Kenneth Smith

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, utilitarianism, banausoi, society, stupidity, deserving, exclusion, judgement, appropriateness, equality, democracy, merchants, and the public

To the Greeks not just slaves had to be excluded from the democratic franchise and public debate but also merchants, bankers, all money-grubbing banausoi, because any society stupid enough to entrust its ultimate values to be determined by the caste of utilitarians deserves fully what it gets. It would be like entrusting our sports to couch potatoes and paraplegics. Such a foolish society would get what we have in fact got, a civilization too fucking stupid to realize how hard cultural, political, spiritual and philosophical cripples labor to cripple everyone else to become just like them.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, ideals, self-deception, priorities, time, and importance

People compose the schedules they do out of the priorities they have; and someone who says otherwise is deceiving himself about what he really values. The same thing applies to money that applies to time. I make a practice of watching what people do, never what they say. Whatever is important, to anyone sane, he will make a place for it; people live out their values. Values are different in this respect from "ideals," which are typically vain and effete and thus exist mostly for the sake of promoting self-delusions.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, prejudices, preconceptions, reason, compromise, and pandering

Values and verdicts never bother me half as much as people trying to weasel their way around them, or people compromising their reason to pander to their own prejudices and preconceptions, which they are so rarely competent to look in the face.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, students, thinking, belief, dogmatism, orthodoxy, reasoning, enlightenment, values, principles, and culture

How many students who make it into the liberal arts and into philosophy classes still only manage to comprehend the content of these courses dogmatically, as simplisms to "believe"? Instead of grasping principles and values and an aristic ethos of clarity, they still only hear what pleases and flatters them: they grasp in Socrates or Plato the "countercultural" overtones that enable them to shower abuse on the diseased culture of their parents or peers, but they don't grasp at all the overwhelming obligation for themselves not to lie in orthodoxy's bed of sloth. They substitute, as opinionizers and slaves will do, one orthodoxy for another, imagining that the processes of "enlightenment" will change only the matter they think about and not the form of their own activity in reasoning. 

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, pity, and suffering

"Poor suffering humanity" -- it is inescapably true -- suffers from nothing else so gravely as it does from its own myopic accommodations to suffering, and from its benighted characterological determination to foster even more profound and systematic suffering for itself. Of all suffering, the suffering caused by the tendency of most people to use their potential rationality, spirit, consciousness, etc. as if it were a blunt utilitarian or libidinal instrument (i.e. for purposes of banauseia or douleia), is the stupidest, the most needless, the most wasteful and obscene. But this suffering is only made worse, only confirmed in its self-pitying irrealities and self-unaccountability, by being pitied and forgiven and dismissed as all-too-natural, so "natural" that it is supposed to be beyond all moral or valuational criticism. The only solution or therapy for this perverse and profound self-suffering -- the suffering of one's own misapplied active-subjective powers as if they were conditions beyond one's control -- is truly even more acute suffering, from disillusioning the tribal myths that make the Many into a Many, and the self-darkening "faith" that keeps the theater of the modern Cave in business as a growth-industry. Responding to all the problems of human beings with indiscriminate pity (as Dostoevsky and Nietzsche saw) merely makes one into an enabler, a compliant servant in the opium den of the modern Maya.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, society, human development, human nature, and civilization

Human life is an extension of the principles of nature, and human civilization is a venture extrapolated out of human natures: man and his natural potential are the root of the entire human domain. The great task of all philosophizing is to become competent to interpret and steer the potential developmental forces in human natures and in the human condition, both of which are prodigiously fatalistic.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, myth, abstractivism, scientism, literalism, and culture

Myth is not what we most readily-most facilely, and typically abstractly-take it to be: "exotic stories" from cultures unlike ours. Myth is a mode of culture itself, which precipitated those stories and gave them their power and form over the mode of mentality or personality to which it is a historical-psychological correlate. Myth is a way of being, a mode or dimension of subjectivity, an organic system of concretely grasped value-principles concentrating the meaning of human life into a pre-philosophical metaphor, a nuclear parable or potent allegory: we recognize it in primitive or premodern peoples, we see it-briefly-in the sparkling imagination and spiritual life of children, before our distinctive modern culture crushes their morale and introduces them to the prison of compulsively literalizing ways of seeing things, the prevailing prosaic, banal, fact-ridden existence to which literalized and abstractivized mentalities can of course see no alternative. Moderns know myth, as they know anything, only as what they have dissected it into, what they have "scienced" or intellectualized.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, myth, reason, and obscurity

Myth is the practical metabolism of our soulish life, the logic of our obsessions and oversights for which we have no language or code. Myth is the "morality" that the ineffable puts upon us, our unaccountable imperatives, our inexplicably selective clarity and obscurity, the mortal one-sidedness of our talents and wits, the passion and apathy that make such a transient passage through our hapless minds; that weave a pattern of fatality others will see before we do. Myth is distinctively human or sublime higher-order instinct, the "reason" in culture that reason knows not of.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, art, morality, conventionalism, myth, and society

Art or culture or philosophy must ply its genius today against this most prodigious opponent in all of history-human self-obliviousness, man's deific powers of denial and delusion, the nescience buried in the heart of science. Art must keen its scalpel for one sure incision, it must razor the bladder of an inflationary corpus of hypertrophic beliefs so deftly that the violence is only felt after the fact. Delusion must be lanced like a boil bloated to purple distension: art is not the play of pretty illusions-entertainment is that whoring pastime-but rather righteous and wise disillusion, judicious severing of a malignancy. Art is far from amoral; it is in crusade against lying and trivializing conventional morality and must transcend that snakepit of corruption, certainly; but amoral it is not, in no way is it free to be neutral and objective. Art is either the lancet of a higher truth, a law superior to any of man's pleasant and flattering rhetorical reasonings, or else it has no authority, no right to command anyone's attention. Art traffics with the divine, that is, the hidden or occult, the mythic, which is after all of the very essence of man, the stuff his character and even his life are ultimately woven from. A wise society knows to have contempt for egomaniacal poseurs playing onanistically with art supplies, and a foolish society imagines that "art is whatever artists may do."

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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

The modern "world" only exists or functions as an apparent self-coherent and universally extensive "world-order" insofar as its conventionalisms, conformisms and orthodoxies are profoundly and systematically mistaken for something other than the ideological (ulteriorly motivated, extrinsically utilitarian) constructs that they actually are: their validity hinges utterly on a mass of profoundly defeated or pathetic slacker-mentalities incompetent from childhood to discriminate the modality "artificial" or "willful" from the modalities "natural," "divine," "metaphysical," "rational," "fated," "transcendent," "authoritative," etc. In modernity's ingeniously self-presupposing or petitio-principii structures and media, the pathos ("false consciousness" or complacency/pliability) of nearly all denizens of its dysculture is an exactly reciprocal measure of the suppression, demoralization, or extermination of residual aristoi or their values and culture of aristeia. I can't put the structure of our contemporary "social controls" on "thinking" much more concisely or nakedly than that.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

Syndicate content