modernity

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, rights, spirituality, morality, culture, community, self-development, modernity, and society

But for the Jews this moral-spiritual issue raises the same societal problem it does for the Greeks: how can a man have the "right" to make himself spiritually or rationally destitute or retarded when this corrupts the whole quality of the culture that we all together need and depend on? If anyone wants a cloistered and closed-minded life, an anti-aristic life, let him either go off and live among the wolves--or else join the community of like-minded idiots that (alas) compose and define the basic terms of modern society.

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

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

Modern science precisely because of its intellectualist or unreflectively banausic predisposition has time and again bound itself into monocultural or authoritarian circumstances of institutionally enforced orthodoxy, and strictly as such-as a rigorously self-uncritical or "ordinarizing" pursuit of regularized questions within an un-thought-about framework of axiomatics or "deep science" that only extremely rare geniuses are permitted to question in their fundaments-"science" is not competent to resolve the ultimate questions that it involves itself in about the limited conceptual validity of its own covert metaphysical preconceptions or about the ultimate and actual applicability of these forms to "reality," which by grace of the dominion of the ideological system of science increasingly tends to get converted into nothing more than whatever science is predisposed to consider it to be. The autism or subjectivism of our highest accomplishments of intellect cannot be dealt with by one-sidedly banausic or "objectifying" science, which is as much as to say that for radical and structural reasons our "science" is no more than pseudoscience.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, understanding, moralizing, intelligence, thinking, modernity, and feelings

I subscribe to Hellenic existential values, which is to say, nothing is truly "understood" in any penetrating or rational way until it has been traced back to its implications for ultimate values. Moralizing in the most profound and synoptic way should be the primary challenge for modern philosophers, a way of recovering the kind of articulated value-intelligence that ancient culture exercised. For most moderns there are no such things as foundational values or principles; there are only feelings, vagrant or idiosyncratic emotionalisms. To "think" in a merely abstract or conceptualizing way, free of the tasks of connoisseurial and spiritual evaluation, is in truth already a form of delusionality just in itself: it is the error that Kant describes of a bird realizing how much resistance the wind causes for it, and imagining that if only it were in empty space it could fly ever so much better. Hegel's understanding of the task of philosophy "in medias res"--having to come to see and understand not in a hypothetical vacuum or laboratory conditions in vitro but amidst the turbulence and conflicts of actual historical existence--is the only ultimately sane, rational, and humanly responsible method.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, scientism, objectivity, academia, reality, thinking, context, polemics, modernity, relativism, and perspectivalism

It's quite easy to imagine one grasps the essential outlines of an issue once one has cleared away all the emotional and moral turbulence that interfere with thinking about it--but in those greenhouse-conditions one is not truly thinking about reality as it actually is. Modern "academic" or "scholarly" philosophy is the victim of the delusionality of "scientism" or "objectivity," of thinking supposing that the controversiality or polemicality of our lives can be effectively purged out of things. We can cosmeticize it, depress its strife and tension with a facade of pseudo-neutralized terms; but even the most meager forms of insight suffice to reveal that this objectivity is mere facade. Modern culture is becalmed in a Sargasso Sea of sophisticated relativism, a mentality that hasn't got a clue what to do about perspectival variations and rationalizations from one mind to another. If there isn't a consensual community about what is right or good, then bourgeois society can only seek forms of mediation or compromise or count the votes of its countless subrational idiots. To wrestle with fundamental norms and principles is not something intellectually respectable among bourgeois minds, any more than it is to make public and direct value-judgments about someone else's thinking. By default we sink into a morass of incommensurable and pathetic views.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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

I am caught in a terrific bind of characterologically and rationally needing to think in the most comprehensive terms possible, forming a continuous system of argument with a gradient that runs from concrete to abstract, and unfortunately being caught also in a culture in which hardly anyone seems capable of applying himself to understand such a demanding form of argumentation.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, values, principles, individualism, self-development, modernity, and culture

The fallacy of modern atomistic individualism is of course not just our "tabula rasa" self-deception but also our ego-mythical "social contract":  if every member of modern society is supposed autonomously and privately to think through for himself the most vital and fundamental (normative, evaluative, principled) issues of his life -- i.e. to undertake primal self-formation utterly on his own and outside the purview of parents/peers/education/media etc. -- then of course the vast majority will never advance past point A or B, whatever is most obvious, blatant, and simplistic.  Expecting moderns to be radically "self-creative" when their culture systematically strips them of all concrete cultural content that might act as soulish or spiritual alphabets, is expecting fleas to jump when their legs have been cut off.  Ex nihilo nihil fit, out of nothing nothing is going to get produced:  humans require raw materials, they require means and tools and techniques and instructions as well as a repertory of ends, principles, values, teleological orientations, hierarchies of perspectives, etc..  If anyone wants to know where such an unholy and vast mass of aborted personalities came from in modern society (the modern Many), one virtually has to look no further than the vacuous or abstractivist code that deprives all of them of cultural traction and grit, and encourages their doulic lethargy and their banausic materialism.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, modernity, alienation, and ego

In matters of soul as also of spirit, we lapse into a domain where the mathematical and proprietary laws of non-contradiction and exact arithmetic units do not apply so simply:  friends or families or lovers may undergo a pathos of mutual alienation (a pathos that is most often a direct function of ego's unknowing or witless conscious self-assertions) that results in them becoming "isolated atoms" or "monads" once again, but that is not an argument that this reductivist state is somehow "more real" or "more ultimate" than their union was.  Disjunction is not "reality" and union mere "illusion."  The state of mutual repellency is just as much a product of subjective forces (modulations in soul and spirit that throw ego into a position of prominence or authority) as was the state of mutual tangency, diffusion or interpenetration.  Atomism or isolationism or alienation is an effect of the projective modalities of conscious ego, the way it "objectifies" something or someone to become "other" over against it (compare Hegel, the "awesome/awful power of the Negative" in ego).  Modern order, with its epidemic alienation, does not rest on a "real" or "natural" foundation of factual and objective concepts of human personality and acts of will; rather it enforces an obligatory normative regime of generalized and ambient negativity, like unleashed "electric" energy all having the negative charge intrinsic to the electron.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy, science, essence, mediocrity, and modernity

Modern science, e.g. Darwinism etc., has a profound and nearly (to itself) unutterable metaphysical fallacy in terms of which it tries to think:  all law is to it inherently extrinsic, there is no kind of intrinsic or essential or "internal" lawfulness as such (and therefore there is no demand, no place and no tolerance for attempts to think essentially, intrinsically, in a cultured and self-reflective or profoundly critical/a-priori way).  Extrinsicalism has made both "science" and "capitalism" into exoteric and pedestrian pursuits in which one not only does not have to be any kind of extraordinary genius, but it may well be a preeminent advantage to be a mediocrity, to have as little culture and depth and critical strategy as possible.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

A Quote by Kenneth Smith on philosophy and modernity

Modern value-neutral society (Gesellschaft rather than Gemeinschaft) is systematized predation tempered not by conscience or values but rather merely by a system of law, which is no less corrupt with private interests and its own forms of predation.  In modernity sophism is the order of the day, and this obliges its most adept practitioners to learn how to develop the art of appearing to be other than one actually is.

Kenneth Smith

Contributed by: Dave

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