Thursday, February 21, 2008

See, this is why I love Nietzsche.

The intellectual conscience.— I keep having the same experience and keep resisting it every time. I do not want to believe it although it is palpable: the great majority of people lack an intellectual conscience. Indeed, it has often seemed to me as if anyone calling for an intellectual conscience were as lonely in the most densely populated cities as if he were in a desert. Everybody looks at you with strange eyes and goes right on handling his scales, calling this good and that evil. Nobody even blushes when you intimate that their weights are underweight; nor do people feel outraged; they merely laugh at your doubts. I mean: the great majority of people does not consider it contemptible to believe this or that and to live accordingly, without first having given themselves an account of the final and most certain reasons pro and con, and without even troubling themselves about such reasons afterward: the most gifted men and the noblest women still belong to this "great majority." But what is goodheartedness, refinement, or genius to me, when the person who has these virtues tolerates slack feelings in his faith and judgments and when he does not account the desire for certainty as his inmost craving and deepest distress—as that which separates the higher human beings from the lower.

Among some pious people I have found a hatred of reason and was well disposed to them for that; for this at least betrayed their bad intellectual conscience. But to stand in the midst of this rerum concordia discors and of this whole marvelous uncertainty and rich ambiguity of existence without questioning, without trembling with the craving and the rapture of such questioning, without at least hating the person who questions, perhaps even finding him faintly amusing—that is what I feel to be contemptible, and this is the feeling for which I look first in everybody. Some folly keeps persuading me that every human being has this feeling, simply because he is human. This is my sense of injustice.

[The Gay Science, I, 2]

4 comments:

Nemo said...

Yeah, he's so earnest, it's cute. That and the whole "anything I think other people don't like about me, I'm going to laud as a virtue" thing he's all about. But such passion! I should be so lucky.

Joel L. said...

Same Nietzsche who says, "(You realists) in your unveiled state are not even you still very passionate and dark creatures compared to fish, and still far too similar to an artist in love?"
Now the question is, why do we love Patrick?

Elena said...

Patrick have you seen this?

Patrick said...

Honestly, from a scientific perspective Lee Strobel is just embarrassingly bad. I don't know whether he's ignorant of modern evolutionary theory and genetics, or whether he simply rejects them, but the "no information by natural processes" is an argument by bad analogy. We have a pretty good idea of how this "information" can be built up (very slowly) over time by evolutionary optimization.

If you're looking for something better along those lines, perhaps you might be interested in Dr. Francis Collins (the director of the Human Genome Project), who came and spoke at Berkeley some weeks back about the reasons he sees in genetics for faith in the Christian God. I think his argument is flawed as well, but it's a better argument, and he does get the biology right.

Hope all's well. I'm thinking of coming to the reunion in Michigan this year; do you think you and yours will be there too?