Wednesday, February 15, 2006


I finally got my hands on what I’ve wanted for years. Some twenty odd pages of Karl Lowith on Carl Schmitt. But didn’t get past the first few pages! I’ll tell you about some of the highlights once I am done. I got distracted as usual and ended up having to go dig up a couple of passages. The first is Nietzsche’s and the second, longer one from Merleau Ponty.

Just thought I should share and see what any of you might think of the possibilities:

Mr. N.

There exist within us a power which permits the major features
of the mirror image to be perceived with greater intensity, and
again there is a power which emphasizes rhythmic similarity
beyond the actual inexactitude. This must be an artistic power,
because it is creative. Its chief creative means are omitting,
overlooking, and ignoring. It is therefore an anti-scientific
power, because it does not have the same degree of interest
in every thing that it perceives.

And Mr. MP

In regaining the “vertical” world or existence-the one which stands upright before my upright body—and within it the other persons who are in it, we learn about a dimension in which ideas also obtain their true solidity. They are the secret axes or (as Stendhal said) the “pilings” of our spoken words. Ideas are the centers of our gravitations, this very definite void which the vault of language is built around, and which has actual existence only in the weight and counterweight of stones. But are the visible things of the visible world constructed any differently? They are always behind what I see of them, as horizon, and what we call visibility is this very transcendence. No thing, no side of a thing, shows itself except by actively hiding the others, denouncing them in the act of concealing them. To see is a matter of principle to see farther than one sees, to reach a latent existence. The invisible is the outline and the depth of the visible. The visible does not admit of pure positivity any more than the invisible does. ….

In a sense, the highest point of philosophy is perhaps no more than rediscovering these truism: thought thinks, speech speaks, the glance glances. But each time between the two identical words there is a whole spread one straddles in order to think, speak, and see….But this philosophy which searches beneath science is not in turn “deeper” than passions, politics and life. …Philosophy does not hold the world supine at its feet. It is not a “higher point of view” from which one embraces all local perspectives. It seeks contact with brute being, and in any case informs itself in company of those who have never lost that contact!

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