A Philosopher’s Life


Arthur Schopenhauer, when he wrote The World as Will and Representation

There is a revival of interest in 19th century philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, thanks to Bernardo Kastrup. Sometimes it takes a century or two for a philosopher scribbling in solitude to be fully heard and absorbed. But today, I would like to remind everyone that a philosopher’s life has all the marks of every creative artist. I am thinking of philosophers outside the Academy: Lao-Tzu, Giordano Bruno, Spinoza, Nietzsche, Rousseau…even Bertrand Russell.

Do they suffer in their solitude? What constitutes the mystery of the philosopher’s life?

In an answer to that question, Gilles Deleuze writes movingly of Spinoza’s life: I

The philosopher appropriates the ascetic virtues–humility, poverty, chastity–and makes them serve ends completely his own, extraordinary ends that are not ascetic at all, in fact. He makes them the expression of his singularity. They are not moral ends in his case, or religious means to another life, but rather the “effects” of philosophy itself. For there is absolutely no other life for the philosopher. Humility, poverty, and chastity become the effects of an especially rich and superabundant life, sufficiently powerful to have conquered thought and subordinated every other instinct to itself…the full meaning of the philosopher’s solitude becomes apparent. For he cannot integrate into any milieu; he is not suitable to any of them…the best society will be one that exempts the power of thinking from the obligation to obey, and takes care, in its own interest, not to subject thought to the rule of the state…The philosopher can reside in various states, he can frequent various milieus, but he does so in the manner of a hermit, a shadow, a traveler or boarding house lodger.

Gilles Deleuze, Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, pages 3-4

Most of us have sacrificed for others in our own ways. And most of have compromised along the way for the same reasons. Yet one can’t help but admire the heroic nature of those who have toiled in obscurity and ridicule, persecution, exile, and execution, for the sake of what? Truth?

3 thoughts on “A Philosopher’s Life

  1. When I was 20yrs old I studied under my Palomar Junior College Teacher in San Marcos,Ca retired NASA weldor,a man who authored welding books in Tig,Mig,Oxy Acetylene&Flux Core welding.He perfected the the weld on the Titan Missle an the weld on The moon Aircraft so when it moved in space the welds would net crack.I started welding in High School at 17yrs old.Then went to Jr College,to become the best welder I could be.I’m 50yrs old n I love the YouTube videos of Richard Louis Proenneke.He was a American self educated naturalist,consevationist,writer&wildlife photographer.He was 53yr old weldor,mechanic,construction worker former military.Who injured his eye working with hot metal.He put in his mind to appreciate all the eye could see.So he moved to Twin Lakes Alaska by himself.Built himself a lot cabin with his bare hands.Lived off the land,fished trout,became a avid hiker n writer of everything he did for 30yrs in the Forrest living alone in solitude,while feeding birds from his hands.To this day his log cabin is as a National Monument in Alaska.He later moved to California to live with his brother in California passed away at the age of 87 in 2003 in Hemet,Ca.I would of loved if my step father a Jewish attorney or my birth father a Christian minister n sax player,former printer n truck driver would of taught me how to live like Richard Louis Proenneke rather then follow after this ungodly National Educational System n Babylonian&Egyptian banking system which all teaches that worshiping the shovel IS THE WAY OF LIFE.Equal to punching in a time clock or getting paid salary.

  2. Many times I’d find myself burning time in the library in college waiting for my next class at 20yrs old I to had sinful fleshly desires to surpass my teachers in Knowlege,Reason,Wisdom,Understanding n to study to Philosophy,the books were ther in the library for the taking.When I was at work,home,church,walking,golfing,surfing.I sought to know n Understand.Id ask the Lord in my prayers,Jesus should i study Philosophy with the Bible?The Lord gave me strong conviction not to.One day while reading the BIBLE I came across the writer Aposlte Paul in the book of Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any men spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit,after tradition of men,after the rudiments of the world,and not after Christ.

  3. I view philosophy as an unstable blend of artistic vision and rigorous intellectual thought. It is a way of life that begins by questioning our deepest assumptions about reality. It ends, at least for individual philosophers, with a kind of beatific vision of reality. There have been, throughput the ages, Christian philosophers, Buddhist philosophers, Taoist philosophers, Jewish philosopher, theistic and atheistic philosophers. What binds them together is the same obsession with the truth, and even, perhaps, wisdom

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