Slaves?

Main deficiency of active people. Active men are usually lacking in higher activity-I mean individual activity. They are active as officials, businessmen, scholars, that is, as generic beings, but not as quite particular, single and unique men. In this respect they are lazy.

It is the misfortune of active men that their activity is almost always a bit irrational. For example, one must not inquire of the money-gathering banker what the purpose for his restless activity is: it is irrational. Active people roll like a stone, conforming to the stupidity of mechanics.

Today as always, men fall into two groups: slaves and free men. Whoever does not have two-thirds of his day for himself, is a slave, whatever he may be: a statesman, a businessman, an official, or a scholar.

Friedrich Nietzsche – Human, All Too Human
Section Five: Signs of Higher and Lower Culture #283

I’ll just quote a book title as the proper question in response to Nietzsche’s aphorism above. Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? Like Adam Smith, Nietzsche is oblivious to the comforts that having others around, even others that he derides as lesser than himself, provides. If Friedrich Nietzsche or Adam Smith cooked and cleaned for themselves, they would be slaves, per Nietzsche. Slaves to their own needs. At least, in Adam Smith’s case, he would have ended up with a better idea of what economics was. If he had time to think about economics between the washing and the cooking, the hauling of water, etc. I wonder what that version of Wealth of Nations would have looked like?

Listening to the discussion of Nietzsche contained in Episode 11: Nietzsche‚Äôs Immoralism: What Is Ethics, Anyway? it’s easy to see the inspiration for much of Hitler and the Nazi party’s philosophy. How and why Hitler was so empowered by the German people to go out and achieve greatness for them. Never mind that Nietzsche would never have condoned the use of his ideas in this fashion. Ideas are like that. Once realized and expressed they are free to be used by anyone who happens upon them.

I need a certain level of comfort to be great.

Mark Linsenmayer

Ends not Means

In the kingdom of ends everything has either value or dignity. Whatever has a value can be replaced by something else which is equivalent; whatever, on the other hand, is above all value, and therefore admits of no equivalent, has a dignity.

Immanuel Kant

I’ve been slowly (very slowly) going through the back episodes of A Partially Examined Life. I see no point in starting anything discussing philosophy anywhere except at the beginning, and since I didn’t find the podcast until now, I’m stuck going back through ten years of episodes. Why do I have to start at a beginning? All conversation, all understanding, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. A conversation about philosophy cannot be understood by dropping into the middle. Also, you can’t understand where someone is coming from on a particular subject without listening to them talk endlessly about that subject.

…and these guys can go on and on about philosophy. (I liked Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy. Did he do Kant justice? I have no idea. I know Rand didn’t.) I have yet to get bored while listening.