Profile of Postmodern Beatnik

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Occupation: Professor of Philosophy

Interests: Ethics, history of philosophy

Biography: The dangers for a philosopher's development are indeed so manifold today that one may doubt whether this fruit can still ripen at all. The scope and the tower-building of the sciences has grown to be enormous, and with this also the probability that the philosopher grows weary while still learning or allows himself to be detained somewhere to become a "specialist"—so he never attains his proper level, the height for a comprehensive look, for looking around, for looking down. Or he attains it too late, when his best time and strength are spent—or impaired, coarsened, degenerated, so his view, his over-all value judgment does not mean much any more. It may be precisely the sensitivity of his intellectual conscience that leads him to delay somewhere along the way and to be late: he is afraid of the seduction to become a dilettante, a millipede, an insect with a thousand antennae; he knows too well that whoever has lost his self-respect cannot command or lead in the realm of knowledge—unless he would like to become a great actor, a philosophical Cagliostro and pied piper, in short, a seducer. This is in the end a question of taste, even if it were not a question of conscience.

Add to this, by way of once more doubling the difficulties for a philosopher, that he demands of himself a judgment, a Yes or No, not about the sciences but about life and the value of life—that he is reluctant to come to believe that he has a right, or even a duty, to such a judgment, and must seek his way to this right and faith only from the most comprehensive—perhaps most disturbing and destructive—experiences, and frequently hesitates, doubts, and lapses into science.

Indeed, the crowd has for a long time misjudged and mistaken the philosopher, whether for a scientific man and ideal scholar or for a religiously elevated, desensualized, "desecularized" enthusiast and sot of God. And if a man is praised today for living "wisely" or "as a philosopher," it hardly means more than "prudently and apart." Wisdom—seems to the rabble a kind of escape, a means and trick for getting well out of a wicked game. But the genuine philosopher—as it seems to us, my friends?—lives "unphilosophically" and "unwisely," above all imprudently, and feels the burden and the duty of a hundred attempts and temptations of life—he risks himself constantly, he plays the wicked game...

—Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (§205)

Postmodern Beatnik's Membership Status

Last seen: Aug 10, 2016 - 12:34 AM

Registration Date: Nov 18, 2005

Usergroup: Administrators

Topics Submitted: 26 topics

Total Posts: 4607 (1 per day)

Replies Received: 2

Shouts: 779

Total Time Online: 86 days, 0 hours and 12 minutes


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  • Postmodern Beatnik [Sep 4, 2013 - 9:53 PM]: Every ten years? The US invades a country at least every three years.
  • Postmodern Beatnik [Mar 9, 2013 - 9:10 PM]: Regarding your question, though, it looks like you want to have a thread on which you can complain about other members. That doesn't seem like a good idea.
  • Postmodern Beatnik [Mar 9, 2013 - 9:01 PM]: Wait. Isn't the real question whether or not philosophers ever agree?
  • Postmodern Beatnik [Feb 22, 2013 - 7:32 PM]: Dirac meant that as a criticism, but it seems to me he fails to understand poetry. The magniloquence of poetry recontextualizes the ordinary and makes it new again. In the words of Percy Bysshe Shelley: "Poetry lifts the veil from the hidden beauty of the world, and makes familiar objects be as if they were not familiar."
  • Postmodern Beatnik [Feb 22, 2013 - 7:29 PM]: "In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in the case of poetry, it's the exact opposite!" --Paul Dirac