Like almost all of my blog posts from this period I was thinking from an emotional place of anger, inner conflict and irresolution rather than one of temperance and serenity. This reflects in the rather high-handed and haughty manner in which I expressed and presented my 'ideas' with which I largely disagree now.
Philosophy and Danger
As I pointed out earlier, Lucifer The Light-Bearer, Rank Ordering, Five Sentences from The Thinker as Poet, Factual Truth, good philosophising, quality thinking, is by nature dangerous. The greatest thinkers of the tradition, including the philosophers behind the scientific revolution of over three centuries ago, almost without exception fought long and hard for their insights against overwhelming odds (namely their time). They were heroes, albeit not popular heroes. And again, to use a hackneyed example, Socrates was put to death, Aristotle met with the persecution of the powers of his time
"I won't let them sin twice against philosophy."Noam Chomsky for his part - despite his obvious vengeful social liberalism - has battled long and hard for many decades the cynical will-to-power of the 'elites' of his homeland and has thereby achieved greatness - and recognises greatness in others such as the great spirit behind the enigma code who was persecuted for his homosexuality.
Michel Foucault, a very different spirit from Chomsky, also fought his whole life long for his insights (which, unlike mine, are thoroughly researched histories). Wittgenstein, the same. Heidegger, the same. Derrida, the same. Arendt, the same. Benjamin, the same. Spinoza, the same. The list is long.
Countless other spirits as well on the internet: James Corbett from www.corbettreport.com, Paul Craig Roberts from www.paulcraigroberts.org, Scriptonite Daily from www.scriptonitedaily.com, Alain Soral in France and the comedian Dieudonné and many, many spirits unknown to most fighting their own battles, helping to dis-close the constant manipulations and calculations of the global technocratic order. It would be unnecessarily defeatist to claim that they are not having an effect, even if it be a mute and quiet one.
Ditto the greatest film-makers, story-tellers, artists: they systematically show truth in various ways. The film The Shining is a severe indictment of American civilisation and contains many layers; not least the fact that the haunted hotel is built on a Native American burial ground and that the cut ending of The Shining (I owe this insight to an actor friend, Paul Clemens, who saw these very last minutes of the film) shows the hotel manager to have known all along what would happen to Jack, Danny and Wendy Torrence; there is also a toy axe on the hotel manager's desk in the scene of the interview - there is, in this regard, an excellent documentary on The Shining called Room 237 (see also blog post Note on the Shining).
Ditto, the film Eyes Wide Shut is a hilarious satire of American bourgeois life cut off from reality; Tom Cruise - well cast in the role, it has to be said - as the ultimate naive medical doctor whose world shatters the moment his bourgeois-darwinist-hobbesian worldview is challenged by his wife, who then, following this dissolution, discovers the strange (i.e. real) world of secret societies, drugs, sex, of both the powerful and the not so powerful. Every layer of civilisation laid bare, so to speak.
A film by Kubrick is worth more than a 1000 years of academic classes and mere theory.
Academic philosophy is all fine and well but it remains mere scholarship - it is not questioning nor is it running the danger of termination by the powers that should not be, nor does it redeem the questionable aspects of existence including what is ugly and base in human nature. Nietzsche in The Will to Power.
"Truth is ugly."Also in Beyond Good and Evil
"Truth is hard."Bad philosophy is philosophy which flees from reality into idealistic-moral value judgements; for this reason Nietzsche ranked Thucydides higher than Plato in Ecce Homo on the basis that Thucydides resisted and faced up to reality - in his case, the Peloponnesian War - without fleeing into a redeeming ideal (since, for Nietzsche, moral judgements always betray a baser instinct, namely revenge, which diminishes, denies the greatness in others, and are predominantly a function of what he calls ressentiment, frustrated instinct - which is why in The Anti-Christ he attacks Judaism and Christianity for being religions of revenge, of punishment, of malignant ressentiment).
Thus, in the simplest terms, bad philosophy (which includes all 'theory') is un-endangered, comfortable, does not risk itself and thus necessarily flees into vacuous non-entities, illusions, ideals, empty linguistic diarrhoea - into theory, into reason, in short, into nihilism.
Good philosophy confronts and resists reality without passing easy value judgments but acknowledges the complexity of the human condition.