“Kant” Revisited: Arthur Schopenhauer

I was most certainly drinking while writing most of Kant. But there’s a reason why some of the best writers were, and are, complete drunks.

I don’t remember writing a single sentence for this episode. However, some things were obvious: when I was on, I was ON.

Not everything that I wrote during the course of the series worked. Yet there were times when I surprised even myself. I’d like to say that I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’d be lying. There were times when my writing and thinking soared between poetic and enigmatic. While I’m not a fan of Hegel, I was intrigued by his method of purposefully trying to make his writing difficult to understand. To a degree, I was trying to do the same…and there were times that I succeeded.

I don’t know if THIS exact episode is a perfect example of that. BUT when re-reading this, a certain dread came over me: have I taken a step back in my writing? While you might not be a fan of it, there’s a part of me that wishes that I can return to this form of enigmatic style.

Now that I’m sober, is it gone? Can I ever “re-discover” it?

I don’t know.

Really, I couldn’t even follow what I was talking about. I suppose the question I was trying to ask was: is free will found in unimpeded passions OR is it found in not becoming a slave to them?

With Thanksgiving coming up, I’ll probably be unloading a lot of these “Kant Revisited” posts. So look forward to that.

But as usual, I don’t edit or spellcheck these. Please forgive those errors. Enjoy!

What could art be, if it’s not the diversion from the phenomenal conditions of life?

As much as Zizek still finds Hegel relevant, he remains a minority. But while Hegel was at the height of his powers, while lecturing at the University of Berlin…he did manage to attract rivals. One such rival was none other than Arthur Schopenhauer…who would schedule his lectures during Hegel’s. But despite Schopenhauer’s animosity, Hegel managed to attract more followers in his time, leaving Schopenhauer bitterly frustrated…a characteristic that very much shows through his writing. Even though he didn’t find the attention he deserved in his OWN time, Schopenhauer seems to have bested Hegel among thinkers in our era. With his obvious crankiness resonating with modern audiences.

But as much as we become confronted with the nothingness that’s set before us, there’s a deep-seated concern for purpose. Why continue on? In his work “The Wisdom of Life, Schopenhauer introduces what he calls “Eudaemonology”….or how we can structure our lives, so that we may maximize our success and happiness. The key point here, being that existence should become preferable to the alternative…that of non-being. So, “The Wisdom of Life” for our practical purposes today…can help us navigate through the void.

But it would be interesting to speculate, how…someone like Schopenhauer would be received if he were alive today. In our Golden Age of self-help books and uplifting quotes, in order to be cherished in this era, one must appeal to the liberal democratic optimism of progress. There are few thinkers today that would deliberately take a contrarian or cranky perspective. Slavoj Zizek seems to come close, but he seems to take a scatter-minded, loosey-goosey approach, which may come across as contrarian, but in actuality…his writing is just a representation of his inner monologue. The writer and podcaster Bret Easton Ellis comes the closest to Schopenhauer, with his unfriendly views towards current entertainment and disdain for the thin-skinned millennial generation. But this attitude towards current times is hard to come by. Us liberals have been spoiled by the eight years of Barack Obama, that we ended up choking on our positivity when Trump got elected. Whatever sort of creative drives that are bourn out of disdain, will hopefully return under the Trump years.

But what would Schopenhauer HIMSELF think of these times? Even in his own era, he held contempt for the seemingly innocent activity of card-playing. Such distractions only took away from one’s own inner constitutions. Even though he would marvel at our technological advancements, notably the internet…but he would flip his lid to learn that we were using it for social media and vanity, rather than for knowledge and education. To him, social media would be a mindless distraction that would only reinforce our dependence on an interconnected world.

For Schopenhauer, real happiness is found in self-sufficiency. The mind shouldn’t have to rely on the stimulus of the outside world ONLY, in order to find happiness. As the cliché goes, one could be surrounded with material gains, but still be poor in spirit. Not that the external world and the body aren’t necessary. Schopenhauer would even state that physical health is necessary towards happiness. But for a genuinely happy person, that individual would have the power to generate meaning from their own intellectual faculties…or the world of the mind would be found to be infinite and sufficient.

Therefore, it is the intellectual pursuits that are held in the highest regard. The pursuits of the material world are nothing but empty drives of the will, aimlessly propelling the self forward without meaning. So it would be safe to say that Schopenhauer wouldn’t be supportive of the lifestyle decisions of James Bond…or even a Charles Bukowski. Although, these would be considered intelligent and self-sufficient men, their ambitions don’t go farther than the material world. Theirs is the acceptance of the nothingness and absurdity of the world, that they would find it unnecessary to live a self-sufficient life of intellectual pursuits alone. They primarily favor the physical extremes of sex, violence, drugs, and alcohol.

And it is here, where we come to a crossroads within the Schopenhauer system. If we accept our representation of the world as our will, and we reject the metaphysicism of dogmatic religion (like Christianity)…we have two choices. Possibly more, but I want to focus on two of them: we can adopt stoic-like practices, either through pure stoicism or other self-disciplinary practices like Buddhism (as Schopenhauer likely did), OR, we can engage in our animalistic/nihilistic tendencies and engage pursuits of the material world…or the path of James Bond.

Now must of us choose the happy medium in between. We realize that by failing to play by the rules, the external world will enact ITS WILL against us. To find cooperation, we adapt our will, so as to not piss off the Medusa of the outer world…one that can strike at us with its many snake heads. This path is the most comforting one…we acknowledge the beast within us, but to not agitate the large beast outside of us…we quietly take our prey, even if just in imagination, because keeping up appearances (despite knowing the falsity of the outer world) is the true gift from the gods…the blanket of conformity, to keep the world turning.

Perhaps the acknowledgement of both the blanket and the animal beneath it, is the true path towards self-contentment, if not happiness. But happiness itself is a far loftier goal. Ultimate happiness, or the perpetuation of unlimited gratification, can be considered unachievable. The mind carries excessive baggage from its journey from the pond…towards a self-aware being, that continual happiness would work against the purpose of the mind, therefore making the pursuit of it unwise. While ultimate happiness is unachievable, sustainable self-contentment makes itself a far more worthwhile goal. And this is done by making a truce between the nihilistic ghost driving the will, and the external beast ready to pounce at any moment.

Schopenhauer seems to see the intellect as being a releasing energy, made to liberate the soul from the material body. This is a gift to mankind….what elevates us from the animals that co-habitate the planet with us. But what if we took the contrarian view? The view that the intellect is not a blessing, but a curse? Life has been existing on this planet for millions of years. Life lives, it eats, it fucks…or it doesn’t, but nevertheless it procreates…and so the system goes on…millions of years without a hitch….species going extinct as nature dictates. Then blossoms the human intellect, taking us to places life has never been before. So mother nature, with millions of years of experience under her belt, then here we come, circumventing the process…going into space and fucking up the planet. Then, after years of reflection, we become aware of our destruction and impending doom.

What have we achieved with this superior intellect? We might have uncovered the mysteries of the universe, or we are well on our way towards doing so, but to what purpose? So that we can alleviate the pains of death and uncover the nothingness that awaits us? Everything comes at a cost, to include the intellect. Are we really better off knowing about our impending demise? Are we that much happier for knowing the justness and injustices of the world? Perhaps Eve was better off not eating the fruit of knowledge. We have been cursed with our knowledge, and we continue to pay the price for our great leap forward….with our continual deliberations on what it means to be happy.I guess, as the old saying goes…ignorance is bliss….or, it’s more bliss than knowing. Look no further than your pet; living a sweet blissful life, unknowing of the struggles of what it means to be human. Your dog, happily moving from one moment to the next…overjoyed at the prospect of getting a scrap of food, or a pat on the head. You take comfort in having an animal that gets the simplest joys in the most mundane things. You suspect that your animal could wish itself to be human, that you pity it in the most innocent of ways. But with this consistent blissfulness, perhaps its your dog that pities you.

Schopenhauer invokes Aristotle when says that life devoted to philosophy is the happiest. But how true has that proven to be? A life of philosophy has the burden of knowing the true conditions of reality. Knowingly believing in falsities is not a practice that the philosopher usually condones. If we took any philosophy out of history (say, Schopenhauer), and put them into a room with any religious cleric, I would wager to say that the cleric would be the most cheerful of the two. The belief that the nothingness of death are actually alleviated by venturing to the afterworld, is such a powerful nonsensical idea, that it disguises or obstructs the true pain of being. The believer is able to go through life without any burdens of the philosopher, because their questions have been answered…and they take comfort in the lie.

But what Schopenhauer is trying to reach towards, is the freedom we receive from being unobstructed from our pursuits. And a person with deep intellectual capabilities will find that their pursuits will spoil the other necessities of life, namely relationships with others…which they will find shallow and unrewarding. This person might, as a result, find themselves alone or bored, due to their unquenchable thirst for knowledge and wisdom. Schopenhauer acknowledges the burden of the intellectual, but on the flip side…the person that only pursues the joys of physical reality, (whom he calls Philistines), will also soon find themselves bored. But this specific boredom and restlessness, is of a much shallower variety. Their restless pursuits could never compare to that of a true intellectual.

So where does that leave those with deep inner worlds? Without the assistance of drugs, alcohol, and other substances, is true happiness attainable? Or perhaps a more suitable question should be…is happiness the ONLY worthwhile feeling? The burden of knowledge cannot be put back into the tube; Eve cannot attach the fruit back to the tree. We are, for better or worse, doomed with the reality of our knowledge. How does one move forward with this burden? The pursuit of happiness is the cornerstone on which liberal democracies are based. But is it the cornerstone on which existential meaning is based? It makes sense for governments to cherish this pursuit…but why must there be a pursuit of it at all? From a mental health perspective, the only obstructions to our happiness are the ones we place in front of it. If we adopted the way of the stoics, we can theoretically be happy in any situation, therefore negating the use of the pursuit. But is true happiness possible? With our awareness of uncertainty, and time, and the realities of the world, perpetual happiness is an unrealistic goal. At best, the greatest that we can achieve is perpetual solitude, a la the path of the stoics and Buddhist enlightenment. But what’s the mechanism behind this solitude?

In the last episode, Zizek explained to us that the real objective of philosophy, is to not explore the nothingness of the thing-in-itself, but to explore the veil of perception that covers over it. The human mind has been jostled from one extreme to the next…it’s far better suited for managing catastrophe (which is a better tool for survival), than maintaining any sort of grounds for perpetual contentment. Our actions of completing one objective to the next is not motivated by ONLY pure survival, but driven by a conception of the IDEA of happiness. It’s the carrot that dangles in front of us. We might get a nibble every now and then, which keeps us hungry for more…but the idea of living in a world with an endless amount of easily accessible carrots, is an empty one. Yet, that’s what moves us forward, despite us understanding that such a world is unattainable. It’s the temptation of the carrot, the veil over the nothingness, that keeps us wanting more. So it’s the idea of happiness, and not happiness ITSELF, that’s the valuable tool. It’s The PURSUIT of happiness that’s the real key towards eternal self-contentment.

But with this burden of knowledge, we know that a state of persistent pleasure is only a myth. When we look at the condition of life, we realize that happiness and pleasure are seldom applied. Most of our lives are spent in sleep or operating functions that might bring about pleasure, but are, in fact, not pleasurable in themselves. Yet while a life might be full of happiness…does that happiness bring about meaning? Has the one that has spent their entire lives in the solitude of pleasure…brought about meaning upon themselves? This pointless existence, in Schopenhauer’s terms, is just an aimless drive of the will…seeking pleasure because that’s what the machine demands. A blind allegiance to happiness is not, in purely self-aware terms…not a full utilization of the free will. By giving way to pleasure at every turn, then it is the pleasure that owns you.

Indeed, seldom do we find meaning in happiness, outside of its own sake. Usually, we find the excessive dwelling in it, to be precious time wasted. To construct meaning, to possess the burden of knowledge, is to live beyond pleasure and pain…and not to become a slave to them.

Have I argued in favor of Schopenhauer? I have no idea because, once again, I failed to make it through the entire book. But that’s okay, because that gives YOU the opportunity to explore this subject on your own. I’m not asking and answering questions so that you don’t have to, I’m asking questions because I want you to be up late at night, like me! The ball’s in your court, buddy! Go read the damn book yourself!

Recalling My First (And Only) Novel

“One of these days”, I keep telling myself, “I’m gonna finish writing that novel”

But I don’t have patience for that shit. Or the attention span.

Yet after nearly two years of finishing an impressive first draft, I believe it would be interesting to revisit. I initially completed it and deliberately waited awhile until I would begin revisions. It was written over the course of two to three months in a fury of inspiration. I needed some time away from it. I needed to discover what it meant to me. Now, a couple of years removed from it, it almost slipped my mind.

But who the fuck am I kidding? I ain’t ever going to finish that thing. Nevertheless, looking it over for the first time in awhile, it reveals a lot about who I was.

The story is simple: a loser and drug abuser, Rod Townshend, in his early 20s gets caught up with an older woman and eventually ruins her son (and his girlfriend’s) life. Meanwhile, Rod also gets mixed up drunken and legendary local writer and messes around with some white trash crack whores.

In my mind, I was trying to create a Charles Bukowski-like adventure on the plains of east Oklahoma. I was trying to think of the shittiest place to put a novel, and that’s what I came up with.

The story itself doesn’t sound elaborate, but it explored the existential themes of escaping (or denying) the self that lies underneath…the problems we inherit…and the inescapable doom of becoming who we are. Rod Townshend was comfortable with his fate, until the antagonist…infamous writer Jack Schilling….pushes him to the brink. Rod temporarily escapes his self-imposed doom, only to later discover that Jack was right…he’s never going to change.

The paragraph above is better than anything that I wrote in that novel.

But there were two films that inspired this story, and neither of them should come as a surprise to anyone: The Last Temptation of Christ and Casino Royale. These films are (somewhat) thematically related.

Hear me out.

In The Last Temptation of Christ, we see Jesus struggle with his mission. He wants to serve God, yet he yearns to live a human life. Finally, when it comes time to sacrifice on the Cross, he is informed that he’s not the Messiah and is free to live his life. So Jesus lives on to old age, only to find out that it was HE that betrayed Judas by NOT dying on the Cross and his whole life after the Crucifixion was a lie. In a state of shock, Jesus repents then finds himself back on the cross where he blissfully shouts “It is accomplished!”.

In Casino Royale, James Bond doesn’t necessarily have the same internal struggle. Yet when he meets Vesper Lynd, he becomes willing to put aside his ass-kicking, boozing, and womanizing ways to be with her. After being brutally tortured, Vesper helps nurture Bond back to health and he later resigns from the Secret Service to travel around the world with his love. Later, he finds out it was all a betrayal. Finally, Bond shoots down the man who set him up, where he looks into the camera and says “My name is Bond, James Bond.”

Both films have a strange detour in the last act. After coming off the cross, Jesus is seen marrying Mary Magdalene, having children, and growing to old age. Meanwhile, Bond is seen in a sickly manner and later admits to loving a woman…which was something that wasn’t seen since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. These scenes feel out of place in both films, and perhaps deliberately so. Both characters are living a life that they’ve imagined for themselves, only to find out that it’s all a lie.

In the end, however, order is restored. Jesus fulfills His mission to become Savior for all humanity, and Bond becomes the classic character that we all know and love. Nothing changes for the audience…their hero still saves the day. But such heroics come at a deep personal cost….no matter what, Jesus Christ HAS to be the Savior, and James Bond HAS to be an alcoholic, womanizing secret agent. They can’t escape who they are.

Rod Townshend is presented with the same dilemma.

He’s a boozing, lazy, piece of shit. He brings out the worst in people. Perhaps Rod doesn’t intentionally mean to be this way, he just IS. And none of this is lost on Jack Schilling who, like Rod, has the same self-destructive tendencies. But unlike Rod, Jack is happy with this role. He THRIVES in it.

After a series of unfortunate events, Rod escapes Jack and the destruction he left behind…only to discover the life he THOUGHT he wanted. Yet in the end, people are doomed to be who they are, and it all becomes a lie. Jack was right about Rod the whole time…he’s a wrecking ball on other’s emotions.

My life was somewhat coming up by the seams at this time. I believe my first go-around with AA occurred shortly after completing the draft. Things were still normal however…I completed my graduate degree a few months earlier and I was steadily climbing the ladder. But I knew I had a drinking problem.

Did I believe that I was Rod Townshend?

I might’ve been able to check all the marks of a normal person…an education, a marriage, a career….but was all that not real? Am I really just a lazy alcoholic living a false life?

It all came crumbling down a few months ago. I was exposed for who I was…but not in the way you might think. I was exposed as an alcoholic, but I also found out what was important to me. The bars, the booze…that was the façade. Rod Townshend was the false life I was living.

I don’t know if that makes sense.

But I’m glad that I rediscovered “Untitled4” or whatever it was called. I probably won’t ever finish the book, but it does leave me curious….is that end of Rod Townshend?

 

 

Dirty 30: A Chance to Do Things Different

If you’ve been missing my daily posts (which you haven’t), then my apologies. I needed a break.

I’ve been writing a breakneck pace for a little over a year. Once when the dog days of summer hit, I had nothing left in the tank.

It’s been refreshing actually. For awhile, not a day went by where I had to worry about what I was going to write. I had to see philosophy in everything. Do you know what a pain in the ass that is?

So I’ve been letting my mind just…wonder. About anything, really. Philosophy has no longer become a burden; or a chore that required me to stretch the limits of my intellect.

Honestly, I don’t even know how I became interested in it to begin with. A year and a half ago, I couldn’t tell you shit about Kant’s Transcendental Idealism or Marxist Dialectical Materialism, or Hobbes’ state of nature….nothing. Mind you, I still know nothing, but somehow I know a lot more than I did. And no one told me to learn any of it. It just sort of happened.

And now I’m burned out.

But I spent a ridiculous amount of time just thinking about how to live rather than just LIVING. So much energy was dedicated to learning about being a human that I completely forgot that I was a human! And I’ve said more than once: “forget about the pursuit of happiness, and just be happy!”

Seems simple enough, yet I never followed that advice. I was searching for happiness within my writing…within the words of philosophers of old. I learned a lot. Yet I still came up empty.

What could have caused such a void to begin with? And why was there such an urgency with my writing?

I have avoided answering those questions. But the truth is a familiar one: I was dreading turning 30.

Now I promised myself that I wouldn’t write about my upcoming 30th birthday. It’s all horseshit and no one cares anyway. It happens to everyone that lives for thirty years or more. Yet here I am.

And it’s horseshit because it’s meaningless. In theory, at least. We give so much weight to youth that we forget that it’s all a lie. Just admit it to yourself….being 20 sucked. You were poor, you couldn’t get laid, and you were probably an asshole (at least I was). Not that this experience is universal, but for the vast majority of us, being in our teens and twenties was not a pleasant experience…that is if you’re honest with yourself.

Were there some perks? Of course. I can’t think of any because I’m much more athletic, better looking, wealthier, smarter, and I get laid regularly (because I’m married). But for one reason or another, many people feel that those were the best years of their lives.

And it’s killing them.

Even if it were true, why continue to believe that your best days are behind you? Seems like that would be a pretty shitty way to live your life. I believe that it was the great Charles Bukowski (who didn’t find success in life in his late forties) that said “I’m only getting better.” Where he said that, I don’t know. And he might not have even said that, but it doesn’t matter….it was true of him and that’s the right attitude we should adopt.

Yet, the older we get, there becomes a greater sense of loss. But loss of what? Of youth?

So what?

But our youth becomes the measuring stick for how we live the rest our lives. We live within the shadow of our former selves. Obviously this is a (mostly nonsensical) problem.

If you’ve been following this blog at all, then you’ve probably come across the term static identity. Or where we conceive ourselves as being the same person until our deaths. We don’t think of ourselves as changing beings. Therefore, the older we get, we feel ourselves moving farther away from our “prime”…where we physically deteriorate, become set in our ways, and our personalities and general outlook become unmovable. Rather than seeing the self as water within a stream, it becomes more like stale bread that grows harder with each passing year.

This is why there’s a sense of loss the older we get. We don’t feel fresh. We’re less malleable. We’re no longer easily impressed upon. We are no longer in our “prime”.

I find it a mistake to keep living our lives the same way we’ve always lived it. People live in the same towns. Have the same friends. Read the same books. Watch the same shows. And give absolutely no thought to living in any other way.

Perhaps it’s out of fear. Fear of how others might think if we suddenly changed. Or perhaps it’s just laziness. The way that we have lived works for us, and can’t envision any other way.

I don’t know.

One of my biggest fears is doing the same shit I was doing when I was 20. Or attempting to recapture the “glory days”. I remember being 20. There were no glory days. There’s nothing to “recapture”.

I don’t know how many days I have in front of me, but I know how many are behind me. And I don’t want those days to be my best. I’d rather keep searching for better.

I took a break from writing because I needed a new voice. For the time being, I feel that I have taken the typical “academic” approach to philosophy as far as I can take it. There’s nothing I can say that hasn’t been said by better philosophers.

In other words, I can’t keep writing about the same things I have always written about. It’s time to move on.

Don’t get me wrong though….I still plan on discussing philosophy. I mean, shit, this is a philosophy blog after all.

But I can’t be confined to what OTHER philosophers and thinkers said. This isn’t fucking college. I can write about whatever I want. But I need to view the world in a different light. No one gives a shit if certain views don’t conform to my “neo-Kantian” perspective. That’s old news.

I don’t fear turning 30. I no longer see it as a “loss of being in my 20s”. Fuck that. But it’s a chance to turn into something different. 

The End of Philosophy

I haven’t written anything in a week. And truthfully, there hasn’t been much to say.

I know that there are studies out there that discuss pornography’s ill-effect on the human mind (not that I have anything against pornography, by the way). But I wonder if there’s a study that discusses frequent reading/watching of cheap political punditry. Wouldn’t that have some damaging effect on reasoning and creativity? To me, that shit is just as toxic as pornography.

And I went on a bender, where I was listening to politically-charged podcasts ranging from Chapo Trap House to the Glenn Beck Program. And it ended up zapping away any sort of creative or critical thinking. In my opinion, cheap punditry is worse than pornography, and even DRUGS. It causes us to view the world in a narrow light, and instead of getting a better insight into the issues, we become LESS informed. So the next time a friend asks if you read or watch Breitbart, Huffington Post, Salon, Fox News, etc. JUST SAY NO.

It makes me sad really….that the way most of us become informed about events in the world is through cheap outlets. I know that it’s difficult to construct a thorough and unbiased piece about an event. After all, the media has to keep the people’s attention somehow. But you know what? I don’t give a shit. That’s just a lazy excuse. We should be more concerned with the TRUTH rather than reading any sort of agenda-conforming puff piece. Have higher standards for yourself!

But anyways, as I’ve discussed before, this shit literally makes me ill. Mentally and physically. So after that bender, I needed to clear my mind.

And honestly, as stupid as this sounds, at one point I though that I said everything that needed to be said about philosophy. Between My Life With Kant and this blog, I believed, shit you not, that I laid out my philosophical framework and that there was nothing more that I could deliver. So we might as well pack up our bags and close up shop because there is nothing left for philosophy to do….like I was Ludwig fucking Wittgenstein.

Clearly I ran into a wall. I believed that philosophy would reveal something to me….unlock a hidden side of myself and this universe…help me come to peace with the order of nature….SOMETHING….ANYTHING.

Instead it revealed the nothing that lies behind everything. Even myself. Behind the exterior, past my personality, all the way down into the darkest corners of my psyche….there lies nothing. All the things you see are facades, because the reality of nothing is far too terrifying to face.

Which brings us to a tragic question….is this the end of philosophy?

If not here, then where? When?

Now clearly this is just me being dramatic. Yet if we accept nothing, like it’s the gold at the end of the rainbow, what then are we chasing?

Perhaps this is a better description of what I’m going through: burn-out. I stated before that I’ve been attempting to write a post about Edmund Husserl for weeks now, but what’s the fucking point? There’s an academic sterility to many philosophers, particularly those in the 20th Century, I find. And this dryness nearly kills my interest.

Personally, I think philosophy should be struggled with. It’s best when it’s an art. Which is why it’s unfortunately true…the best artists and thinkers are CRAZY. And we just don’t have that sort of thing in modern times. There’s a few standouts, Slavoj Zizek being one, but has society progressed to the point where it’s too…..SAFE!

Now you might think that I’m a terrible person, but I include myself as one the people that I’m bitching about….so it’s okay….because I’m medicated for severe chronic depression. And many people that suffer this problem are medicated as well, particularly in our safe first-world society. We have access to therapy, doctors, support groups, and all kinds of shit that help us deal with these problems. And that’s great! Life has certainly gotten a lot better for those suffering mental ailments…..

…but it wasn’t always that way.

Nietzsche, Hemingway, and my personal favorite Charles Bukowski, all had demons that they wrestled with. If they have lived today, with all the advancements in medicine, would they have produced the same great works? Would they have traded in those demons for a shot at the ‘normal life’? I don’t know. But we have their works today, and it all came at a great price.

And our safe society too is coming at a price….at the cost of individual and artistic genius. Few, and even fewer in academia, are willing to rock the boat. No one wants to be labeled a ‘contrarian’. So we take to social media, because we want to conform to our friends, and become accepted into the mainstream…because it’s OTHER PEOPLE that determine our worth. So we don’t explore our own ideas, we just regurgitate what great thinkers before us said, never engaging with our own genius.

There are few independent thinkers left.

Philosophy has been a casualty in this new group-think. The social sciences are no longer discovering. The act of engaging philosophy has been relegated to arguing about how Kant, Plato, and others might argue about certain topics. Philosophy now only plays second-fiddle to other areas of study, no longer the behemoth it once was.

So we have seemingly ventured into a new era. An era where we must ask ourselves: “what more can philosophy present to us?”

Clearly I have a flair for the dramatics, as I really didn’t intend on discussing “the end of philosophy”. But as of recently, I have found it unsatisfying or incapable of engaging my imagination.

Perhaps I just don’t care about logic, or phenomenology, or epistemology, or “things-in-themselves” anymore. Yet I still ponder the…unponderable? Is that a word? Am I making sense?

Of course, if it were “ponderable” it wouldn’t be “unponderable”, but my intention is to stretch the limits of the mind. And I’m increasingly finding it difficult to explore that within typical philosophical literature.

I guess that would explain the “new theology” that I was writing about. In order to find this so-called “unponderable”, I have to reach into theology and religion. Not that I would call myself a “religious” person, I still consider myself a hardcore agnostic. BUT the only place I can find inspiration LATELY is through Gnosticism, Judaism, and early Christianity in general.

Why?

I haven’t figured that out yet.

But this nothing that I feel predicatbly leaves a void. I didn’t know where else to go with it. Perhaps this spiritual path will lead nowhere, but that’s where I’ll be going anyway.