What schools never teach. – March 25, 2014. Yesterday the Malaysian government finally announced that Flight 370 had crashed in the southern part of the Indian Ocean killing all 239 people on board. Of course this is horrible news, especially for those who actually knew someone on the plane. However, 99.999% of the people who followed the saga on TV knew nobody on the plane. During the fourteen days of uncertainty about the 239 passengers, more than 1,000,0000 other people died in the world. Their deaths received absolutely no press coverage. – Some of the reactions I saw to the announcement of the crash were striking. Watching people lament the death of a loved one is always a horrible thing to see. But it was not those people who struck me the most; it was the people who wanted to know “THE TRUTH”, the whole truth. News people and some family members kept claiming that the lack of truth about what happened on Flight 370 was scandalous…What exactly happened in the cockpit? What went on in the minds of the pilots? What exact flight path did the plane take? What were the exact backgrounds of everyone on the plane? Who and what actually are to blame for the catastrophe? And on and on…But perhaps the real scandal has nothing to do with these unanswered questions. Perhaps the real scandal is the people think they can KNOW the reasons and causes of…EVERYTHING. This is where we are in the world today. People think they have the right to know everything and they are sure that – with the correct information – they can KNOW…EVERYTHING. – What ludicrous folly! What stupidity! What unthinking cretinism! What imbecility! What naivety! What myth! What absurd nonsense!… Continue reading Maylasia Flight 370
Nietzsche says that thinkers who think they are in a position to reveal truth about human being are destined to fail and have always failed. Any philosopher’s perspective is so impossibly small in the great picture of human development:
“They (philosophers) will not learn that man has become, that the faculty of cognition has become; while some of them would have it that the whole world is spun out of this faculty of cognition. Now, everything essential in the development of mankind took place in primeval times, long before the 4,000 years we more or less know about; during these years mankind may well not have altered very much. But the philosopher here sees ‘instincts’ in man as he now is and assumes that these belong to the unalterable facts of mankind, and to that extent could provide a key to the understanding of the world in general: the whole of teleology is constructed by speaking of the man of the last four millennia as of an eternal man towards whom all things in the world have had a natural relationship from the time he began. But everything has become: there are no eternal facts, just as there are no absolute truths. “
A philosopher’s perspective is typically not seen as an obstacle to be overcome, his eye is fixed on a goal – to understand the world. In this he is blind before he opens his eyes. He stumbles more emphatically than those who have never known the light.
“To solve everything at a stroke, with a single word- that was the secret desire. (…) ‘There is a riddle to be solved’: thus did the goal of life appear to the eye of the philosopher; the first thing to do was to find the riddle and to compress the problem of the world into the simplest riddle-form. The boundless ambition and exultation of being the ‘unriddler of the world’ constituted the thinker’s dreams: nothing seemed worthwhile if it was to the means of bringing everything to a conclusion for him!” (D 547)
Nietzsche is pointed in a direction that few philosophers have dared to go. Instead of seeing man as the focus, the center, the brain of the universe, he is imagining the most real possibility that man is but a dot – an unknowing dot – in the vast (O so vast!) cosmos. Not only does he intellectualize this possibility, but he feels it, he breathes it, his heart beats it. Maybe, even likely, the history of Western thinking has been a great exercise in delusion, in sealing humanity in a warm air-tight balloon that protects us from the raw, brute, simple fact of our being. To imagine what he is saying about traditional philosophy (and religion) is perhaps the most difficult thing to grasp with Nietzsche. But we must grasp it first – now – in order to see what his vision is all about. Continue reading An Exercise in Delusion