Dagny Taggart Answers Kant

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Fri, 2006-09-01 00:13

Anyone remember the passage below from Atlas Shrugged?

We are in the train's cab at the opening of the John Galt Line.

The vast train, with it's long tail of boxcars, the pounding violence of its sixteen motors -- the thrust of seven-thousand tons of steel and freight thundering along at over one-hundred miles per hour like "a great silver bullet" through great cities and along narrow mountain trails -- the train held above the precipice by just two strips of green-blue metal strung in a curve along a narrow rock shelf, strips of metal no wider than a woman's arm -- and in the cab, looking out at the world with only two vast sheets of glass for protection, a woman; the woman whose brain and whose energy had between them built the track:

"She looked ahead, at the haze that melted rail and distance, a haze that could rip apart at any moment to some shape of disaster. She wondered why she felt safer than she had ever felt in a car behind the engine, safer here, where it seemed as if, should an obstacle rise, her breast and the glass shield would be first to smash against it.
"She smiled, grasping the answer: it was the security of being first with full sight and full knowledge of one's course-not the blind sense of being pulled into the unknown by some unknown power ahead. It was the greatest sensation of existence: not to trust, but to know."

"Not to trust, but to know." To know, as Aristotle says, "down to the root." To know in spite of all the whiners and doubters who insisted she couldn't possibly know. Not to trust, but to know. That, my friends, is what it really is "to know." To know, and to literally bet your life on knowing: what could be more heroic.

Well, here's something less heroic: to praise Immanuel Kant, the patron saint of the un-knowing, as some kind of proto-Objectivist. That, my friends, is much less than heroic. Very, very much less.

To praise as a proto-Objectivist the philosopher who "defended reason" only in order to bury it. The "All=Pulveriser" who severed knowledge from anything we might have knowledge of. The "spider" of Konigsberg who suggested that knowledge of "a thing in itself" is not possible, not at all, but if we can manage to "imagine" such knowledge of such a thing (such an unknowable thing) we might somehow let it serve some sort of "heuristic function," as some sort of "useful fiction" to shape our thoughts, mould our concepts and guide our actions.

Can you imagine the John Galt Line built on such a premise?

What a load of life-hating, knowledge-despising, certainty-destroying, jargon-peddling tosh.

Let me just for a moment quote neurologist Robert Efron on the nature of such a "heuristic function" as an explanation for anything:

"... the acceptance of an explanatory concept based on faith causes disastrous epistemological consequences because it inverts the very purpose of an explanation. The epistemological role of an explanation is to account for some aspect of reality which we do not understand on the basis of concepts which have already been validated. An explanation based upon arbitrary assertions represents an attempt to account for some aspect of reality by using concepts which have not been validated. A rational scientist relies on man's knowledge: He accounts for the unexplained in terms of the known. The mystical scientist relies on man's ignorance: He tries to account for the unexplained in terms of the unknown. To attempt to "explain" a phenomenon by means of the unknown severs epistemology from reality: The thinking is not anchored in fact."

So much for so much of all the post-modernist verbage, which is a living testament to the idea of explaining the known in terms of the unknown (or even the unknowable). And so much also for the claim that the "heuristic function" of the "thing-in-itself" retains some kind of tie to reality. "To attempt to 'explain' a phenomenon by means of the unknown severs epistemology from reality: The thinking is not anchored in fact." And so it does.

Imagine just for a minute what such a theory might do? It severs us from what we do know and do value and do love. And it basically says that reality may be played aces wild; that we may "make trial" to see if "objects conform to our knowledge" rather than the reverse; that we should "limit knowledge" in order to make room for whatever-the-hell we like. This, according to Kant, should be done in the name of what he calls "reason" -- or to be more accurate, in the name of reason-as-he-innacurately-describes-it.

Okay, but let's just for a minute go 'aces wild' as the "All-Pulveriser" suggests; let me, as I've been invited to more than once by one of the apostles of the sainted Kant, "imagine anything I please" about such a "thing-in-itself," about a thing that might provide such a "heuristic function." How about this: how about a quack and a charlatan; how about an overweight, untenured philosophy professor pulling down "the big bread" but still desperate to make a permanent niche for himself, to find a "comfortable berth" inside academia by peddling some nonsense so unique to himself that he can be all but certain to have the field to himself-- after all, what more comfortable a berth or uninhabited a niche as a so-called 'Objectivist' who praises Kant.

Is that a useful "heuristic function" do you think? Imagining someone who can twist and turn and lay red herrings with the best of them, but in the end is just another quack selling another brand of snake oil, and with a very sour-smelling promotional technique. How about that for something I can imagine but not know?

So much for the charlatan. And so much for any claim that Kant's system provides any tie to reality.

Let's go back to that glorious train journey. What sort of person would embark on any journey, let alone the exhilarating journey Rand so wonderfully describes, if the knowledge of what keeps you safe is just an imaginary "heuristic function" that is only a "guide" to action? Without knowledge "down to the root," what planning can take place; what design-work could proceed; what joy in certainty could be celebrated?

If you can imagine anyone embarking on the inaugural journey of the John Galt Line with anything less than full, contextual certainty of their safety and comfort, then you'd have to be either a quack or a charlatan, or on your way into the Taggart Tunnel with only a coal-burner for motive power. Or you'd have to be Immanuel Kant.

I suspect that was Ayn Rand's point in writing this wonderful passage. This is what great art can do. In eleven pages of great literature Rand demolishes the entire creaky, cobwebbed, dilapidated structure of Kant's Critique of Pure Unreason, and against it she places the description of a wild ride thrown in the face of all he doubters and in the full, sunlit certainty of success, and against it too the image of a gleaming, elegant structure of a bridge made of Rearden Metal.

I suspect she knew exactly what she was doing when she wrote that. It does bear frequent re-reading.


( categories: )

Melody

jeffrey smith's picture

I didn't realize you meant singability, and I would not rank that first as a quality of melodies. I adore "A-Train," which is hardly singable. (Though it has lyrics, etc.)

Actually, my own preference is for emotional expressiveness as the element most important in evaluating. But the word itself derives from a Greek word that is linked to the concept of singing (although the word itself more precisely corresponds to "chanting"), and when European music began developing in the late Middle Ages, one of the "requirements" was that a melody be singable--ideally, moving stepwise. A leap from A to F was Not A Good Thing; but moving from A to F through the individual tones between them was very acceptable. And then composers began playing around with the possibility of moving more than one tone-step at a time, and the rest is history.

Olivia

jeffrey smith's picture

Forced pomp and grandeur without any context... or build, and no melody. Nothing irritates my soul more.

Which is why "highlights" and "great moments" can be very misleading. By itself, you are absolutely correct about the Ride: no doubt that's why it's the one bit of opera that heavy metal fans delight in.

But in context, as the opening of Act III, with the Valkyries onstage and singing, it's far more: it shows us the sisterhood and the world of the gods that Brunnhilde is about to be ostracized from because she acted compassionately towards two mere humans, instead of the steel hearted almost soulless goddess she was expected to be.

Tchaikovsky on Wagner

jeffrey smith's picture

He was certainly correct about the endlessly long monologues (that's one of the things that I was thinking of when I said Wagner suffered from not having a good editor). But I disagree with him about the non-humanized characters in the operas--although those monologues don't help. Amfortas and Kundry especially: Amfortas impaling himself on guilt because the realm which he is supposed to keep prosperous has been ruined by his own actions; Kundry forced to repeat again and again the role of temptress, knowing that the only way to end her punishment is to fail at it. Parsifal is less obvious because he's more passive, but the whole point of the story is that through experience he comes to understand other people: the young fool at the beginning of the opera who doesn't understand what is going on or what Amfortas is bewailing wanders through the world until he gains enough experience to understand what he didn't understand at the start.
Klingsor is the man who is rejected by the Knights and thereby becomes motivated to destroy them. Gurnemanz is the only major role in the opera that isn't a character like this: he's mostly a mechanism to tell the back story and move the plot along, and it's no co-incidence that much of the monologuing belongs to him.

But to tell the truth, had Pyotr Ilyich picked Tristan as his example, I would be in agreement with him. God, the characters in that opera do nothing except "talk". Even when they are making wild passionate love, what they really do is talk at each other all night long. And in the end all Isolde can do is to literally sing herself to death.

He was also right that Wagner did a Procrustean act to fit his music on the rack of his theory on occasion--but I don't think it actually damaged his music irretrievably. It did allow him to sharpen his creative focus, and it did prompt him to break the mold of opera as a succession of numbers with musical breaks between them, which allowed Verdi the freedom to use the new form in Otello and Falstaff. Especially Falstaff--and after that of course verismo and Puccini on the one hand, and Richard Strauss on the other hand.

But it is odd that Tchaikovsky downgraded the dramatic potential of ballet, considering that the dramatis personae of his ballets (especially Swan Lake) are truly three dimensional characters.

(And thank you for the compliment, but you needn't risk the Wrath of Perigo on my account!)

Tchaikovsky

Ptgymatic's picture

may be absolutely right about Wagner's failing. I have to demur on one point, though. That is that a theory must be stultifying of creativity. Any dogmatic standards would do that, but the theory that represents one's own insight would sharpen the artist's focus in each new context. I'm sure that sort of thing is not what Tchaikovsky was thinking of, I just wanted to make the point to avoid possible confusion about knowledge and creativity.

I find Jeffrey well worth reading.

Mindy

Jeffrey,

Ptgymatic's picture

Thanks, but I doubt I "know" more about music than you. I've been immersed in music from childhood, which is a treasure, and I've had the chance to study theory some, and to have some excellent coaching and conductors...but your knowledge of the history, categories, and, probably, theories of music is undoubtedly far superior.

I agree that musicological knowledge can enhance one's enjoyment. It can add abstractions such as how the orchestration varies from the standard, but those things are always going to be contextual, and do not add to the aesthetic value of the piece.

I didn't realize you meant singability, and I would not rank that first as a quality of melodies. I adore "A-Train," which is hardly singable. (Though it has lyrics, etc.)

Mindy

Yes...

Olivia's picture

He aims at grandeur and passion, but he doesn't know how to build to it musically. That makes his arrival there an expression of hysterics more than of heroics.

I wouldn't have thought to put it like that, but that is exactly what I HATE about Ride of the Valkyries.
Forced pomp and grandeur without any context... or build, and no melody. Nothing irritates my soul more.

Mindy ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I think Tchaikovsky put it best:

I have always had the impression that those Wagnerians who are not professional musicians affect an enthusiasm which in their heart of hearts they do not really feel. Wagner, as I see it, killed his tremendous creative power through theory. Every preconceived theory cools one's spontaneous creative feeling. Could Wagner give himself up to such a feeling any longer after he had grasped through reason some sort of peculiar theory of music drama and musical truth, and after he had voluntarily renounced, for the sake of this alleged truth, all that constituted the strength and beauty of his predecessors' music?! If in an opera the singers don't sing, but merely utter, accompanied by deafening thunder from the orchestra, various hastily grafted-on, colourless successions of notes against a background of a splendid, but incoherent and formless symphony, what kind of opera can that possibly be?! However, what really astonishes me is the earnestness with which this over-philosophizing German illustrates by means of music the most incredibly stupid subjects. I mean, who could possibly be moved by the plot of Parsifal, where, instead of people with temperaments and feelings that we are familiar with, we are shown various fairytale figures who might perhaps be suitable for embellishing the content of a ballet, but never that of a drama? I am surprised that anyone can listen, without succumbing to laughter, or rather to boredom, to these figures' endlessly long monologues about the various spells from which all these Kundrys, Parsifals, etc. are suffering!!! I mean, is it possible to empathize with them, to be filled with heartfelt sympathy for them, to love and hate them? Of course not—because their sufferings, feelings, triumphs or failures are utterly alien to us. And what is alien to the human heart cannot be the source of musical inspiration.

And I wouldn't worry too much about Sister Jeffrina. LDS, you know. Seems to be deteriorating. Eye

Mindy

jeffrey smith's picture

(Even though I think you were referring to Linz there.)

I certainly was. It's hard for me to conceive of any person who loves opera and music to find Wagner bombastic. Maybe that is just an measure of how much I like him. (His librettos, on the other hand, suffer from the fact that he wrote them himself; he really needed a good editor who wouldn't be afraid of making him cut out the flab. If you want to call them bombastic and pretentious, I won't object.) And I find that his music does express heroic feeling, not just hysterics. I didn't expect the reaction you have to his music--and, btw, I'm pretty sure your musical background is probably much better than mine. Obviously, it's a case of Your Mileage Does Vary (which concept Mr. Perigo seems to have a hard time understanding).

Musicology doesn't count. Whether or not Wagner facilitated others' creativity is irrelevant to the value of his music to a listener.

I didn't mean to come off sounding pretentious; sorry for that. You are right, of course: one can enjoy music and art without knowing a thing about it. But I've always found that the more I know, the more I enjoy it. And wanting to know about the music I'm hearing seems a natural extension of enjoying it. So musicology isn't necessary, but it sure enhances the experience.
And when a certain person sets himself up as the universal arbiter of taste, one would expect him to have some knowledge of the musicology involved--to be aware, for instance, of the fact that Wagner's musical language laid the foundations for Rachmaninov's, and almost all composers who came after Wagner, and without that factor Rachmaninov's works would be much less KASS without them. And one can still not really like Wagner, and yet be aware of what he meant for those that came after him. I don't particularly care for Bruckner, yet I can appreciate the influence he had on later composers, starting with Mahler but not ending there. (It's my personal belief that the modern film score is directly descended from Bruckner; much of his music sounds like a film score in search of a film. The Sixth, in particular, sounds to me in parts to be a rejected version of the score to Lawrence of Arabia.) Yet instead the would be universal arbiter comes across like an enthusiast who knows nothing about the music he listens to, beyond the fact that he knows what he likes and likes what he knows. I don't object to him being enthusiastic about music; I merely object to his apparent belief that his taste in music and the arts should be the standard for the rest of us, and to his spouting off like a man who knows much when in fact he knows much of nothing. Had he written things like "this is great music, and I can't help but want to share it with you" I would not have a problem with him. But instead we get "this is great music, and you are pomowanking morons if you don't agree", which I do have a problem with.

However, enough ranting about Mr. Perigo.....

Is there superficial melody and profound melody? I mean, besides good and poor?
I suppose that depends on your criteria. Do you consider singability more important than emotional content, or vice versa? If the latter, profound = good.

Merely listening to music...

Ptgymatic's picture

...is not enough? I disagree. (Even though I think you were referring to Linz there.)

Is there superficial melody and profound melody? I mean, besides good and poor?

I think your aesthetics are bordering on the pretentious, Jeffrey. There is nothing more fundamental in consuming, evaluating, or criticizing art than the individual's artistic response. Listening to music, and looking at paintings, etc. IS what it is all about. Musicology doesn't count. Whether or not Wagner facilitated others' creativity is irrelevant to the value of his music to a listener.

Wagner is bombastic because he commits the musical version of jumping to a conclusion. He aims at grandeur and passion, but he doesn't know how to build to it musically. That makes his arrival there an expression of hysterics more than of heroics. That is more mild a criticism than I really want to make, because it implies that his expression, at its emotional peak, is indeed an expression of heroic feeling, which it is not.

Mindy

Marcus (re Wagner the Writer)

jeffrey smith's picture

Actually, on a serious note, I would love it if someone like Peter (who promised me to do so about a year ago already) would write an article refuting such allegations.

Unfortunately they can't be totally refuted. He was an open anti-Semite, and his example helped make anti-Semitism respectable. We could hope that he would have no part of the Nazi regime if he were alive, and it would reasonable to think he would, based on what he did do and say in his own lifetime; but on the other hand, if Hitler had offered him unlimited resources to compose and have performed his "operas of the future", he probably would have gladly taken the bait. His family, after all, were very public and prominent supporters of the regime.

But perhaps we should remember the observation made by Bruce Montgomery (writing as Edmund Crispin) in one of the Prof. Fen novels, Swan Song: that one had to wonder why the Nazis made so much of Wagner's operas, considering that the whole premise of the Ring cycle was that not even the gods could get away with breaking a promise.

And there was Bernstein's comment about Wagner--that he hated him on bended knee.

Unfortunately for him, and for us, it was a period of unprecedented obscurity in the writings of those thinkers with the highest public prestige, an obscurity that has not even to this day been surpassed. I am thinking not only of Hegel, Schelling and Fichte, but perhaps also - even if unfairly - Kant. Among philosophers since them who have been worth reading the only one to be in the same class for obscurity is Heidigger."

What makes this odder is that Wagner's favorite philosopher ended up being Schopenhauer, the one German philosopher of that era who had what we would call an excellent prose style, and who despised the neoKantians exactly because they wrote in such a pompous and obscure style simply to impress the laity and get good jobs. Of course it helped that he was independently wealthy, that his initial education was oriented to business, that when he started university studies he entered the faculty of medicine (although he didn't stay there), and his attempts to establish an academic career ended up as nothings. (Although he did remain a faithful follower of Kant.)

(And of course, towards the end of his life there was the relationship with Nietzsche, who was of course a pretty good writer himself.)

Mindy

jeffrey smith's picture

I expected better than that from you.

portentous, meretricious bombast

The original speaker is projecting here. No surprise there.

And we all know Rand's/Halley's Concerto of Deliverance was an invocation of the Rach 3, something of which Wagner would have been utterly incapable.

Actually, he was quite capable of them; and all the late Romantics, including Rachmaninov, could not have composed as they did had it not been for what Wagner did.

Of course, someone who merely listens to music for the sake of KASS inducing outbreaks of superficial melody can't be expected to understand that...

...meretricious bombast.

Ptgymatic's picture

I second that.

Profiles in Courage

seddon's picture

If only J. F. K were alive today to read and give thanks for this post. I have never encountered such courage. A medal should be cast for all the brave participants and it would read in part:
1. For the fortitude to attack Immanuel Kant on an Objectivist web site. (If that isn't KASS I don't know what KASS is)
2. For the audacious use of the ad hominem attack despite its well known fallacious nature.
3. For the intrepid disrespecting of those who might read and have a different interpretation of Kant.

Gentleman, I stand in awe.

Fred

The spider and his web

Leonid's picture

"The "spider" of Konigsberg who suggested that knowledge of "a thing in itself" is not possible, not at all, but if we can manage to "imagine" such knowledge of such a thing (such an unknowable thing) we might somehow let it serve some sort of "heuristic function," as some sort of "useful fiction" to shape our thoughts, mould our concepts and guide our actions."

The spider of Konigsberg became a heritage of Kaliningrad. What a poetic and historical justice! However, his web covers whole world. It's pity that no Objectivist philosopher ever wrote any book of comprehensive critique of Kant's philosophy. The only reason and excuse for this failure is that it takes a lot of endurance to go through drudgery of reading Kant's convoluted opaque ambiguous writings. And when you finally done, you fill the unbridled urge to wash your eyes and mind.

The Concerto of Deliverance

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You listen to Wagner because his music sets your very soul on fire;

I don't, & it doesn't. It's portentous, meretricious bombast.

because his music is a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding

And we all know Rand's/Halley's Concerto of Deliverance was an invocation of the Rach 3, something of which Wagner would have been utterly incapable.

"Rather fond" of Wagner's occasional outbreaks of melodiousness is the best I can manage, & all that he deserves.

Isn't it obvious?

Marcus's picture

"Linz, at some point you really must explain to me in detail why you hate Wagner so much."

Anyone who is fanatical about Wagner or his music must be a "bit of a NAZI"
Smiling

Actually, on a serious note, I would love it if someone like Peter (who promised me to do so about a year ago already) would write an article refuting such allegations.

FOND!!! Sheesh.

Peter Cresswell's picture

"Fond"? "FOND"? What do you mean "FOND"?

Do you have no fire coursing through your veins, boy?!? One doesn't listen to Wagner just because one is rather "fond" of his tunes!!! What sort of KASS-less madness is that!!

You listen to Wagner because his music sets your very soul on fire; because his music is a sunburst of sound, breaking out of hiding and spreading open. It has the freedom of release and the tension of purpose. It sweeps space clean, and leaves nothing but the joy of an unobstructed effort. Only a faint echo within the sounds speak of that from which the music has escaped, but spoken in laughing astonishment at the discovery that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It is the music of an immense deliverance*.

Its spell-binding release and the scale, ingenuity and sheer overwhelming integration of it all are on their own are almost a single-handed refutation of Kant's pathetic and destructive anti-system (to bring us back to the topic at hand) -- it's just that the scene with Dagny above is much easier to write out. Smiling

And with all that, you say you're just "rather fond" of his tunes. [Shakes head and walks away.]

;^)

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

* Recognise from whence that came, did you?

* * * *

'NOT PC.'
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Foiled Again...

JoeM's picture

"...There are times when I am too."

Damn it, Linz, there goes my blackmail material.

John

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Whore.

Linz

jtgagnon's picture

Rubbish.

Oh ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

There are times when I am too. But I like winding the Irishman up. Smiling

BTW, this doesn't qualify for what we discussed on Skype. Smiling

Hmmph

jtgagnon's picture

Linz, at some point you really must explain to me in detail why you hate Wagner so much. I must admit, there are times when I am rather fond of his music.

Not a writer ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... nor a composer.

Not a writer

Peter Cresswell's picture

Wagner wasn't a writer, as his writings so perfectly attest.

But they did bring him commissions, and patronage, and money -- and they helped him to form his own theories on music.

But he wasn't a writer.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
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Yes!!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It is ponderous and slightly pompous; but the worst thing is that its assertions are indirect and abstract to the point of vagueness, so that it is difficult to know what the point of it all is. And when the point does emerge it tends to be as a shadow in the middle of a six-page long cloud.

Just like his effing music! Smiling

"To praise as a proto-Objectivist the philosopher...

Marcus's picture

...who "defended reason" only in order to bury it."

Thanks Peter, that was a great article. Spot on. This passage quoted above is quite poignant in light of something I have just read.

It is from a book on "Wagner and Philosophy" written by an author who has been a philosophy professor and is a fan of Wagner's music. It made me laugh out loud so much that I almost fell off my chair (trust me Kant is eventually mentioned).

"Writing that is incomprehensible or near-incomprehensible and yet impresses readers has spread like a toxic fungus across Western culture since Fichte, Schelling and Hegel were the first philosophers of note to make cynical use of it. All three of those philosophers had important things to say, but all three were highly manipulative in their attitude to their readers, and most of their epigones have shared their manipulativeness without possessing anything like their genius. In the twentieth century such writing has been particularly widespread since the Second World War. It aims, usually, at two main objects: one is to give the impression that because what is being said is so difficult to understand that it must be profound, the other is to cast an incantatory spell over the reader so that he feels in some way hypnotized by what he is reading. Characteristically, the two combine to leave the reader spellbound by what he has read and yet unable to explain to anyone what it says. In our time the exploitation of this kind of charlatanry has become stock in trade of whole departments of academe. It is a deep and bitter irony that some of the worst hit departments of all are departments of literary studies. There are some in which no one writes directly or openly: they are all hiding behind approved jargons, hoping to conceal the unremarkableness of what they have to say by clothing it in either inflammatory rhetoric or a professional idiom that only the initiated can penetrate...

[Wagner's] style, always that of a self-conscious intellectual writing for other intellectuals, is an unconscious example of collective self-importance. It is ponderous and slightly pompous; but the worst thing is that its assertions are indirect and abstract to the point of vagueness, so that it is difficult to know what the point of it all is. And when the point does emerge, it tends to be as a shadow in the middle of a six-page long cloud. Scarcely ever is it made in the way that can be seen clearly in isolation, and cited clearly out of its long context. I can think scarcely of any other writer who is so little conducive to quotation - which is why I cite his words so rarely. One starts to read, and for three or four paragraphs one finds oneself thinking: "Where's all this going - what is he trying to say?" And then only gradually does one begin to see the drift of the argument, and realize what the point is. But sometimes there is no point: Wagner is just clearing his throat, preparatory to saying something...One should not, in one's exasperation, make one's accusations against Wagner too personal, and start reading things into them about his character: he was, after all, only writing in the way most authors, academics and journalists wrote in the Germany of his day...He wrote unthinkingly in the way run-of-the-mill intellectuals wrote at that time. It is an act of unconsidered imitation. This, he assumed, was how you wrote if you were serious-minded and clever. Unfortunately for him, and for us, it was a period of unprecedented obscurity in the writings of those thinkers with the highest public prestige, an obscurity that has not even to this day been surpassed. I am thinking not only of Hegel, Schelling and Fichte, but perhaps also - even if unfairly - Kant. Among philosophers since them who have been worth reading the only one to be in the same class for obscurity is Heidigger."

So, take care and don't be browbeaten by the writings of proto-Objectivists, Kant, Wagner and his ilk. If it is obscure and incomprehensible - it is probably just pretentious and smelly flatulence not worth trying to understand. Employing that style is just another case of the "Emperors new clothes fallacy" - someone trying to imitate value, who actually has none to offer.

Very good essay, PC

Lindsay Perigo's picture

KASS to the max! I won't sticky it just at the moment 'cos there's so much Kant stickied already.

I don't recall the earlier formatting problems, but I keep warning you about dogs' breakfasts! Smiling

Thank you

AdamReed's picture

Thank you for the quote from Robert Efron, one of my great teachers back when.

Cleaned up

Peter Cresswell's picture

UPDATE: I've cleaned up a few formatting problems that originally appeared when I first posted this.

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

'NOT PC.'
**Setting Brushfires In People's Minds**

ORGANON ARCHITECTURE
**Integrating Architecture With Your Site**

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