The Vast Minority, or the Stupidity of Philosophers

I’m not sure I agree with Heidegger that philosophy is the greatest danger to thinking.  Sometimes I agree wholeheartedly, and other times it seems there are far greater dangers.  It depends on what mood I’m in.  In any case, I think the stupidity of philosophers is greatly underestimated.  Of course, you’ll hear a lot of people talk about how useless or pointless philosophy is, or how it isn’t the most lucrative of career choices, but that’s not the same as saying that philosophers are stupid.  The general opinion of philosophers is that, even if they are useless and jobless, they have some kind of knowledge, even if it’s only knowledge about word games that make people’s heads hurt.  However, the fact of the matter is that philosophers are much stupider than people think, especially if you consider all philosophers (all people who consider themselves philosophers or philosophical) and not just the very well-known figures honored in the historical archive.

I’m not just reiterating the basic point of philosophia: loving wisdom precludes any pretense of attaining wisdom.  I’m saying that a lot of philosophers are stupid.  They say and do stupid things.  The racism and sexism in the history of philosophy should be sufficient to make my point.  But the ontotheology is just as bad.  Even if philosophical knowledge is just knowledge of word play, there’s still plenty of stupidity.  Just listen, and you’ll notice that a lot of philosophers are not particularly adept at linguistic acrobatics.  They become easily confused and disoriented when the protective shell of their academic jargon encounters worlds of humor, fiction, and pop polylingualism.

I’m not saying any of this to insult philosophy or scandalize it.  Out of love for philosophy and for the wisdom philosophers love, I’m just expressing a basic observation that applies to every field of human activity.  An observation that is easily forgotten, erased by political correctness and politics of equality.  Not everyone is great at what they do.  The greats are always a minority, but for that their greatness is no less vast.  The greats are not kept small by the dominology of the majority.  They are not an oppressed minority, which is not to say that they aren’t sometimes members of oppressed minorities.  The greats compose the vast minority, the minority of those who overcome.

3 thoughts on “The Vast Minority, or the Stupidity of Philosophers

  1. „Das Denken beginnt erst dann, wenn wir erfahren haben, daß die seit Jahrhunderten verherrlichte Vernunft die hartnäckigste Widersacherin des Denkens ist.“ (Heidegger).verwechsle nicht vernunft mitphilosophie!

    1. Thanks for that saying from Heidegger’s essay on Nietzsche’s profound utterance, Gott ist tot. Yes, I wouldn’t want to confuse Vernunft with Philosophie. Vernunft is the most persistent adversary of thinking, but Philosophie is its own danger as well, not necessarily the greatest danger but certainly the worst or most muddled danger.

      Remember Heidegger’s saying from his poetic work, Aus der Erfahrung des Denkens. “Three dangers threaten thinking”: the first danger is the proximity of the singing poet, the second danger is thinking itself (thinking must think against itself), and the third danger is philosophy: “the bad and thus muddled danger is philosophizing.”

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