I finally finished Husserl’s The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology late last night.
Thinkers like Kant, Guenon, Hursserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Bernstein and (to some extent) Voegelin tend to clarify and articulate things I’ve already tacitly practically grasped. Reading them helps me account for myself to others. (This is important especially for work. I am never coming at things from the normal angle, so I always have a lot of explaining to do, at least until I win the trust of people I work with. My dream situation is to be that guy who is called in where people are unable to find any angle at all by which a problem can be grasped. There isn’t even a question that can be asked, much less answered. That’s home for me. As Wittgenstein said “A philosophical problem has the form: I don’t know my way about.”)
However, the rarer thinkers who really nourish and energize me are the ones who throw me into states of alternating disorientation and insight that demand words, pictures, poems, myths. These are the thinkers who change you, sometimes radically, when you understand them… as a condition of understanding them at all. They keep the whole intellectual project firmly rooted in Why.
I’d planned to jump into Richard Rorty next, but now I think I might need to do a tour of Nietzsche again, and see how he reads for me now that I’ve acquired new modes of understanding and articulating. I do not believe he will blow me apart into inexplicable ecstatic insights like he used to. That makes me a little sad, but at the same time I am satisfied that I am making real progress.