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When I posted my thoughts on why Nietzsche is an overrated thinker, little did I know that it would evoke such a reaction. I believe it has gotten more comments than any other post of mine, and some of them are passionate, to say the least. Well, who says people don’t care about philosophy! I continued my application of the biographico-critico method of philosphical analysis by weighing in on Ludwig Wittgenstein – was he a phoney? Not so many reactions there. Ludwig is not a pop cult figure.
In my Whiner post, I justified my method with this passage:
Look, I know that personal details of biography are not supposed to be the substance of intellectual critiques, but the fact is, a lot of intellectuals develop their complex systems to work out their personal problems. (Wittgenstein was another.) I suspect that for many, their intellectual systems compensate them in some way for something they feel they lack, but that’s my speculation. Some people compensate with serial murder, pedaphilia, adultery, greed, or generally unpleasant behavior: intellectuals do it with ideas.
My delight knew no bounds when I received confirmation and support for my methodological approach in this brilliant passage regarding Immanuel Kant’s metaphysics, written, of course, by Jean-Baptiste Botul, in his groundbreaking work, La vie sexuelle d’Emmanuel Kant. Botul is discussing the fear of “loss of self” that infects many thinkers, and its impact on Kant, as well as his preoccupation with the ability of the mind to grasp the ultimate nature of things, the “thing in itself.”
Un remède contre cette perte: construire une enveloppe. Les philosophes appellent ces cocon système et consacret leur vie à le tisser. C’est un remède contre la fragilité. Tous les philosophes qui en bâti des systèmes ont vécu dans un intense sentiment de fragilité et de précarité. Spinoza, Kant, Hegel: ils n’ étaient rien socialement, il leur faillait un toit et des murs, une cuirasse des concepts. . . .
Il est temps d’en parler, et particulièrment de cette chose en soi, das Ding au sich, la chose qu’elle est réellement, que Kant appelle le noumène, qui existe mais dont nous ne pouvons rien prover.
Curieuse théorie de la connaissance! Comme si la science avait affaire à des «choses», des objets permanents, stables. La science moderne n’étudie pas des «choses» isolées mais des relations, des flux, des champs, des systémes. Il y a dans la noumène kantien un fétischisme de la «chose» étonnant.
La Chose, c’est la Sexe. C’est evident.
Once again, I call on my imperfect translation skills to bring this work to a wider, Anglophone audience:
There is a way to prevent that loss: construct a protective envelope. Philosophers call these cocoons systems, and devote their lives to weaving them. It is a protection against fragility. All the philosophers who build systems have lived with an intense sense of precariousness and fragility. Spinoza, Kant, Hegel: they were never sociable – they built for themselves a roof and walls, a breastplate of concepts. . . .
We must now speak of these concepts, particularly of “the thing in itself,” daas Ding au Sich, the thing that is reality, which Kant names noumena, and that exists despite our not being able to prove it.
Curious theory of knowledge! As if science is concerned with “things,” permanent and stable objects. Modern science does not study isolated “things,” but the relationships, fluxes, and fields of systems. There is in the Kantian notion of noumena a stunning fetishism of “the thing.”
The Thing – it is sex. It’s obvious.
So true. What else could it be? Such wisdom. Bravo Jean-Baptise Botul!