Today I was working on the door in the local library. It’s an old door, and my poetic mind liked the idea of me restoring the entrance to a lot of knowledge, being an amateur philosopher and all. In front of the library were some evangelicals selling god to people passing by; better get them before they learn something, you might say. While watching this scene of knowledge and ignorance, I was listening to a BBC documentary where an ex-prostitute talked about her life. At one point, she said that a young girl trafficked into prostitution is factually raped 20 (twenty) times in an evening… for several years… every evening… After realizing what I had just heard, I refrained from complaining about a tooth that hurts and from asking these lovely God-loving people why their boss agreed with these pimps or at least hands them all kinds of excuses and ways to ignore this kind of injustice.
Ones home I did go into my library to find some comfort. To read something, from someone much wiser than me to comfort me. The downside of philosophy as a hobby is that all your playmates are long dead or unreachable; only through reading their books can you come close.
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
“That is the idea — that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.
177 Learning solitude. – 0 you poor devils in the great cities of world politics, you gifted young men tormented by ambition who consider it your duty to pass some comment on everything that happens- and there is always something happening! Who when they raise the dust in this way think they are the chariot of history! Who, because they are always on the alert, always on the lookout for the moment when they can put their word in, lose all genuine productivity! However much they may desire to do great work, the profound speechlessness of pregnancy never comes to them! The event of the day drives them before it like chaff, while they think they are driving the event – poor devils! – If one wants to represent a hero on the stage one must not think of making one of the chorus, indeed one must not even know how to make one of the chorus.
The stranger I work with questioned me after discovering that life, according to me, has no purpose. “So life has no meaning, you say. And you come to this conclusion through philosophy? So if you look for meaning in life, it is better not to do philosophy?”
I replied. “Well, I said that life has no purpose in the sense that there is no goal where we have to work to like a heaven or an endpoint in our evolution. In general, life also has no meaning, but it is easier to give your life or a period of your life a meaning. A good meaning for you might be razing a family, it’s something that comes naturally and doesn’t need much debating, but it is harder to find the purpose for raising a family. And indeed, philosophy has helped me reach this insight. It did not tell me literally what to think; it more or less made the thoughts I already had more explicit. Doing philosophy is like doing a sport or playing an instrument. The more you do it, the better you can get at it, even if you have little talent. Everybody can do philosophy in the way we can all play football or the piano, but if you practice it, you will get better at it.
The stranger asked, “so you think you understand life better than me because you read a couple of books?”
Me, “ I don’t know if I understand it better, and I think the most significant difference between you and me is that I can probably talk more elaborately about what I believe. Maybe you have a better gut feeling, but you said earlier that what you think hasn’t changed for years, and most of it comes from your upbringing. You have been standing still and haven’t played, so to say”
The stranger asked, “but what is wrong with that?”
What disturbs and depresses young people is the hunt for happiness on the firm assumption that it must be met with in life. From this arises constantly deluded hope and so also dissatisfaction. Deceptive images of a vague happiness hover before us in our dreams, and we search in vain for their original. Much would have been gained if, through timely advice and instruction, young people could have had eradicated from their minds the erroneous notion that the world has a great deal to offer them.
A kernel of truth
at the end of dying thoughts
66 Capacity for visions. –Throughout the whole Middle Ages, the actual and decisive sign of the highest humanity was that one was capable of visions – that is to say, of a profound mental disturbance! And the objective of medieval prescriptions for the life of all higher natures (thereligiosi) was at bottom to make one capable of visions! It is thus no wonder that an over-estimation of the half-mad, the fantastic, the fanatical- of so-called men of genius- should have spilled over into our time; ‘they have seen things that others do not see’ – precisely! and this should make us cautious towards them, not credulous!