« May 2009 | Main | August 2009 »

June 30, 2009

pascal's hair-shirt

Who in modern times has been used so much by parsons and professors as Pascal? His ideas are appropriated – but Pascal’s asceticism and his hair-shirt are omitted; or else they are explained away as the hallmark of his day which no longer concerns us. Brilliant! Pascal was original in every other respect-only not in this. But was asceticism really so general in his day, or had it not been done away with long ago, so that it was for Pascal to reassert its rights in face of the whole age? Everywhere it is the same; everywhere that infamous and disgusting cannibalism whereby (just as Heliogabalus ate ostrich brains) men eat the ideas, opinions, expressions, and moods of the dead – but as for their lives and characters; no thank you, they will have none of that.


Posted by amin at 10:20 AM

June 10, 2009


My soul, sit thou a patient looker-on;
Judge not the play before the play is done:
Her plot hath many changes; every day
Speaks a new scene; the last act crowns the play.

Francis Quarles

Posted by amin at 11:15 PM

June 9, 2009

the idea of a philosophy

What philosophy is as such cannot be answered immediately. If it were so easy to agree about a definite concept of philosophy, one would only need to analyze this concept to see oneself at once in possession of a philosophy of universal validity. The point is this: philosophy is not something with which our mind, without its own agency, is originally and by nature imbued. It is throughout a work of freedom. It is for each only what he has himself made it; and therefore the idea of a philosophy [is] only the result of philosophy itself; a universally valid philosophy, however, [is] a vainglorious figment of the imagination.


Posted by amin at 6:53 PM

wonder and doubt

It is a positive starting point for philosophy when Aristotle says that philosophy begins with wonder, not as in our day with doubt. Moreover the world will learn that the thing is not to begin with the negative, and the reason why it has succeeded up to the present is that it has never really given itself over to the negative, and so has never seriously done what it said. Its doubt is mere child's play.

Kierkegaard - Journals

Posted by amin at 1:47 PM

June 8, 2009

the pathos of intellectual life

The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life, and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo.

Kierkegaard - Journals

Posted by amin at 10:37 AM

June 4, 2009

the sadness of the deepest happiness

I would consider the foremost musician to be the one who knew only the sadness of the deepest happiness, and no other sadness at all; there has never been such a musician.

Nietzsche - Gay Science

Posted by amin at 10:52 PM

the citizen

The Lacedaemonian Pedaretus runs for the council of three hundred. He is defeated. He goes home delighted that there were three hundred man worthier than he to be found in Sparta. I take this display to be sincere, and there is reason to believe that it was. This is the citizen.

A Spartan woman had five sons in the army and was awaiting news of the battle. A Helot arrives; trembling, she asks him for the news. "Your five sons were killed." "Base slave, did I ask you that?" "We won the victory." The mother runs to the temple and gives thanks to the gods. This is the female citizen.

Rousseau - Emile

Posted by amin at 9:22 AM