Philosophy Friday: Techistential Crisis Edition

Just as the worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realised by those who suffered from it, and understood by those who contemplated it, so, in the present state of things in England, the people who do most harm are the people who try to do most good;

The Soul of Man - Oscar Wilde


All great things bring about their own demise through an act of self-sublimation: that is the law of life, the law of necessary ‘self-overcoming’ in the essence of life, ­—the lawgiver himself is always ultimately exposed to the cry: ‘patere legem, quam ipse tulisti’ (Submit to the law you have yourself made.)

…it will finally draw the strongest conclusion, that against itself; this will, however, happen when it asks itself, ‘What does all will to truth mean?’

On the Genealogy of Morals (Diethe translation) – Friedrich Nietzsche


Despair differs dialectically from what one usually calls sickness, because it is a sickness of the spirit.…If at any time a physician is convinced that so and so is in good health, and then later that person becomes ill, then the physician may well be right about his having been well at the time but now being sick. Not so with despair. Once despair appears, what is apparent is that the person was in despair…. For when whatever causes a person to despair occurs, it is immediately evident that he has been in despair his whole life.

The Sickness unto Death – Søren Kierkegaard (The translation here, by Kaufman, differs from what’s present on this website.)

And finally, on Socrates’ “old quarrel between philosophy and poetry”

The poets have been characterized as making claims to truth, to telling it like it is, that are in fact—contrary to appearances—little more than the poet's unargued imaginative projections whose tenability is established by their ability to command the applause of the audience. That is, the poets are rhetoricians who are, as it were, selling their products to as large a market as possible, in the hope of gaining repute and influence.

The suggestion is arguably that the poets are makers…that they move in a world permeated by making. The word “poetry” in Platonic Greek comes from the word “to make” (poiein), a fact upon which Socrates remarks in the Symposium. Making takes place in and contributes to the world of becoming. Philosophers, by contrast, are presented as committed to the pursuit of truth that is already “out there,” independently of the mind and the world of becoming. Their effort has to do with discovery rather than making…the distinction suggests an interesting possibility, viz. that the quarrel between poetry and philosophy is finally, in Plato's eyes, about the relative priority of making and discovery.

Charles L. Griswold -

I’ll leave the connections between these quotes and present day technology as an exercise to the reader.