Current Reading

This blog is primarily for me to blog my responses to books that I'm reading. Sometimes I blog about other stuff too, though.

I'm currently reading The Demon in Democracy: Totalitarian Temptations in Free Societies by Polish philosopher Ryszard Legutko.

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Word cloud

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Nietzsche: Eh.

I agree with much of his cynicism about human nature, but I want insight, I want to understand the origins of bad ideas more deeply, and I want to know the origin of GOOD ideas as well.  I agree with him that most people will never free their minds, but I freely choose to use my mind for some end that betters society, because I actually do believe in my endeavors, and in service.  I am not getting that from him 80 pages in.  I'm getting increasingly tedious prose.

The one point I really liked was when he noted that there are people who could free their minds but choose to follow the leveling impulse and pursue fuzzy egalitarian agendas.  I suppose I'm at a midpoint between him and them.  I'll never drink their kool-aid, but I do want to make things better.  I just want my eyes to be open as I do it, because I honestly believe that it will be better for other people, better for my sanity, and better for the bigger intellectual project that I actually care about.

The other point that I really liked, as noted in the previous post, was that all philosophies only contain what philosophers want them to contain.  I think the deeper point is that no idea can contain more than went into it.  This is something that I think about a lot in physics.  I still can't quite believe that the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, which gets us within an inch of quantum mechanics, is an inevitable consequence of Newtonian mechanics (with time reversibility made more explicit than Newton made it).  I need to think more deeply about this, and figure out where the hidden assumptions are.

So, auf wiedersehen, Herr Nietzsche.

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