Inspiration is indeed an object of faith, is qualitatively dialectical, not attainable by means of quantification. Existing is something quite different from knowing.
Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript 1846 Hong p. 29, 298
“When culture and the like have managed to make it so very easy to be a Christian, it is certainly in order that a single individual, according to his poor abilities, seeks to make it difficult, provided, however, that he does not make it more difficult than it is.-But the more culture and knowledge, the more difficult to become a Christian.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript 1846, Hong p. 383
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light
for ye were once darkness, but are now light in the Lord: walk as children of light
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’
“This is my name forever,
the name you shall call me
from generation to generation.
Exodus 3: 1-17 The Holy Bible
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”
The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram.”
1 Kings 19 The Holy Bible
The two, each with five hundred followers, going up the stream to seek their brother. Seeing him now dressed as a hermit, and all his followers with him, having got knowledge of the miraculous law—strange thoughts engaged their minds—”our brother having submitted thus, we too should also follow him.” Thus the three brothers, with all their band of followers, were brought to hear the lord’s discourse on the comparison of a fire sacrifice: and in the discourse he taught, “How the dark smoke of ignorance arises, whilst confused thoughts, like wood drilled into wood, create the fire. Lust, anger, delusion, these are as fire produced, and these inflame and burn all living things.
Thus the fire of grief and sorrow, once enkindled, ceases not to burn, ever giving rise to birth and death; but whilst this fire of sorrow ceases not, yet are there two kinds of fire, one that burns but has no fuel left. So when the heart of man has once conceived distaste for sin, this distaste removing covetous desire, covetous desire extinguished, there is rescue; if once this rescue has been found, then with it is born sight and knowledge, by which distinguishing the streams of birth and death, and practising pure conduct, all is done that should be done, and hereafter shall be no more life.”
Thus the thousand Bhikshus hearing the world-honored preach, all defects forever done away, their minds found perfect and complete deliverance. Then Buddha for the Kâsyapas’ sakes, and for the benefit of the thousand Bhikshus, having preached, and done all that should be done, himself with purity and wisdom and all the concourse of high qualities excellently adorned, he gave them, as in charity, rules for cleansing sense. The great Rishi, listening to reason, lost all regard for bodily austerities, and, as a man without a guide, was emptied of himself, and learned discipleship.
Bimbisâra Râga Becomes a Disciple, from Life of Buddha
Socrates – GLAUCON
And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: –Behold! human beings living in a underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.
For many days I had been debating within myself many and diverse things, seeking constantly, and with anxiety, to find out my real self, my best good, and the evil to be avoided, when suddenly one—I know not, but eagerly strive to know, whether it were my-self or another, within me or without— said to me:
Will you, then, be satisfied to know God after the fashion in which you know in what sign the moon will rise to-morrow?
No, that is not enough, for it is by my senses that this is known. Also I know not whether God, or some occult natural cause, might not suddenly change the ordinary course of the moon, and if this should happen, all that I had taken for granted would become false.
R. And do you believe this could happen?
A. I do not. But I seek what I may know, not what I may believe.
R. They need first to be exercised by a salutary encouragement of desire, and an equally wise postponement of its satisfaction. They should, ﬁrst, be shown some things which are not in themselves luminous, but can be seen only by reflected light, such as a garment or a wall, or anything of that sort. After that, something else, which, though not itself luminous, yet glows with more beauty by reﬂection than does the former, as gold or silver or something similar; but not so brightly as to hurt the eye. Next, they should look upon some moderate terrestrial ﬁre, then upon the stars, then the moon, then the glow of dawn, and the growing splendor of sunrise. And whoever accustoms himself to these things, whether in unbroken order, or with some omissions, will come to look upon the sun itself without shrinking and with great delight. The most excellent teachers use some such method as this with those eagerly desirous of Wisdom, who already see, but whose sight is not acute.
R. It is then established that the nature of things cannot exist apart from a living soul?
A sacrament is the sign of a sacred thing (res).” However, a sacred mystery is also called a sacrament, as the sacrament of divinity, so that a sacrament may be the sign of something sacred, and the sacred thing signified; but now we are considering a sacrament as a sign. — So, “A sacrament is the visible form of an invisible grace.”
But a sign, is the thing (res) behind the form which it wears to the senses, which brings by means of itself something else to our minds.
Furthermore, some signs are natural, as smoke which signifies fire; others conventional; and of those which are conventional, some are sacraments, some not.: For every sacrament is a sign, but the converse is not true. A sacrament bears a resemblance to the thing, of which it is a sign.
Sentences by Peter Lombard 1096-1160
Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to [puny] dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants. He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature. I readily agree with the foregoing.
The Metalogicon of John of Salisbury 1159 P. 167-168 Translated by Daniel D. McGarry 1955
This Colloquy concerning Things and Words, exposes the preposterous Judgments of some People, who are more ambitious of Names, than they are of the Things themselves ; to be esteemed, than to deserve Esteem. In aiming at Things, it is better to be and to have ; in avoiding Things, it is better to be thought to have them and be without them. It is the worst of Frauds to cheat a Friend.
If Man is a rational Animal, how contrary is it to Reason, that in the Conveniencies, rather than the real Goods of the Body, and in external Things, which Fortune gives and takes away at her Pleasure ; we had rather have the Thing itself than the Name ; and in the real Goods of the Mind, we put more Value upon the Name, than the Thing itself.
Of Words and Things Desiderius Erasmus 1466-1536
Charon detests Christians fighting one with another. An evil Genius brings News to Charon, that all the Earth was up in Arms for War: Ossa, the Goddess Fame in Homer, the Monks and Jesuits, are the Incendiaries.
What can’t a well-dissembled Religion do? when to this there is added Youth, Unexperiencedness, Ambition, a natural Animosity, and a Mind propense to any Thing that offers itself. It is an easy Matter to impose upon such ; it is an easy Matter to overthrow a Waggon, that was inclining to fall before.
Charon by Desiderius Erasmus
The same day that Socrates should drink the poison, one Apollodorus (for to comfort him by such means as he could) came and brought to him a rich robe, of a great valor, that he might have it on his back, at his dying hour. But he refusing the gift, What (saith he) this robe of mine own here, which hath been honest enough for me in my lifetime, will it not be even like hones for me, after I be departed out of this world?
Socrates by Desiderius Erasmus
Ecclesiastes: Vanity of Vanities, all is Vanity
To The Reader
Wilt thou not look upon this Labour of mine to be a most bold and almost Herculean attempt, to wage War against the Giant-like Opposition of all the Arts and Sciences? And thus to challenge the stoutest Hunters of Nature? Doubters will knit their enraged brows upon me: the Authority of Masters, the endeavours of the Batchelors of Art, the heat of the Schoolmen, the sedition of the Mechanicks, will be all up in arms against me. All which if I stab at one blow, will it not be a greater work, than Hercules in the accomplishment of all his Labours was ever guilty of?
Shall I not have performed a nobler Task, if with no less danger and labour, I overcome these Monsters of Schools, Universities and Pulpits? For I am not ignorant how bloody a Battle I must fight, or how hazardous and difficult the War will be, being to meet with such an Army of potent Enemies.
The Vanity of Arts and Sciences by Henry Cornelius Agrippa, 1486-1535, Knight, Doctor of both Laws, Judge of the Prerogative Court and Counsellor to Charles the Fifth, Emperour of Germany Published in London 1676
Pantagruel, very well remembering his father’s letter and admonitions, would one day make trial of his knowledge. Thereupon, in all the carrefours, that is, throughout all the four quarters, streets, and corners of the city, he set up conclusions to the number of nine thousand seven hundred sixty and four, in all manner of learning, touching in them the hardest doubts that are in any science. And first of all, in the Fodder Street he held dispute against all the regents or fellows of colleges, artists or masters of arts, and orators, and did so gallantly that he overthrew them and set them all upon their tails. He went afterwards to the Sorbonne, where he maintained argument against all the theologians or divines, for the space of six weeks, from four o’clock in the morning until six in the evening, except an interval of two hours to refresh themselves and take their repast.
Pantagruel, having wholly subdued the land of Dipsody, transported thereunto a colony of Utopians.
as the wise man Solomon saith, Wisdom entereth not into a malicious mind, and that knowledge without conscience is but the ruin of the soul.
Gargantua and Pantagruel François Rabelais 1494-1553
Philosophy cannot and must not give faith, but it must understand itself and know what if offers and take nothing away, least of all trick men out of something by pretending that it is nothing.
Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling 1843 p. 33 Hong
We will shew you further the ground of the genetrix [or matrix], for we see it clearly in begets, this world, in the dominion of the elements : that there is a genetrix, which doth afford so much; and if there be a genetrix, then there must be a centre or circle of life wherein the genetrix hath its dominion: for the nothing doth not move nor stir ; but if there be a stirring, that moveth every life, that must not be a strange [or heterogeneous] thing, because it is in every thing that thing’s own spirit and life, as well in the vegetative and insensitive as in the sensitive living [things].
Threefold Life of Man by Jakob Bohme 1575-1624.
Now we see that the mark standeth in the centre: for God is also an angry zealous or jealous God, and a consuming fire; and in that source [or quality] standeth the abyss of hell. Now the essences are the being which causeth the will: for here you must understand that there are two wills in one being, and they cause two Principles: One is the love and the other is the anger or the source [or property] of wrath.
The Aurora, by Jacob Boehme
As for the disgraces which learning receiveth from politics, they be of this nature: that learning doth soften men’s minds, and makes them more unapt for the honour and exercise of arms; that it doth mar and pervert men’s dispositions for matter of government and policy, in making them too curious and irresolute by variety of reading, or too peremptory or positive by strictness of rules and axioms, or too immoderate and overweening by reason of the greatness of examples, or too incompatible and differing from the times by reason of the dissimilitude of examples; or at least, that it doth divert men’s travails from action and business, and bringeth them to a love of leisure and privateness; and that it doth bring into states a relaxation of discipline, whilst every man is more ready to argue than to obey and execute.
Another error is an impatience of doubt, and haste to assertion without due and mature suspension of judgment. For the two ways of contemplation are not unlike the two ways of action commonly spoken of by the ancients: the one plain and smooth in the beginning, and in the end impassable; the other rough and troublesome in the entrance, but after a while fair and even. So it is in contemplation: if a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning 1561-1626
From the two kinds of axioms above specified, arise the two divisions of philosophy and the sciences, and we will use the commonly adopted terms which approach the nearest to our meaning, in our own sense. Let the investigation of forms, which (in reasoning at least, and after their own laws), are eternal and immutable, constitute metaphysics and let the investigation of the efficient cause of matter, latent process, and latent conformation (which all relate merely to the ordinary course of nature, and not to her fundamental and eternal laws), constitute physics. Parallel to these, let there be two practical divisions; to physics that of mechanics, and to metaphysics that of magic, in the purest sense of the term, as applied to its ample means, and its command over nature.
Francis Bacon, Novum Organum
Sphinx, or Science
They relate that Sphinx was a monster, variously formed, having the face and voice of a virgin, the wings of a bird, and the talons of a griffin. She resided on the top of a mountain, near the city Thebes, and also beset the highways. Her manner was to lie in ambush and seize the travellers, and having them in her power, to propose to them certain dark and perplexed riddles, which it was thought she received from the Muses, and if her wretched captives could not solve and interpret these riddles, she, with great cruelty, fell upon them, in their hesitation and confusion, and tore them to pieces.
This is an elegant, instructive fable, and seems invented to represent science, especially as joined with practice. For science may, without absurdity, be called a monster, being strangely gazed at and admired by the ignorant and unskilful. Her figure and form is various, by reason of the vast variety of subjects that science considers; her voice and countenance are represented female, by reason of her gay appearance and volubility of speech; wings are added, because the sciences and their inventions run and fly about in a moment, for knowledge like light communicated from one torch to another, is presently caught and copiously diffused; sharp and hooked talons are elegantly attributed to her, because the axioms and arguments of science enter the mind, lay hold of it, fix it down, and keep it from moving or slipping away.
Francis Bacon, Wisdom of the Ancients
Orpheus or Philosophy
Even the works of knowledge, though the most excellent among human things, have their periods; for after kingdoms and commonwealths have flourished for a time, disturbances, seditions, and wars, often arise, in the din whereof, first the laws are silent, and not heard; and then men return to their own depraved natures—whence cultivated lands and cities soon become desolate and waste.
And if this disorder continues, learning and philosophy is infallibly torn to pieces; so that only some scattered fragments thereof can afterwards be found up and down, in a few places, like planks after a shipwreck. And barbarous times succeeding, the River Helicon dips under-ground; that is, letters are buried, till things having undergone their due course of changes, learning rises again, and shows its head, though seldom in the same place, but in some other nation.
Frances Bacon, The Wisdom of the Ancients
As soon as my years freed me from the subjection of my Tutors, I wholly gave over the study of Letters, and resolving to seek no other knowledge but what I could finde in my self, or in the great book of the World. I had always an extreme desire to learn to distinguish Truth from Falshood, that I might see cleerly into my actions, and passe this life with assurance.
So I thought the sciences in Books, at least those whose reasons are but probable, and which have no demonstrations, having been compos’d of, and by little and little enlarg’d with, the opinions of divers persons, come not so near the Truth, as those simple reasonings which an understanding Man can naturally make, touching those things which occurr.
The first was, never to receive any thing for true, but what I evidently knew to be so; that’s to say, Carefully to avoid Precipitation and Prevention, and to admit nothing more into my judgment, but what should so clearly and distinctly present it self to my minde, that I could have no reason to doubt of it.
The second, to divide every One of these difficulties, which I was to examine into as many parcels as could be, and, as was requisite the better to resolve them.
The third, to lead my thoughts in order, beginning by the most simple objects, and the easiest to be known; to rise by little and little, as by steps, even to the knowledg of the most mixt; and even supposing an Order among those which naturally doe not precede one the other.
A Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes 1596-1650
To doubt is then a misfortune, but to seek when in doubt is an indispensable duty. So he who doubts and seeks not is at once unfortunate and unfair. If at the same time he is gay and presumptuous, I have no terms in which to describe a creature so extravagant.
The arithmetical machine produces effects which approach nearer to thought than all the actions of animals. But it does nothing which would enable us to attribute will to it, as to the animals.
This internal war of reason against the passions has made a division of those who would have peace into two sects. The first would renounce their passions, and become gods; the others would renounce reason, and become brute beasts. But neither can do so, and reason still remains, to condemn the vileness and injustice of the passions, and to trouble the repose of those who abandon themselves to them; and the passions keep always alive in those who would renounce them.
Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.
All our dignity consists, then, in thought. By it we must elevate ourselves, and not by space and time which we cannot fill. Let us endeavour, then, to think well; this is the principle of morality.
All the principles of sceptics, stoics, atheists, etc., are true. But their conclusions are false, because the opposite principles are also true.
Two things instruct man about his whole nature; instinct and experience.
Pensees (Thoughts) Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
The knowledge of good and evil is nothing else but the emotions of pleasure or pain, in so far as we are conscious thereof.
An emotion towards a thing, which we know not to exist at the present time, and which we conceive as possible, is more intense, other conditions being equal, than an emotion towards a thing contingent.
Emotion towards a thing contingent, which we know not to exist in the present, is, other conditions being equal, fainter than an emotion towards a thing past.
A true knowledge of good and evil cannot check any emotion by virtue of being true, but only in so far as it is considered as an emotion.
Ethics by Baruch Spinoza 1632-1677
Those who would exclude final causes from the consideration of the naturalist, seem to do it, either because, with Epicurus,, they think the world was produced by atoms and chance, without the intervention of a Deity; and, consequently, that ’tis in vain to seek for such causes: or because, with Descartes, they imagine, that God being omniscient, ’tis rash and presumptuous for men to think they know, or can discover what ends he proposed to himself, in his creatures. The supposition on which the Epicureans have rejected final causes, has been disallowed by the philosophers of almost all other sects; and some have written sufficient confutations of it.
An Inquiry Into the Final Cause of Natural Things, by Robert Boyle 1627-1691
He that at first put together the idea of danger perceived, absence of disorder from fear, sedate consideration of what was justly to be done, and executing that without disturbance, or being deterred by the danger of it, had certainly in his mind that complex idea made up of that combination; and intending it to be nothing else, but what is, nor to have in it any other simple ideas, but what it hath, it could not also but be an adequate idea: and laying this up in his memory, with the name courage annexed to it, to signify to others, and denominate from thence any action he should observe to agree with it, had thereby a standard to measure and denominate actions by, as they agreed to it. This idea thus made, and laid up for a pattern, must necessarily be adequate, being referred to nothing else but itself, nor made by any other original, but the good-liking and will of him that first made this combination. —
First, it is usual for men to make the names of substances stand for things, as supposed to have certain real essences, whereby they are of this or that species; and names standing for nothing but the ideas that are in men’s minds, they must constantly refer their ideas to such real essences, as to their archetypes.
Who is there almost, who would not take it amiss, if it should be doubted, whether he called himself a man, with any other meaning, than as having the real essence of a man And yet if you demand what those real essences are, it is plain men are ignorant, and know them not.
When I am told, that something besides the figure, size, and posture of the solid parts of that body, is its essence, something called substantial form; of that, I confess, I have no idea at all, but only of the sound form, which is far enough from an idea of its real essence, or constitution.
The paper I write on, having the power, in the light (I speak according to the common notion of light) to produce in men the sensation which I call white, it cannot but be the effect of such a power, in something without the mind; since the mind has not the power to produce any such idea in itself, and being meant for nothing else but the effect of such a power, that simple idea is real and adequate; the sensation of white, in my mind, being the effect of that power, which is in the paper to produce it, is perfectly adequate to that power; or else, that power would produce a different idea.
Since the powers or qualities that are observable by us, are not the real essence of that substance, but depend on it, and flow from it, any collection whatsoever of these qualities cannot be the real essence of that thing.
Complex ideas of modes and relations are originals, and archetypes; are not copies, nor made after the pattern of any real existence, to which the mind intends them to be conformable, and exactly quate to answer.
The mind often exercises an active power in making these several combinations: for it being once furnished with simple ideas, it can put them together in several compositions, and so make variety of complex ideas, without examining whether they exist so together in nature. And hence I think it is that these ideas are called notions, as if they had their original and constant existence more in the thoughts of men, than in the reality of things; and to form such “ideas”, it sufficed, that the mind puts the parts of them together, and that they were consistent in the understanding, without considering whether they had any real being: though I do not deny, but several of them might be taken from observation, and the existence of several simple ideas so combined, as they are put together in the understanding.
John Locke 1632-1704, And Essay Concerning Humane Understanding Book 2 1689
Words being voluntary signs, they cannot be voluntary signs imposed by him on things he knows not. That would be to make them signs of nothing, sounds without signification. A man cannot make his words the signs either of qualities in things, or of conceptions in the mind of another, whereof he has none in his own. Till he has some ideas of his own, he cannot suppose them to correspond with the conceptions of another man; nor can he use any signs for them: for thus they would be the signs of he knows not what, which is in truth to be the signs of nothing. But when he represents to himself other men’s ideas by some of his own, if he consent to give them the same names that other men do, it is still to his own ideas; to ideas that he has, and not to ideas that he has not.
An Essay Concerning Humane Understanding Book III by John Locke
With the help of dice Descartes made heaven and earth; but he could not set his dice in motion, nor start the action of his centrifugal force without the help of rotation. Newton discovered the law of gravitation; but gravitation alone would soon reduce the universe to a motionless mass; he was compelled to add a projectile force to account for the elliptical course of the celestial bodies; let Newton show us the hand that launched the planets in the tangent of their orbits.
Life is the totality of the objective rational being; and speculation is the totality of the subjective rational being. One is not possible without the other. Life, as an active surrendering to a mechanism, is not possible without the activity and freedom (otherwise speculation) which surrenders itself; though the latter may not arise to the clear consciousness of every individual; and speculation is not possible without the life from which it abstracts. Both life and speculation are determinable only through each other. Life is most properly not-philosophising; and philosophising is most properly not-life.
“First, if you can, celestial Guide! disclose
From what fair fountain mortal life arose,
Whence the fine nerve to move and feel assign’d,
Contractile fibre, and ethereal mind:
“How Love and Sympathy the bosom warm,
Allure with pleasure, and with pain alarm,
With soft affections weave the social plan,
And charm the listening Savage into Man.”
God the First cause!—in this terrene abode
Young Nature lisps, she is the child of God.
From embryon births her changeful forms improve,
Grow, as they live, and strengthen as they move.
“Ere Time began, from flaming Chaos hurl’d
Rose the bright spheres, which form the circling world;
Earths from each sun with quick explosions burst,
And second planets issued from the first.
Then, whilst the sea at their coeval birth,
Surge over surge, involv’d the shoreless earth;
Nurs’d by warm sun-beams in primeval caves
Organic Life began beneath the waves.
First Heat from chemic dissolution springs,
And gives to matter its eccentric wings;
With strong Repulsion parts the exploding mass,
Melts into lymph, or kindles into gas.
Attraction next, as earth or air subsides,
The ponderous atoms from the light divides,
Approaching parts with quick embrace combines,
Swells into spheres, and lengthens into lines.
Last, as fine goads the gluten-threads excite,
Cords grapple cords, and webs with webs unite;
And quick Contraction with ethereal flame
Lights into life the fibre-woven frame.—
Hence without parent by spontaneous birth
Rise the first specks of animated earth;
From Nature’s womb the plant or insect swims,
And buds or breathes, with microscopic limbs. …
The Temple of Nature by Erasmus Darwin 1731-1802
Philosophy is pedagogical in the widest significance of this word, for the immediate practical life. Because this science has to teach us to comprehend the whole man, it shows from the highest grounds how men should be cultured, in order to make permanent in them moral and religious sentiments, and gradually to universalize these sentiments.
The Religious Significance of the Science of Knowledge, Johann Fichte 1798
We (Goethe and Herder) had not lived together long in this manner when he confided to me that he meant to be competitor for the prize which was offered at Berlin, for the best treatise on the origin of language. His work was already nearly completed, and, as he wrote a very neat hand, he could soon communicate to me, in parts, a legible manuscript. I had never reflected on such subjects, for I was yet too deeply involved in the midst of things to have thought about their beginning and end. The question, too, seemed to me in some measure and idle one; for if God had created man as man, language was just as innate in him as walking erect; he must have just as well perceived that he could sing with his throat, and modify the tones in various ways with tongue, palate, and lips, as he must have remarked that he could walk and take hold of things. If man was of divine origin, so was also language itself: and if man, considered in the circle of nature was a natural being, language was likewise natural. These two things, like soul and body, I could never separate.
Silberschlag, with a realism crude yet somewhat fantastically devised, had declared himself for the divine origin, that is, that God had played the schoolmaster to the first men. Herder’s treatise went to show that man as man could and must have attained to language by his own powers. I read the treatise with much pleasure, and it was of special aid in strengthening my mind; only I did not stand high enough either in knowledge or thought to form a solid judgment upon it. But one was received just like the other; there was scolding and blaming, whether one agreed with him conditionally or unconditionally. The fat surgeon (Lobstein) had less patience than I; he humorously declined the communication of this prize-essay, and affirmed that he was not prepared to meditate on such abstract topics. He urged us in preference to a game of ombre, which we commonly played together in the evening.
The Autobiography of Goethe Volume 2 P. 349-350 1811
For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Romans 7 The Holy Bible
Reason is spirit, when its certainty of being all reality has been raised to the level of truth, and reason is consciously aware of itself as its own world, and of the world itself.
Spirit constructs not merely one world, but a twofold world, divided and self-opposed. The equilibrium of the whole is not the unity which abides by itself, nor its inwardly secured tranquility, but rests on the alienation of its opposite. The whole is like each articular moment, a self-estranged reality. The sphere of spirit at that stage breaks up into two regions. The one is the real world, its self-estrangement, the other is constructed and set up in the eigher of pure consciousness, and is exalted above the first. The spirit of this world is spiritual essence permeated by self-consciousness which knows itself to be directly present as a self-existent particular, and has that essence as its objective reality over against itself.
The noble type of consciousness finds itself in the judgment related to state-power, in the sence that this power is indeed not a self as yet but at first is universal substance, in which this form of mind feels its own essential nature to exist, is conscious of its own purpose and absolute content. By taking up a positive relation to this substance, it assumes a negative attitude towards its own speach purposes, its particular content and individual existence, and lets them disappear. This type of mind is the heroism of Service.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 1770-1831 The Phenomenolgy of Spirit Vol 2 1807
The divine Spirit must immanently permeate the secular; thus is wisdom concretely in the secular, and its title to itself determined. That concrete indwelling is, however, constituted by the forms of morality referred to—the morality of marriage as opposed to- the sanctity of the unmarried state, the morality of the activity of property and gain as opposed to the holiness of poverty and indolence, the morality of obedience to the law of the State as opposed to the sanctity of obedience devoid of right and duty, the bondage of conscience. With the need of law and morality, and the insight into the free nature of spirit, appears’ the struggle between these and the religion of unfreedom.
It is of no avail that the laws and the ordinances of the state have been brought up to the standard of rational organization, if the principle of unfreedom in religion is not given up. The two are incompatible with each other; it is a foolish notion to wish to assign separate provinces to the State and religion, with the opinion that their difference will exercise a peaceful inﬂuence on them and prevent contradiction and strife.
Principles of lawful freedom can only be abstract and superﬁcial, and the state institutions derived from them must of themselves be untenable if the wisdom which gave birth to those principles understands religion so poorly as not to know that the principles of the reason of reality have their ﬁnal and highest guarantee in the religious conscience in the assumption under consciousness of the absolute truth.
If, no matter how it happens—a priori, so to speak—a legislation which had the principles of reason for its foundation came into contradiction with the popular religion based on principles of spiritual servitude, the test and actualization of the legislation lies with the individuals of the government as such, and the entire administration branching out through all classes, and it were only an abstract empty notion that it were possible that the individuals would act only according to the sense or the letter of the laws, and not according to the spirit of their religion, in which their innermost conscience and highest obligation lie.
Friedrich Hegel, Hegel on the State (From the Philosophy of the Spirit)
That a child who has a strict father must stay at home is something one must submit to, because the father is indeed the stronger. But the first self is certainly no child, and that deeper self, after all, is himself, and yet it seems stricter than the strictest father, tolerating no wheedling, speaking candidly or not speaking at all. Then there is danger afoot-both of them, both the first self and the deeper self, notice it, and the latter sits there as concerned as the experienced pilot, while a secret council is held on whether it is best to throw the pilot overboard since he is creating a contrary wind.
That, however, does not happen, but what is the outcome? The first self cannot move from the spot, and yet, yet it is clear that the moment of joy is in a hurry, that fortune is already in flight. Therefore people do indeed say that if one does not make use of the moment at once, it is soon too late. And who is to blame? Who else but the deeper self? But even this scream does not help. What kind of unnatural condition is this? What does it all mean? When such a thing occurs in a person’s soul, does it not mean that he is beginning to lose his mind?
No, it means something altogether different; it means that the child must be weaned. One can be thirty years old and more, forty years old, and still be a child, yet one can die as an aged child. One snuggles at the cradle of finitude, and probability sits by the cradle and sings to the child. If the wish is not fulfilled and the child becomes restless, then probability calms him and says: Just lie still and sleep, and I shall go out and buy something for you, and next time it will be your turn. So the child goes to sleep again and the pain is forgotten, and the child glows again in the dream of new wishes, although he thought it would be impossible to forget the pain. Of course, if he had not been a child, he surely would not have forgotten the pain so easily, and it would have become apparent that it was not probability that had sat beside the cradle, but it was the deeper self that had sat beside him at the deathbed in self-denial’s hour of death, when it itself rose from the dead to an eternity. When the first self submits to the deeper self, they are reconciled and walk on together.
Soren Kierkegaard, 1813-1855 Four Upbuilding Discourses 1844 from Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses 1843-1844 Hong p. 315-316
Sin, however, is not subject for psychological concern, and only by submitting to the service of a misplaced brilliance could it be dealt with psychologically. When sin is brought into esthetics, the mood becomes either light-minded or melancholy, for the category in which sin lies is that of contradiction, and this is either comic or tragic…. If sin is dealt with in psychology, the mood becomes that of persistent observation, like the fearlessness of a secret agent, but not that of the victorious flight of earnestness out of sin. The mood of psychology is that of a discovering anxiety, and in its anxiety psychology portrays sin, while again and again it is in anxiety over the portrayal that it itself brings forth. Whenever sin is spoken of as a disease, an abnormality, a poison, or a disharmony, the concept is false.
The demonic has been viewed medically-therapeutically. And it goes without saying with power and with pills and then with enemas! Now the pharmacist and the physician would get together. The patient would be isolated to prevent others from becoming afraid. In a courageous age, we dare not tell a patient that he is about to die, we dare not call the pastor lest he die from shock, and we dare not tell the patient that a few days ago a man died from the same disease. The patient would be isolated. Sympathy would inquire about his condition. The physician would promise to issue a report as soon as possible, along with a tabulated statistical survey in order to determine the average. And when one has arrived at the average, everything is explained. The medical-therapeutic view regards the phenomenon as purely physical and somatic, and as physicians often do, takes a pinch of snuff and says: It is a serious case.
Soren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety 1844 P. 14-15, 121-122 Nichol
The mere accumulation of unconnected observations of details, devoid of generalization of ideas, may doubtlessly have tended to create and foster the deeply-rooted prejudice, that the study of the exact sciences must necessarily chill the feelings, and diminish the nobler enjoyments attendant upon a contemplation of nature. Those who still cherish such erroneous views in the present age, and amid the progress of public opinion, and the advancement of all branches of knowledge, fail in duly appreciating the value of every enlargement of the sphere of intellect, and the importance of the detail of isolated facts in leading us on to general results.
The fear of sacrificing the free enjoyment of nature, under the influence of scientific reasoning, is often associated with an apprehension that every mind may not be capable of grasping the truths of the philosophy of nature. It is certainly true that in the midst of the universal fluctuation of phenomena and vital forces — in that inextricable net-work of organisms by turns developed and destroyed — each step that we make in the more intimate knowledge of nature leads us to the entrance of new labyrinths; but the excitement produced by a presentiment of discovery, the vague intuition of the mysteries to be unfolded, and the multiplicity of the paths before us, all tend to stimulate the exercise of thought in every stage of knowledge.
The discovery of each separate law of nature leads to the establishment of some other more general law, or at least indicates to the intelligent observer its existence. Nature, as a celebrated physiologist has defined it, and as the word was interpreted by the Greeks and Romans, is “that which is ever growing and ever unfolding itself in new forms.”
Cosmos: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universe, Vol. 1 by Alexander Humboldt 1851
‘Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else. You can only form the minds of reasoning animals upon Facts: nothing else will ever be of any service to them. This is the principle on which I bring up my own children, and this is the principle on which I bring up these children. Stick to Facts, sir!’ ‘In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir; nothing but Facts!’
Hard Times by Charles Dickens 19812-1870 (1854)
It is quite incredible that a man should through mere accident abnormally resemble certain apes in no less than seven of his muscles, if there had been no genetic connection between them. On the other hand, if man is descended from some ape-like creature, no valid reason can be assigned why certain muscles should not suddenly reappear after an interval of many thousand generations, in the same manner as with horses, asses, and mules, dark-coloured stripes suddenly reappear on the legs, and shoulders, after an interval of hundreds, or more probably of thousands of generations.
As Horne Tooke, one of the founders of the noble science of philology, observes, language is an art, like brewing or baking; but writing would have been a better simile. It certainly is not a true instinct, for every language has to be learnt. It differs, however, widely from all ordinary arts, for man has an instinctive tendency to speak, as we see in the babble of our young children; whilst no child has an instinctive tendency to brew, bake, or write. Moreover, no philologist now supposes that any language has been deliberately invented; it has been slowly and unconsciously developed by many steps.
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man 1871
My dear reader, if you do not have the time and opportunity to take a dozen years of your life to travel around the world to see everything a world traveler is acquainted with, if you do not have the capability and qualifications from years of practice in a foreign language to penetrate to the differences in national characteristics as these become apparent to the research scholar, if you are not bent upon discovering a new astronomical system that will displace both the Copernican and the Ptolemaic-then marry; and if you have time for the first, the capability for the second, the idea for the last, then marry also. Even if you did not manage to see the whole globe or to speak in many tongues or to know all about the heavens, you will not regret it, for marriage is and remains the most important voyage of discovery a human being undertakes; compared with a married man’s knowledge of life, any other knowledge of it is superficial, for he and he alone has properly immersed himself in life.
— Søren Kierkegaard, Judge Vilhelm, Stages on Life’s Way, Hong p. 89
In order to be sure of our reckoning, and to exhibit to the understanding just what we understand the Grand Man to comprehend, let us try to properly define. We hold the term to mean the aggregate humanity; mankind as a unit, in nature, power, and destiny. The first seal to such a unit is a common origin—natural consanguinity—one-ness of blood. The second seal is a one-ness of spiritual energy, that prompts every individual of the race to press onward in the endeavor for fuller personal realizations in life. The third seal is a unity of destiny, that assures true social alliance, fullest opportunity and clear competence for all.
The first is like a motionless sea, sure to become putrid if left thus to stagnate. The second makes a common motor or stimulus of action, which, although engendering painful turbulence of particles and seeming destruction, tends to work the whole body pure and good in constant use. The third is the inexhaustible fount or ocean, competent to satisfy all thirst, allay all the fevers of life, and amply to refresh forevermore.
The Grand Man by Theron Gray 1874
Anarchy, as basic root or seed-form of all government, must have a productive root in itself; else no higher form could be derived from it. … Divine Providence raises up some master mind and prompts it to seize upon the elements, and shape and direct human forces to human ends. Thus, out of anarchy arises government—human conditions needing, and human power . effecting it. And the form is by necessity that of monarchy, because of the general inexperience and helplessness. ….
But as progress, of whatever nature, involves a fall from primitive excellence into the devious methods or antitheses of self-assertion or subjective formation under the guise of transgression, monarchy is sure to lapse from its first estate of rightly disposed patriarchalism—service to human needs everywhere—into a system of self-serving and human oppression.
Thus under the rule of absolute authority perverted to self-service rather than devoted to public service, man is pressed forward into the conscious possession of personal powers and rights which will make himself an intelligent factor in government, and lead him to establish institutions that will in some measure respond to, and represent, the forces of a common personality or manhood. And so this conception and experience of the rights and interests of man, as man, begotten of monarchy as that was begotten of anarchy, projects new institutional forms better suited to advancing human conditions. Constitutional government comes thus into play…
Thus we see that inevitable strife between man and institutions—the conflict between freedom and authority—born of the practical duplicity everywhere bred and active under duarchal order, presses man to the assertion of his full magisterial rights, and so opens directly into triarchy, as the institutional degree befitting highest manhood and promising the fruition of man’s hopes by actually making him master of the situation.
The law of universal freedom and power as basic to “a people’s government,” carries with it a demand for a composing or associating law by which these numerous factors shall be harmoniously related. But neither the one nor the other could by possibility become actual experience at first.
Full scientific consistency in institutions must give consistency and permanence of order; hence the reign of science in government cannot be consummated till growth or development shall have passed through all its forms and come to adequate fruition.
Science in Government by Theron Gray 1876
Science has resolved all matter to force, and force to potentiality; and, as we know that potentiality is only a relation of principles in the order of nature, we know that force is only a relation ; its annihilation being the creation of the potential relation. … Self, or personality, consists, either of ever-existing principles, or of only unstable phenomena subject to creation and annihilation—there is no middle ground. .
The Unification of Science by Alfred Arnold 1881
The possibility of offense is present at every moment confirming at every moment the chasmic abyss between the single individual and the God-man over which faith and faith alone reaches. The possibility of offense is the stumbling block for all, whether they choose to believe or they are offended. Therefore the communication begins with a repulsion.
Soren Kierkegaard, Practice in Christianity, 1850 Hong p.139
New Struggles.—After Buddha was dead people showed his shadow for centuries afterwards in a cave,—an immense frightful shadow. God is dead: but as the human race is constituted, there will perhaps be caves for millenniums yet, in which people will show his shadow,—And we—we have still to overcome his shadow!
The Madman.—Have you ever heard of the madman who on a bright morning lighted a lantern and ran to the market-place calling out unceasingly: “I seek God! I seek God!”—As there were many people standing about who did not believe in God, he caused a great deal of amusement. Why! is he lost? said one. Has he strayed away like a child? said another. Or does he keep himself hidden? Is he afraid of us? Has he taken a sea-voyage? Has he emigrated?—the people cried out laughingly, all in a hubbub. The insane man jumped into their midst and transfixed them with his glances.
“Where is God gone?” he called out. “I mean to tell you! We have killed him,—you and I! We are all his murderers! But how have we done it? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we loosened this earth from its sun? Whither does it now move? Whither do we move? Away from all suns? Do we not dash on unceasingly? Backwards, sideways, forwards, in all directions? Is there still an above and below? Do we not stray, as through infinite nothingness? Does not empty space breathe upon us? Has it not become colder? Does not night come on continually, darker and darker? Shall we not have to light lanterns in the morning? Do we not hear the noise of the grave-diggers who are burying God? Do we not smell the divine putrefaction?—for even Gods putrefy! God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!
How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife,—who will wipe the blood from us? With what water could we cleanse ourselves? What lustrums, what sacred games shall we have to devise? Is not the magnitude of this deed too great for us? Shall we not ourselves have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of it? There never was a greater event,—and on account of it, all who are born after us belong to a higher history than any history hitherto!”—
Here the madman was silent and looked again at his hearers; they also were silent and looked at him in surprise. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, so that it broke in pieces and was extinguished. “I come too early,” he then said, “I am not yet at the right time. This prodigious event is still on its way, and is travelling,—it has not yet reached men’s ears. Lightning and thunder need time, the light of the stars needs time, deeds need time, even after they are done, to be seen and heard. This deed is as yet further from them than the furthest star,—and yet they have done it!“—It is further stated that the madman made his way into different churches on the same day, and there intoned his Requiem aeternam deo. When led out and called to account, he always gave the reply: “What are these churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?”
Friedrich Nietzsche, The Joyful Wisdom (The Gay Science) 1882
“And what doeth the saint in the forest?” asked Zarathustra.
The saint answered: “I make hymns and sing them; and in making hymns I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise God.
With singing, weeping, laughing, and mumbling do I praise the God who is my God. But what dost thou bring us as a gift?”
When Zarathustra had heard these words, he bowed to the saint and said: “What should I have to give thee! Let me rather hurry hence lest I take aught away from thee!”—And thus they parted from one another, the old man and Zarathustra, laughing like schoolboys.
When Zarathustra was alone, however, he said to his heart: “Could it be possible! This old saint in the forest hath not yet heard of it, that GOD IS DEAD!”
Friedrich Nietzsche Thus Spake Zarathustra – 1883-1885
The scientific conception of the universe is too often appealed to even by men of some metaphysical insight as if it were an infallible canon.
From the limited data of sense-experience Science is perpetually soaring only to impale herself on the horns of dilemmas.
Does science in any way point to process as the ground of process?
A Universal Telos The Presupposition of All Inquiry, by William Boulting 1884
But the pantheism with which modern science is charged with being in alliance is materialistic. The only God that it owns is impersonal Law, pervading the universe, ecessitating all beings, events, and phenomena, inevitable and inexorable. This Law exists only in the multiform universe which it produces, sustains, and governs, and with which it is identical in such a sense that God and the Universe, the Whole, are mutually convertible terms. In the totality there is no self-consciousness. Consequently prayer and communion with God cannot be. The only self-consciousness in the universe .is that of individual beings sufficiently developed to possess it. God himself is an agnostic. He knows not himself nor anything else. You and I know just as much of him as we know of the universe.
Is Pantheism The Legitimate Outcome of Modern Science? by Andrew Peabody 1885
Kierkegaard noticed the multiplicity in the new sciences of philosophy, sociology, psychology and this unified field created by the thinkers past and present. He wondered about the existing individual in relation to the many.
The task is to practice one’s relation to one’s absolute end or goal so that one continually has it within while continuing in the relative objective of existence.
The existing person who has his absolute orientation toward the absolute end or goal and comprehends the task of practicing the relation may be a councilor of justice, may be one of the other councilors, and yet he is not like the other councilors, but when one sees him he is exactly like the others.
Perhaps he gains the whole world, but he is not like one who craves that. Perhaps he becomes king, but every time he places the crown on his head and every time he extends his scepter, resignation first inspects to see if he, existing, is expressing the absolute respect for the absolute end or goal-and the crown dwindles into insignificance, even if he wears it regally.
When resignation is convinced that the individual has the absolute orientation toward the absolute end or goal, everything is changed, and the roots are cut. He lives in the finite, but he does not have his life in it. His life, like the life of another, has the diverse predicates of a human existence, but he is within them like the person who walks in a stranger’s borrowed clothes. He is a stranger in the world of finitude, but he does not define his difference from worldliness by foreign dress; he is incognito, but his incognito consists in looking just like everyone else.
Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript 1846 Hong p. 408-410
True inwardness does not demand any sign at all in externals.
In the practice of the absolute distinction, the passion of the infinite is present, but it wants to be inwardness without jealousy, without envy, without mistrust. It does not want continually to standout marked as something striking in existence, whereby it simply loses, just as when God’s invisible image is made visible.
It does not want to disturb the finite, but neither does it want to mediate. In the midst of the finite and finitude’s multiple occasions for the existing person to forget the absolute distinction, it only wants to be the absolute inwardness for him, and as for the rest, he can be counselor or justice.
But the maximum of the task is to be able simultaneously to relate oneself absolutely to the absolute end or goal and relatively to the relative ends, or at all times to have the absolute end or goal with oneself.
Concluding Unscientific Postscript 1846 Hong p. 414-415
Here is a quote from his 1851 book, For Self-Examination.
If in observing the present state of the world and life in general, from a Christian point of view one had to say (and from a Christian point of view with complete justification): It is a disease. And if I were a physician and someone asked me “What do you think should be done?” I would answer, “The first thing, the unconditional condition for anything to be done, consequently the very first thing that must be done is: create silence, bring about silence; God’s Word cannot be heard, and if in order to be heard in the hullabaloo it must be shouted deafeningly with noisy instruments, then it is not God’s Word; create silence!
Ah, everything is noisy; and just as strong drink is said to stir the blood, so everything in our day, even the most insignificant project, even the most empty communication, is designed merely to jolt the senses and to stir up the masses, the crowd, the public, noise!
And man, this clever fellow, seems to have become sleepless in order to invent ever new instruments to increase noise, to spread noise and insignificance with the greatest possible haste and on the greatest possible scale. Yes, everything is soon turned upside-down: communication is indeed soon brought to its lowest point in regard to meaning, and simultaneously the means of communication are indeed brought to their highest with regard to speedy and overall circulation; for what is publicized with such hot haste and, on the other hand, what has greater circulation than—rubbish! Oh, create silence!”
Soren Kierkegaard, For Self-Examination 1851 p. 47-48 Hong 1990
I want to give thanks to Governance, who in such multitudinous ways has encouraged my endeavor, has encouraged it over four and one-quarter years without perhaps a single day’s interruption of effort, has granted me much more than I had ever expected, even though I can truly testify that I staked my life to the utmost of my capacity, more than I at least had expected, even if to others the accomplishment seems to be a complicated triviality. So, with fervent thanks to Governance, I do not find it unsettling that I cannot quite be said to have achieved anything or, what is of less importance, attained anything in the outer world. I find it ironically in order that the honorarium, at least, in virtue of the production and of my equivocal authorship, has been rather Socratic.
Concluding Postscript 1846 p. 628 Hong
Now, is it true that modern science, assiduously testing such phenomenal existence, following it up in all its intricate relations with rigorous precision, that genuine objective science, has actually arrived at the same ancient pantheistic conclusion? Does it, in all verity, likewise teach us that the things and events of this world are but transient manifestations of one and the same transcendent and eternal Force, Energy, Power, or whatever name may be given to the inferred cause and substratum of all apparent existence?
Is Pantheism The Legitimate Outcome of Modern Science? by Edmund Montgomery 1885 (two more articles follow in the text)
Imitation may be the sincerest flattery, but it is, of all, the most irritating: and a cynic, as you are good enough to call me, feels this especially. For a cynic is the one preacher, remember, that never wants to make converts. His aim is to outrage, not to convince: to create enemies, not to conquer them. The peculiar charm that his creed has for him, is his own peculiarity in holding it. He is an acid that can only fizz with an alkali, and he therefore hates in others what he most admires in himself.
The new republic: or, Culture, faith, and philosophy in an English country house, by William Hurrell Mallock 1849-1923 (1908)
“Philosophy (Hegel) seeks speculatively to confuse the ethical for the single individual with the world-historical task for the human race. The ethical is the highest task assigned to every human being.”
Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unsientific Postscript 1846 Hong p. 151
There is a direct road from “Knowledge is power”–and Bacon’s other statement that the purpose of knowledge is to furnish man with new inventions and gadgets–to Descartes’ more explicity polemical statement in the Discourse that he intended to replace the old “theoretical” philosophy by a practical kind, so that men might make ourselves the “masters and owners of nature”. That road leads on to Marx’s well-known declaration: hitherto philosophy has been concerned with interpreting the world, but matters is to change it.
This assault upon philosophy’s theoretical character is the historical road of philosophy’s suicide. And that assault arises from the world’s being seem ore and more as mere raw material for human activity. Once the world is no longer regarded as Creation, there cannot be “theoria” in the full meaning of the word. The loss of theoria mans eo ipso to the loss of freedom of philosophy: philosophy then becomes function withing society, solely practical, and it must of course justify its existencew and role among the functions of society: and finally, in spite of its name, it appears as form of work or even of “labor”.
Leisure The Basis of Culture by Josef Pieper 1952, 1963 p. 91
Because of the jumbling together of the idea of the state, of sociality, of community, and of society, God can no longer catch hold of the single individual. Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript 1846 Hong p. 543-545