5 Aspects of the Great Philosopher

First, a philosopher must have his physical health. He must be strong. Wittgenstein was strong and his philosophy displays that strength. Nietzsche was weak and infirm and his body betrays portions of what he writes (he writes of what he would like to have been).
Second, a philosopher must have experience. He must have left his own country and lived in foreign lands. He must have had to struggle with daily concerns in new languages. He must have had to struggle with the simplest aspects of life, things he never considered while in his home country. He must have had varied jobs, both skilled and unskilled, and worked alongside many types of men.
Third, a philosopher should know extreme wealth and extreme poverty. Wittgenstein knew both and this knowledge is understated in any examination of his writing. It is also better to do philosophy when poor than when rich. But to do philosophy while poor and hoping to become rich will doom a man‘s thinking.
Fourth, a philosopher must have taken physical risks. He must have felt pain and been fearful. He must have had concerns about whether he would live or die. He must have been insecure. It is best to perform these physical risks when he is young and vital and naive. Wittgenstein received formative training in this area in the trenches of WWI. It resulted in the great insight in the Tractatus of “the mystical.”
Fifth, a philosopher must not be at a university. He must not receive acclaim from academic men or have a following. It is essential he not receive fame or money from doing his work. Ideally, a philosopher would do all his important work and then, just before his death, when he was no longer thinking clearly or doing philosophy, he would catch a momentary glimpse of fame. Because fame, the applause of lesser men, is also an experience worth knowing, though it has in all cases been destructive to active philosophers.

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