March 23, 2018

Just a quick note: I recently posted a long summary of and commentary on Georg Lukacs' masterpiece The Destruction of Reason, which has been absurdly--though not surprisingly, given the quality of the West's intellectual culture--neglected and virtually forgotten by everyone except Lukacs scholars. It describes the path to Hitler in the realm of culture, particularly philosophy,...

November 20, 2016

[From 2008.] Reading Oliver Sacks’s Awakenings, which is about his experiences with post-encephalitic, Parkinsonian patients. It’s a good book, full of good thoughts and superb writing. Sacks emphasizes, as against his colleagues, that Parkinson’s disease is an existential rather than a purely neurological illness. It affects the whole being and not just the body; it is holistic...

November 8, 2015

[Some notes I took a while ago. They may be kind of obvious, but I think it’s interesting to adopt something like Hegel’s perspective on himself and on other modern thinkers, and to use this to explain why they’ve resonated so much.]

Descartes had world-historical significance insofar as he was the most perfect manifestation of modernity’s impulse to reject the past and begin anew...

July 13, 2015

[This is another book-excerpt, a negatively charged one this time.]

Nietzsche’s self-appointed task of “revaluating values” isn’t difficult. It requires only a slightly independent mind to see the silliness of conventional wisdom. For example, to be “successful” typically means to obey, to follow institutional norms slavishly, not to have moral and intellectual integrity or to be...

June 22, 2015

(This is the sequel to the blog post "From the Greeks to the Enlightenment." From my book Finding Our Compass.) 

Nietzsche ridiculed the Socratic equation “reason = virtue = happiness,” calling it “weird” and decadent, but in fact one can consider Nietzsche’s ridicule itself to be weird and decadent. It is of a piece with his inability to see the value of the altruistic Christian...

February 25, 2015

The best way to think about the human task of living is that it should be, as Nietzsche said, a continual journey of self-overcoming. The project should be that embodied in the great religions’ concepts of salvation or nirvana: to overcome particularity, to wash out the blemishes of self-fixated particularity. That is, to fuse the particular, i.e. oneself, with the universal, by...

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