Friday, July 28, 2006

Gevonden op!

Some distinguishing aspects of a Straussian approach to political philosophy:

(1) A return to treating old books seriously, reading them slowly and with an effort to understand them as their authors did, rather than as History does.

(2) A recognition of the political nature of philosophy, that most philosophers who wrote did so with a political purpose.

(3) A recognition that the greatest thinkers often wrote with both exoteric and esoteric teachings, either out of fear of persecution or a general desire to present their most important teachings to those most receptive to them. This leads to an attempt to discern the esoteric teachings of the great philosophers from the clues they left in their writings for careful readers to find.

(4) A recognition of the dangers that historicism, relativism, eclecticism, scientism, and nihilism pose to philosophy and to Western culture generally, and an effort to steer philosophy away from these devastating influences through a return to the seminal texts of Western thought.

(5) Careful attention paid to the dialogue throughout the development of Western culture between its two points of departure: Athens and Jerusalem. The recognition that Reason and Revelation, originating from these two points respectively, are the two distinct sources of knowledge in the Western tradition, and can be used neither to support nor refute the other, since neither claims to be based on the other's terms.

(6) A constant examination of the most drastic of philosophic distinctions: that between the Ancients and the Moderns. An attempt to better understand philosophers of every age in relation to this distinction, and to learn everything that we as moderns can learn about ourselves by studying both eras.

Ik ben het eens met punt 1, met punt 2, met punt 3... Maar dan punt 4! Ik wijk dus precies op de helft van de Straussiaanse methode af... Want ik zeg: filosofie "wegleiden" van de afgrond, dat wil zeggen van de waarheid, is de filosofie een dienstmaagd maken van de cultuur, dat wil zeggen, van de leugen... En dan punt 5! Athene en Jerusalem? Dat zijn inderdaad de uitgangspunten van de moderne Westerse cultuur... Maar de moderne Westerse cultuur is weinig waard. Ons - het Nietzscheaanse - uitgangspunt is precies die afgrond op de randen waarvan staande de lange benen van Athene en Jerusalem de moderne leugen hoog houden. Ons uitgangspunt is het Dionysische... De pillaar die Apollo aan de ene rand opricht is de Rede; het luchtkasteel dat aan de andere kant wordt gemaakt is de leap of faith. Wij willen deze beide benen in hun hart, in hun knieholte, treffen, zodat het geheel in de afgrond valt. Ware filosofie, de vader van de wetenschappen, bekritiseert en veroordeelt deze twee leugens. Wat overblijft is de Dionysische afgrond. En wat is deze Dionysische afgrond?

"And do you know what "the world" is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by "nothingness" as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a sphere that might be "empty" here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self-creating, the eternally self-destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptuous delight, my "beyond good and evil," without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself - do you want a name for this world? A solution for all its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men? - This world is the will to power - and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power - and nothing besides!" [Nietzsche, The Will to Power, sectio ultima.]


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