Tuesday, August 20, 2019

On Lifelong Members of Philosophical Movements

Being the lifelong member of a philosophical movement is not a sign of genuine interest in philosophy—it is a sign of contempt for it. The lifelong members of a philosophical movement are not interested in discovering the philosophical truth; they seldom do any in-depth study of philosophy; their aim is to be the loyal devotees of their movement.

Loyalty to the movement and its leaders, and not to philosophical knowledge and creativity, is for them the highest achievement. To them philosophy starts and ends with the teachings of the leaders of their movement—defending their movement against the attacks of those who are not a part of it is their favorite pastime.

The philosophical views of such people cannot be taken seriously—they are like the bureaucrats who after working for several years in a particular government department become more loyal to their department than to their nation.


Anonymous said...

Nice description of the Ayn Rand 'cult'. There have been others, of course, I'm focusing on this novelist because at present I had an interesting encounter with a hardcore Objectivist recently. I think it goes back to what you previously wrote re: intellectuals and folly. The charisma of the leader enables blinders in effect for most followers. A wider, more inclusive analysis is prohibited. Peikoff, whom I met while I was an undergraduate, even then struck me as an absurd 'groupie' rather than an objective intellectual. That's not to say his views were inaccurate, just that he brushed off critique as personal attacks rather than points requiring further analysis. Marxists are the same and considering the intellectual vacuity of Karl they're openly laughable. The need for an all inclusive dogma or truth that ties everything nicely together and eliminates painful existential questions has been a quest of mankind for years. From Plato onward. In his essay,'The Hedgehog and the Fox' Isaiah Berlin, captures this brilliantly. The folowers of foxes are capable of horrendous violence to see their moral and ethical views actualize. And the contradiction does not register on them. The nation can go up in smoke as long as the department thrives. Mankind is a vulnerable creature and the few who realize this rise to the top 'seducing' followers who refuse to take off those blinders even on the point of death.

Anoop Verma said...

Hermione, Interesting perspective.