Blind to darkness

A question can be seen as a kind of intellectual darkness waiting to be illuminated by an answer.

Philosophy is not about illuminating darkness. It is about turning one’s head and making visible new regions where darkness and light can exist to one who asks and answers. It is about discovering new questions one has never thought to ask. And when the answers change the character of one’s spontaneous (pre-interpreted) lived existence — when the changes are authentically subjective, meaning the change is experienced as a transfiguration of the world (as opposed to a modification of one’s psychological attributes or one’s opinions about this or that fact, however fundamental that fact is) — philosophy crosses over its line into religion.

Where the sciences answer darkness with light, religion answers with vision questions philosophy raises from blindness.

*

As long as a science or philosophy does all its own asking and answering it remains sterile. Fertility requires otherness.

*

The best seem to speak only to their own kind. Nobody else understands them.

What is the cause of this, and what is the effect? Nobody understands because nobody wishes to understand. But, maybe the wish to understand has never been awakened simply because they haven’t been asked to understand. For sure, the wish to understand doesn’t want to wake up — but who ever thanks someone for waking them when they’re trying to sleep?

*

Calling someone a scientist’s scientist or an artist’s artist or a musician’s musician — this is usually considered a complement. I hope someday soon it will be considered a devastating criticism.

Are there any poets left who are not poet’s poets?

*

Collective solipsism is not much better than individual solipsism.

There are even forms of collective solipsism that encourage individual solipsism.

*

Years ago I knew someone who insisted that there is no essential difference between the understanding of a technical manual and understanding a poem.  This failure to distinguish between different orders of understanding makes knowing what a self is impossible. It reduces subjectivity to psychological terms — that is, it forces subjectivity into objective thought-forms. This failure always has a peculiarly moral character — it seems to originate in need rather than incapacity. Perhaps it originates in the fear of a need.

*

Sight knows only what is visible. Experience knows only what has been experienced.

*

Negation does not produce the negative. If negation is possible, the negative is already gone. Philosophy has already occured and cannot be undone. Innocence is irretrievably lost.

This entry was posted in Ethics, Hermeneutics, Holism, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Taoism. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply