The Last Philosophers

These aphorisms are dedicated to the great quitters of Denver, Colorado, USA. May these men use their newfound freedom for strength.

“Science rushes headlong, without selectivity, without “taste,” at whatever is knowable, in the blind desire to know all at any cost. Philosophic thinking, on the other hand, is ever on the scent of those things which are most worth knowing, the great and important insights.”--Nietzsche, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks

100. The mists are gathering. The gods thought to have long ago perished are in slow return. To guide man’s return back into the darkness of myth, that is the proper task of philosophy today. To prepare him properly for the experience of the divine.

101. The first philosophers looked out from the mist; the last philosophers will be forced to look back into it. It will require the courage of new eyes, eyes that do not turn away or shut when confronted by great suffering and madness; eyes ever open to protect what is reasonable in man from being overrun. And out of this darkness, should man emerge, may these last philosophers have shown him how to live: neither strictly the subject of gods nor strictly the subject of Reason and technology.

103. To see as the first philosopher saw, standing at the threshold of myth and reason, so will the last philosopher. But while the first philosopher envisioned Reason from the vantage point of myth, the last philosopher will grasp myth from the vantage point of Reason.

109. Philosophy was born of myth, but then turned back upon myth and annihilated it. The mythical origins of Reason have today been fully covered over. Reason is believed to be man’s discovery. The gods are silent and withdrawn. The philosopher, like the scientist, no longer listens for them. The gods, despite their power, could not be protected from man.

113. Philosophy’s task, though deeply misunderstood, was to protect the gods from men. In this it failed, with philosophy being progressively drawn towards the scientific and its model of inquiry and explanation. The mythical, for which there is no explanation, was thereby rejected. Scientific successes further confirmed this rejection. Philosophy now sits alongside science and models itself upon it, instead of being that which mediates between science and myth.

119. It began with Plato and the ejection of the tragic poets from the city. He argued the ideal city is one that does not call for the gods through the ritual of tragedy. Indeed, the tragic poet was made an enemy of the State. Yet one day, when Reason has wrecked itself and the godless cities are in disarray, is it not inconceivable to imagine that the task of a new sort of philosopher will be to protect science and Reason from the gods.

125. Philosophy appeared to the Greeks at a time of strength and maturity and health. Philosophy (as that which mediates between Reason and the gods) will now reappear during an epoch of weakness. Who among today’s men is strong enough to hear the god’s call? To understand it? The philosopher is rightly the oracle of the gods.

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