modernity

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, thinking, consciousness, intellect, modernity, and truth

In characterizing realities no less than in taking positions on issues, consciousness generalizes, i.e. genericizes:  in articulating or formulating, it reduces things, even our own selves, to forms, abstractions, idealizations, types, archetypes, simplisms.  “Thinking” is an activity that ultimately grounds or resolves itself in the satisfying, self-certain form of orthodoxies, preconceptions, uncriticized and imperative norms; and it is overwhelmingly inept to recognize just how pathetic, parasitic or placental is its relation to its “own” fundamental norms of understanding and valuation.  Rarely if ever does any act of thinking grow so laserlike or iconoclastically intensive as to escape from the dense miasma of what is acceptable.  To think what actually is is even more contranatural for humans than to see what actually is:  as subjectivizing as “seeing” is, “thinking” is many degrees or magnitudes more saturated with conditioned biases, delusions, self-deceptions.  A program of hygiene or asepsis for the sanity, acuity and clarity of syncretic or wholesided thinking—a discipline of orthotics for sobering, grounding and polemicizing of well-formed gnoseonoesis—is needless to say unknown in modernity.  Not just language but virtually all of intellect, education, culture, etc. have been adapted into utilities, tools whose very aspectivity militates against the nakedness of “evidence,” which is to say, against candor and against truth:  regardless of what it may be called, “evidence,” even the most obvious and blatant, is in actuality not so “evident” to most people, and the modern development of “sophistication” or “education” typically worsens the obscurantism.

Kenneth Smith

Source: http://www.tcj.com/blog/kenneth-smith-on-the-cave-of-false-consciousness

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, modernity, nihilism, humanity, aristeia, and nietzsche

Nietzsche's realization was astute that modernity had abolished the very prospect of humanity as ancient culture grasped it as aristeia or nobility, or even as medieval Christianity grasped it in the form of spirituality.  Modernity has, from generation to generation and from century to century, an ever-lowering ceiling of minimalist "humanity," an arrant folly of setting up the democratist "human, all too human" as if it could in any way serve as some sort of norm or standard.  It is nothing but a quivering, quavering mass of pathos, a gross form of moral and spiritual and philosophical bankruptcy:  it is one great complex of fault-lines across the superficial plaque of a veneer-culture, a mere mask of humanity over bestiality.  That is what our programmatic war against aristeia ultimately means, the systematic abolition of "man" as well considered as an honorific or value-laden concept.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, norms, culture, modernity, nietzsche, nature, mankind, responsibility, and man

Nietzsche recognized the prodigious accomplishment of the Greeks in at least two seismic insights:  (1) that man was somehow capable of being cultured to become more than just another heteronomous "phenomenon" within nature, society or history, i.e. he could in the most exemplary or extraordinary of cases stand in some sort of parity with the ultimate principles that shape and drive and organize existence (which is as much as to say:  the gulf between aristoi and douloi is as abysmal as the chasm between cosmos and chaos, between arche and hyle or principle and matter); and (2) that in man nature—in actuality culture—had managed to produce a true prodigy of timebinding self-mastery, "an animal that dared to promise" and to make itself live up to its promised responsibility.  Modern behaviorism and economism and scientism have undereaten the foundations of all these normative accomplishments.  All the spiritual and rational and cultural and philosophical achievements of premodern civilization had long ago become nothing more than a treasury of rhetoric for moderns to pillage and deplete.  Culturally considered, modern "culture" is de facto a form of entropy or self-parasitism, a thieving or vampiric world-order that accomplishes nothing whatsoever in the domain of norms; on the contrary it bleeds this domain down to nothing, to pathos.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, politics, illusions, lies, deceit, credulity, humans, modernity, gullibility, deception, civilization, domination, slaves, freedom, self-determination, and self-delusion

Modernity and most of all bourgeois-banausic "individualist" ideologues cannot begin to fathom the visceral lust for domination, whether in the form of demented idiotist-master-types or in the form of demented idiotist-slave-types.  If humans profoundly and rationally wanted to live free and think free, they would in every case have spun out for themselves forms of existence that both prudently and wisely foster an ethos of self-determination.  Moderns are self-delusive beings who cannot begin to face much less fathom their own primal need to be taken care of, to be dependent and directed and consoled and reassured etc.  They are inbred patsies standing in droves on the corner, waiting for the next conscription-bus to come along and give their aimless, dissolute and valueless existences some kind of transcendent meaning by putting them to work in imperialist wars for even more brutal domination over other peoples around the planet.  After the third or fourth war cut from the same veil of Maya, one gets weary beyond telling of man's insuperable mendacity to himself.  "Human nature" is forever a topic unable to be characterized without a word like "pseudophilic."  Most humans prove their vacuum of aristeia, of truth, conscience, rationality, or principles, by their truly dreadful and credulous yearning to be lied to.  We aren't just by accident a species gullible enough to believe what mass-campaigns of organized deception feed us; we were truly born hungry for sweet illusions and delusions.  And nowhere near enough humans succeed in emancipating themselves from the simian lust for narcosis, for soporific virtualities, to make civilization truly feasible.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, money, capitalism, culture, modernity, meaning, and values

The modern world has got a variety of Midas' disease, the one where everything a whore touches turns whorish because nobody can see past the money any longer to the meaning of anything.  I suppose this is "culture" considered as a form of STD, where it isn't natural generation that is the central and obsessive principle of everything but rather Money, the principle of all fertility for artificial generation:  instead of the "gift that keeps on giving," it's the mania that keeps on taking.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, possessions, modernity, egologism, privatism, isolationism, ego, sharing, generosity, culture, politics, democracy, and aristeia

From moderns’ manic phobias about socialism and communism it is patent that this is a civilization of paralytic egologism, of psychotic proprietarism:  the American aborigines who were genocidally extinguished by waves of whites saw most sharply the truth about modernity’s manias—“The love of possessions is a disease with them.”  In moderns’ culture of abstracted ego and intensified but destitute “consciousness,” the aristic ethos not just of sharing and generosity but also of open communication, forthrightness, honesty, and candor has demonstrably perished.  There are utterly not enough aristic personalities surviving to make a commonality of culture feasible any longer:  “politics” has become a dark euphemism for organized deception, hi-tech manipulation, and Olympian Machiavellian intrigues, and “democracy” in that world-order is so moribund it can be little more than a pious verbalism, a rhetorical fraud.

Kenneth Smith

Source: http://www.tcj.com/?p=605

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, 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, power, aristoi, society, enslavement, self-mastery, values, difficulty, and modernity

Just consider for a minute: look at the Many, the majoritarian cattle in every form of society who are governed by their own irrationalist beliefs and psychological needs and forces of social coordination with others (doxai). Taking control of the Many's always turbulent irrationalisms is child's play. They are the strata, the type most susceptible to enslavement not for accidental but for essential reasons. There is nothing whatsoever difficult in mastering or controlling them, and therefore it cannot be respected as any sort of value, especially not an aristic value. Values as ZARATHUSTRA argues are every people's ultimate concept of what is most difficult of all for them. What Nietzsche esteems, what in modern circumstances has come to seem "superhuman," is the aristic drive to accomplish what one judiciously recognizes as most difficult for oneself. "Power" is the natural reward or concomitant of those who struggle aristically to achieve the most contra-natural thing of all for human beings, self-mastery, the harnessing and knowing of the obscure forces that no one is in control of by birthright. There is no honor or valor in triumphing over defenseless and witless mentalities, regardless of the mass-numbers involved or the prodigious "power" (in the modern -- banausic -- sense) that results.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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