freedom and life and culture. It is all very well to feed multitudes with self-replicating fishes and loaves; but the question that goes unperceived is, AS WHAT are we helping man to survive? What are we encouraging this consumer to BECOME, to AIM AT, to HUNGER AFTER as the fulfillment of the whole purpose of his living?

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

Syndicate content