Why and How We Study Philosophy
Summer 1952(Printer Friendly Version Page 1| Page 2 | Page 3 | Back to Transcript)
In philosophy we have no right to throw out one erroneous answer if that answer has quality (human experience), and since in philosophy we are concerned with the idea itself (for example: philosophy is concerned with the idea of God, religion with the existence of God) and how it was possible for man to arrive at that idea or answer at all, we have always to look and to inquire again. So in discussing the situation we now find ourselves in and how it came about and man's changed position in the world, we have to look back at how man lived up to 1800 and have to ask: How was it possible and how did it happen that man believed in God almost up to 1800 and then suddenly stopped--replacing this dropped belief with a merely negative belief that God did not exist.
This we will try to find out, but first lets start with this negative belief--for a belief it is--that God does not exist. Since Kant showed us that we cannot know whether God exists or not, it means that the atheist cannot possibly know that God does not exist--so he is really a believer in nothingness. This brings us immediately to the question of faith and to the distinction between faith and belief. Pure faith (which philosophy can accept as such) means that you believe in God although you know that you cannot pretend to know that He exists. Belief on the other hand implies that you pretend to know that God exists (or, as in the case of the negative belief of the atheist, that God does not exist). In faith you cross the borderline from reason to faith, but so long as you never try to convince anyone else of your faith, it can be a question of pure faith, and as such something that philosophy (free philosophy) can accept; the minute you try to convince anyone else of your faith, it means that you have to try to argue philosophically and to pretend to believe. The medieval mystic could still try to talk of his own experiences because they were so strong and because he still lived in an age of belief, but now the situation is such that a philosopher like Karl Jaspers has said that if a mystic would come to him, he would have to say: "I am sorry, but I cannot talk to you about this. I am not in a state of grace."
The negative belief of the atheist brings up yet another point with his "I believe that I do not believe.", we come into the realm of the demoniacal. Old theologians always said that the denial of God was done by the Devil, but this denial of the atheist is not diabolical. It concerns an inner human experience which has much to do with the principle of the demonic. Thinking in the West (Heidegger, etc.), combining with the thoughts of psychology, has lately found that there is such a thing as being possessed. Scientifically explained, this means that a man is possessed by his own mental processes which he cannot control--like the idee fixe, for example, where the man is not thinking, but is "being thought." Since Nietzsche a branch of psychology has developed in which an analysis has been made of certain motives human beings use--especially of inferiority and the development of the quality of resentment as a negative form of action. Relating this to the atheist, we see that while he claims not to have a mystical experience as the saint does, actually he does. The atheist after being driven into a corner will suddenly pop out with "But I believe that I do not believe in God." A terrible inner action is taking place here: the atheist has experienced his own inner nothingness; he denies God compulsively because he feels himself to be nothing--and the relation with the demonic is clearly there.
In philosophy we would then have to say that with this we have an answer and would have to ask: What makes this reaction possible? and why do most people who have had the inner experience of their own nothingness react so wildly and so especially against God? They react this way because if a man feels himself to be valueless and is penetrated by that feeling (the personal nihilistic experience), then the will to destruction of all values is the immediate reaction. Destruction of all values means to aim at the thing always valued most highly by man: God. It is not the Devil in action but man who has been robbed of all feelings of his own personal quality; man who has been driven into the feeling of no qualities of his own whatsoever along with tremendous resentment against himself. But we are very bad self-destroyers for human beings have also a quality of grandeur--which Pascal put forward as one-half of man's basic condition (the other being misery). The quality that makes for man's grandeur is that he can love somebody else more than himself. This is one of the peaks of the possible creativeness of man, but on the other hand, man can never take anyone else more seriously than himself. This is automatic because man lives with himself, even in dreams, mirroring himself continuously, and he cannot possibly spend the same energy on anyone else. If he is in a state of love, loving someone more than himself, then he is safe. But this borderline man we are talking about has paid for this nothingness with the loss of the capacity to love. So he is only left with the other quality--the inability to take anyone else more seriously than himself--and he must deny the worth and value of everyone else.
These have all been preliminary probings into the question in order to give you an idea of how philosophy proceeds, but before I go on I must say that I have a funny feeling in starting this course. I have always felt that I would never give such a course; in fact I have always made it a condition in taking a job not to give an introductory course in philosophy--for that is impossible, and the man who does is either a fool or a teacher of a science (the history of philosophy). An introductory course in philosophy is doing that which philosophy teaches--teaching life (which is all that philosophy can teach). Then the modern situation forced a thinker, Karl Jaspers, to give a series of lectures on the "Way to Wisdom: An Introduction to Philosophy." I had supposed that he would take the position I have always taken, but then I saw why he could do it. Jaspers is an existentialist who comes from psychology. His position is that philosophy cannot be taught, but philosophizing can be taught. Since he has a most definite answer to the question of what philosophy is (philosophy is philosophizing) and because he is a very sceptical man, he gives a very different introduction to philosophy. I want you to have this book in order to check on me. This is always good; it makes you feel independent. You will find that Jaspers says that what philosophy is, nobody knows and that for as many philosophers as there are, there are as many definitions. Jaspers feels that the very definition a philosopher gives of what philosophy is shows what he, the philosopher, is. It would seem by this that we would be stuck with an infinity of philosophical systems--and we are. Jaspers in his youth wrote an excellent history of philosophy and made a comparative study of things that they had in common. He was of the opinion that there had been no real development in philosophy and that everyone had to make his own philosophy--some, of course, were more gifted than others in this. This position is of a tremendous educational value, but it also changes philosophy into pedagogy.
With a philosopher, and especially with a modern philosopher, we must always ask: What is he fighting for? Of the modern philosophers, Jaspers and Camus (with the exception of Heidegger, who is different again) are the only ones who make a stand. They are really rebellious humanists and what they are fighting for is a revival of metaphysical humanism. They became aware that the humanism of the 19th Century had an anti-humanistic element and led straight into the nihilistic situation which led again to totalitarianism. They want to fight totalitarianism and by the means of re-establishing certain values of humanism so that we can make a kind of liberal restoration and thereby get into a position where we have a leg to stand on in the nihilistic situation. Metaphysically speaking, we are still lost, and politically, even in democracy we do not have a counter-proposition to totalitarianism. They believe that we have underrated liberalism and that it can be restored. But what they both do is to fall back on a proposition that only holds true for the individual. If we consider the nihilistic situation to be a great flood, they are building walls. But we cannot build walls against a flood; we must build an ark--or to speak modernly, we must learn to fly; we must overcome it. The masses are falling and are being driven into a trap by social circumstances created by nihilism and we cannot stop them by the mere means of educating the individual. Jaspers is a great educator and can have the effect upon an individual of making him really tough against the nihilistic situation, but it takes years to acquire the necessary knowledge—which is a very suspicious fact in itself: it means that he goes back to science. One should not need that much knowledge; it is not really creative philosophical work any more (though it is re-creative). And this is why I differ from him--I think there is something more.
Philosophy also shows where human thinking now stands because every philosophy designed means that man--the philosopher is not a man alone, but representative--in a certain situation has tried to take a new position in the world toward the world and toward himself. A history of philosophy, as Hegel thought, cannot exist as a thing in itself. There is no such continuity or unity, but there is a much deeper unity: the unity of human experience within the world in different situations which shows the basic identity of the will. If we look at philosophy as attempts to regulate the position that man takes in the world at a certain time and in a given situation, then we can talk about a certain history of philosophy: an history of the continuous widening of the range of the human mind and the deeper and higher meanings of life that are gained. In that sense it is worthwhile to teach the history of philosophy, but it is only taught now in Hegel's or Jaspers' way.
But we are interested in the question: What is philosophy? Philosophy cannot be taught. Why not? Because everybody is a philosopher; he just does not know it. There are two kinds of professional human beings who have to argue with every idiot in the world: philosophers and politicians. Everyone feels he knows about politics and about life--who should have a greater life experience than he - that little idiot - and he is right. We are obliged to try to be creative in those fields or we might lose our freedom. That is also the reason why everyone should study philosophy. He is in it anyway and mostly he has no idea of what a bad performer he is. Philosophy now means only free philosophy. Philosophy has not existed yet on its own. It has been driven into its own by the nihilistic situation and science, and forced away from religion and the cosmos. In that most dangerous situation in which we find ourselves philosophy for the first time has to answer the question: What are you? Previously, philosophy was mixed up with every trend of human life, but now it has to account for itself and to show that it is something that human beings need. We are forced to raise the question seriously in our time: What is philosophy? We cannot answer with Jaspers' reply that everyone has to make up his own mind what philosophy is. We must find out what philosophy really is.
Philosophizing does not mean that we all think independent thoughts. We all think thoughts of others and most people cannot get out of this framework of thinking with the thoughts and prejudices of others. We must develop philosophy by developing what creates philosophy: the mind that thinks. A being grows by continuous exhaustion: in love by continuous loving, in thinking by exhausting the mind. This is a funny phenomenon and there is no natural explanation for it. Here we have the first point to go on if we want to find out where man has been entirely enslaved by pseudo-scientific ideologies. All have one thing in common: they tell us that man is entirely explainable out of his circumstances. If we know his circumstances, we can know him more and more. He is a product of the world; a product of things as they are. This would mean that the world including man could be explained physically.
Now I call physical everything that comes into and goes out of being without the help of man. I use it in the Greek sense of physis--the thing that emerges--and add to that: without the help of man. I call them occurrences because we do not know even if things exist. A lot of phenomena come about without our will, including dreams. Thus the physical is everything in being that does not come into being or go out of being with our help. Metaphysical I call everything (an event) that would not have happened if man would not have done it. This is the sphere of man's freedom and creativeness. An event we cause has metaphysical significance; but if the wind blows a book on the floor, it is an occurrence. It happens in a definite line of other occurrences (which we might be able to control by scientific means but which we do not create); they are interrelated chains of occurrences. No metaphysical implication whatsoever is involved; no meaning whatsoever is involved--though consequence and sense might be involved (we could follow the line of the wind or measure the strength of the wind). By no meaning I mean that everything in the realm of the physical has the implication of being merely functional. It can be measured and grasped merely by functional means. Anything that has meaning must have intention. In the case of an idée fixe, for example, the patient's mental processes have lost meaning; they are merely functional now.
Formerly when we believed in God and the cosmos we believed that natural things had meaning because God put meaning into them, but now we cannot believe in this. There are no spirits in the cosmos that set their will against us; we have overcome them. There is absolutely no meaning in the intentional sense in physical occurrences, but if I throw a book on the floor, doing it intentionally, this means it has meaning. This action I caused--intention causes an action; an action causes an event--and now I can really talk of cause and effect (and we all think now in terms of cause and effect). It is also an occurrence because the strength by which I did that--throwing the book on the floor--was coming into my body from an uninterrupted chain of occurrences. I used this to bring about an event so both occurrence and event are therefore involved. The metaphysical action of the human will also manifests itself by butting into a chain of given occurrences, putting it into the service of the human will and bringing it into an event. Now the occurrence has meaning too; intention has been put into the occurrence. What Heidegger calls "the things in hand" is the exact togetherness of an occurrence and an event. Intention has gotten hold of a chain of occurrences and transposed it into another chain of occurrences that now has meaning--which is what we used to call form. But this being that can do that cannot be explained out of all the chains of occurrences in the world--and here lies the first proof for human freedom.
Kant still thought that freedom could not be proved (along with God and immortality) and one shortcoming of Kant was stopping there. (He also had one wrong question: the question was not one of immortality but eternity; immortality is only personal. We are only concerned with immortality because we are concerned basically with eternity.) The other shortcoming of Kant was that he believed those three things--freedom, God, and immortality--must be believed in or the human mind would not function in freedom. And since philosophy is concerned with freedom, and has always been distinguished from religion by caring for freedom first, God next, as religion cared always for God first freedom second--or morally speaking, philosophers have always cared for truth first, goodness second; religious thinkers for goodness first, truth second--we must now raise again the question: What is freedom? and can a human being be free? and how? This is the pivotal question.
We believed up to 1800 that knowledge and understanding were the same, that understanding was a higher kind of knowledge. Even now we do not have the concept that knowledge and understanding are entirely different, but we could believe in the identity of knowledge and truth only so long as we believed in the identity of the physical and the metaphysical as well. And only so long as we believed in cosmical events and not in natural occurrences, could we believe that they revealed meaning, that there was a guidance inherent in what we call natural occurrences. That means we are no longer entitled to say that understanding and knowledge are the same, that knowledge makes for truth. This error had its source in Greek thinking--in Platonic and Aristotelian thinking. If the idea of an object in my mind coincided with the object itself, it used to be called truth; now it is only adequate because truth must have meaning in it, and it must be more than recognition. Jaspers has made a new theory uniting again knowledge and understanding, saying that the scientist is concerned with truth--which is true, but he is only concerned with the pre-conditions of truth. Understanding is applicable only to the metaphysical; knowledge to the physical. Understanding enables us to communicate with other beings; knowledge is always one-sided because knowledge only enables us to handle things--and things know nothing of us (they only answer by changing, which is no answer) and we can never know things in themselves (Kant was right). However, when meaning, which is intentional, has been put into a thing, as with human-produced things, then we can and we must listen to what other human beings have put into a thing. Since this thing was built for a purpose, it has the language of form and it speaks and has intention.
I want to talk now about the difference of my approach and Jaspers' on why and how do we study philosophy so that you can make the differentiations as you read Jaspers' book, but first I want to change the title of this course to: Why and How Must Every Man Study Philosophy--the reason for which I will explain in a minute.
Jaspers' approach is the last and most noble philosophical theory about philosophy that grows out of the most pure of all humanistic and liberalistic thinking in Western Europe. Jaspers and Camus are the only ones (along with Heidegger) who make an attempt to overcome the nihilistic situation, but both fall back into the nihilistic situation. They cannot find a way out because there is only the way up--as long as they work within the framework of it, they must fall back into it. Jaspers and Camus do not see that even the most pure line of humanistic and liberal thought cannot get away from the sorry situation.which leads us to ask: Must there not be in fact something absolutely wrong in the very starting position of that thinking, something that has always been in it--its opposite which leads back into the nihilistic situation?
Jaspers says that basically philosophy cannot claim to be practical--though he claims it to be so, but only so far as the inner experience of man in his individual existence. He claims that by philosophizing we can come into a state where, by purifying our thoughts and ourselves, we can get sure of the fact that man has the possibility of transcendence to God--the forever unknowable God. The individual can get the experience that everything he finds out for truth can be rejected, but he must transcend this. By proving his strength to go on he will find inner assurance of his own transcendence. Inner experience (which is psychological and mystical) can always lead to a certain proposition of mysticism and with Jaspers it becomes the proposition that the individual will get an inner feeling finally that he is really able to transcend and that will give him assurance of his own worthiness against despair. Out of inner subjective experience he wants to lead on to a way that will give each one assurance against the nihilistic situation.
Now in science polemics is necessary, but not in philosophy. The only criticism allowed in philosophy is to do it better. Every new approach must take into account what has gone before. Jaspers' approach I feel is valuable and valid in terms of education and self-education, by which we can make single individuals to a certain degree bullet-proof to the nihilistic approach. This is the positive reason why I chose this book as a parallel study. Unfortunately, the conclusion is that Jaspers cannot speak to man any more; he can only speak to men or only to single human beings. he cannot possibly make any approach which by finding out our common situation can help us to overcome the nihilistic situation. This is why he feels that philosophy is helpless and that philosophy cannot enforce itself. Old philosophy wanted to gain power over the human mind--claiming to be the mediator between God and man or between the meaning of the cosmos and man--but it did not claim, as philosophy did later, to be the ruler of man. As soon as the cosmological and theological approach broke down (with Kant), philosophy had to find out what it really had to claim for itself. This opened up the possibility of pure philosophy, which we are pursuing here, but it also opened up the possibility for the absolute claim to rule--which all 19th Century philosophers made. Jaspers makes yet a third approach--we, as philosophers, can give someone certain guidance but we cannot prove anything to him or claim leadership--that is honorable in a negative way, growing out of Kant (as opposed to Hegel and Nietzsche who claimed the absolute leadership of man).
Jaspers' approach is one of the finest to show scientists that they are really priests when they claim to be absolute experts; that they want to rule the minds of men when they claim to have the truth instead of searching for it. He shows that a philosopher too much knows that truth is infinite and that he should never claim to be in possession of it. But the weakness of Jaspers is that he claims for a philosopher only the role of a man who guides individuals--the philosopher must sit there waiting for the enlightened ones who turn to philosophy, for the ones who have been faced with life problems and have found science wanting in the answering of those problems. His position is a noble one and in a way a Christian one in his relation to goodness and God in order to show the way back to God (not religion.) But I am very suspicious of all those positions because the half-religious or religious thinker always puts goodness first and truth second, God first and freedom second. Pure philosophical thinkers are concerned the other way around--truth first goodness second, freedom first God second--though you will find the reverse is true in certain cases of philosophers and theologians. My position is that we cannot know about God, so let's not aim for God. If we come into a position in the search for truth where we can make an approach to God visible, all right--but otherwise forget it.
And just as I am always a little critical of a philosopher concerned with goodness because it means he places truth second, I am a little bothered by Camus because he is concerned about the happiness of man--which means that he is concerned with feelings first. A philosopher is not entitled to that. When Nietzsche's sister wrote to him about religion, he replied: "If you want to be elevated and feel fine, go on that way. I am ready to take truth first----even if it is the cruel and killing one." He made this decision in order to make sure that into the search could not creep in the uncontrolled human longing for feeling better. He would rather feel worse and know that he had truth. As long as the concept of the whole human personality held fast to provide a certain safeguard, that cruel distinction as to truth and feeling was not so necessary (and in a concept of freedom, which becomes possible with free philosophy, we do not need such a distinction at all), but Nietzsche made his stand when the splitting of the personality had already occurred. All longing for goodness was already sentimental; all longing for truth merciless because truth had become the search of the cold human intellect. The heart had degraded into the cold human soul, the mind into the intellect. Coldness of intellect is necessary for science and scientists, but they do not have to believe it is their mind. When Nietzsche took his stand against his sister, it was in reality a stand for the intellect against the soul (sentimentality).
In physics there is a definition of dirt as matter in the wrong place. But if we sweep that dirt together until we have a pile of it and put it in the garden, when it rains we have top soil. Sentimentality is feeling in the wrong place--displaced feeling not rightly employed--and one proof of this is in the worst situation of displaced feeling (and a situation very much prevailing): the function of self-pity, which is displacement of the strength of human feelings into the reverse. In a case of self-pity a man is mirrored and remirrored on himself until finally he can feel sorry only for himself. That man always wonders why no one feels for him but the answer is simple: he feels so much for himself he has nothing left to give to others--his feelings are all misplaced. It is not a question of morals and we are not accusing such a person of being selfish (in fact it might be better if he really were), but he has become an example of absolute sentimentality and lives always in tears for himself. This misplacing, or the possibility of it, has its roots in the split between the human mind and the human heart which turned the mind into the intellect and the heart into sentimentality which cannot be controlled any more.
If we take the concept of freedom we see that pure philosophy puts its interest in freedom first and in God second; then we see that the concept of freedom is unable to show us even a possibility of a cleavage between the mind and the heart. If someone is interested in freedom, he is interested with his heart as well as with his mind. Freedom is also a necessity for the human heart because it makes us feel fine without our being able to distrust that feeling. We have our own dignity (that is a feeling too) and the possibility of self-respect--the possibility of self-respect as a feeling relating to the human heart. But because it is such an essential feeling, if we do have it, we take it for granted. We do not realize that we have it--and we do the same with political freedom. In America, for instance, we have taken freedom for granted for a long time. We have forgotten that it is there and that it is something. We have forgotten it as we forget air--until we come into a special situation (if we are suddenly faced with the possibility of drowning, for example) and realize that it is a fundamental need of life, or as we suddenly and consciously experience the joy of breathing in the mountains after months in a city. This is comparable to freedom as a metaphysical experience, as a necessity of the mind as well as of the heart. We see suddenly for the first time the whole functioning of the human being in unity, in one. So I say that I care for freedom first (Kant was the greatest and last one in the line) and this divides me from Jaspers' approach.
Now to go ba ck for a moment to why I changed the title of this course. The answer to the new title--"Why Must Everybody Study Philosophy?" or "Why Must Every Human Being Philosophize?"--is quite simple: he cannot avoid it. We have gotten into the habit of calling every theory about something a philosophy (such as a philosophy of gardening!), and it is a kind of muddle-headedness which shows that a sense of philosophy is entirely lost. I had the opportunity not so long ago to talk to a G. I. who had been in Germany during the occupation, and he told me: "If there is one thing I simply cannot stand to hear one more time, it's the word 'culture’!" I also had a chance to talk with a German who told me: "There's one thing I simply cannot stand to hear again --and that is the word 'democracy' !" The American was right about the German who always talks about culture because he is no longer creative. The German was wrong about democracy because the Germans have an entirely different concept of democracy, but he was right about the use of the word. The word "philosophy" has had something of the same fate--"Let's now take the philosophy of Mr. Taft or Mr. Eisenhower." or "What is your philosophy?"--but this is also in a way a very healthy thing. A dim awareness is shown in these primitive people who talk that way that philosophy is something that a human being leads his actions by. They have a feeling, in all its primitiveness and even banality, for the deep fact that free philosophy is really the activity by which human beings make up their minds. We want now to try to go to the heart of this matter, to find the creative thoughts that guide action, and to ask: How is it possible that a human being can design certain plans in life, see that they hold true, and then be able to make them truer by changing them? What gives him this quality--the quality of philosophical thinking--which leads to freedom as I define it?
Freedom is a rubber word; it has been stretched in every direction. The moment in history when man really wanted to be absolutely free—the French Revolution--and designed his own destiny, the real age of revolutions set in. He fought under the flag of freedom and his battles only earned him more slavery. Liberty and freedom mean about the same to the English and American mind except for the use of these two words in their plural form. The word 'liberties' is used in a way that 'freedom' never is and the double-meaning of freedom is just contained in this split. Preliminarily and paradoxically, the fight for freedom that started at the beginning of our modern age might have been lost just because it was always fought under the flag of liberties and we have never gotten the flag of freedom yet. Camus tries to put forward a theory that the real fault is that we have always made revolutions rather than stopping at rebellion. Unfortunately, this is not true. He tries to prove that the revolter manifests the truth of the common dignity of man--but the revolter is really a slave and creates a new master. What would be required would be an absolute transformation of man’s situation in the world.
Why must man work philosophically and live philosophically? That can only be explained by the seeming rigidness of this proposition, which almost brings in a categorical imperative. I condemn Nietzsche and Hegel for bringing in the "you must" (instead of Kant's "you shall") because it means if you do not, you will be a dope. Yet, I too introduce a "you must." What do I mean? I mean only the decision itself. I mean to make man aware that his freedom consists in his being a metaphysical being—a being who can decide. And just in this ability of decision lies the secret of freedom. The first decision by which the power of decision has to be manifested by every man is the decision for freedom itself. When we were after a definition of freedom (even Kant in the noble line which Jaspers closes), we still considered that we were born free (as it was practically manifested in the American Constitution): that is, freedom was given as a quality--and this has been the foundation of the rights of man. Metaphysically speaking, the fight between totalitarianism and what is good in the United States is the fight between the rights of man and, on the other side, the absolute denial of his qualities as man (not just his rights, even his qualities). Unfortunately, this humanistic foundation does not hold water now. The nihilistic situation has been able to show that freedom is not given as a quality of man. Men have not been born free any more than they have been born equal. Here seems to be the danger--the danger that all American freedom has come out of this and if it can be proved that it does not hold, then we are all lost. One of the reasons why American propaganda is ineffective and Russian propaganda is effective in Europe is that every belief has vanished in Europe. This concept of being born free is still based on a religious condition--just as the so-called dignity of man stems from his being made by God. It is a remainder of Christian thought, which philosophically can no longer hold water since religion has lost its central position and we no longer believe these things are given by God. This does not mean that America is politically endangered from this yet, but metaphysically speaking, we must ask: If we do not believe that men are born free, how can they be free?
We have now to find the proof of human freedom in human creativeness itself and since religion has been blown out of the center of the creative activities of human beings, we must show first that the human being is a metaphysical being without the help of religious transcendence. We will take only the fact of the life activity of man himself into consideration--and in his life activity man shows the possibility of a creativity to bring things into the world that have not been there before. If man is creative with the possibility of decision--to go one step deeper and one step back--we find that we come back once again to the position of the Enlightemuent. Man has been born as a metaphysical being who has the possibility to make himself free; he has been given a creativeness that can help him to make himself free, to create freedom, to make it—which means the first decision that man has to make is for freedom itself. So I introduced a “must”: man must make a decision for freedom if he wants to develop himself in freedom, if he wants to live in freedom; and having made that decision, then he must study philosophy because philosophy cares most for freedom and the development of it. Philosophy studies freedom because freedom is the central source of human life itself (as distinguished from existence)--life can only be created in freedom.
And this, of course, brings us to the question of truth and to what its methods might be. By this very example of my own procedure--that the nihilistic arguments against the rights of man are valid--I have tried to find more truth, and we find here something characteristic for philosophy: all human truth is to be found in the same spot. In philosophy truth is always located in the same place. If we want to go deeper into the rights of man, we take up the same question again. Let us assume that truth is the source of life, then the eternal procedure of man can be compared to a well-digger who comes again and again to the same spot. The source got dirtied and dried up after the Enlightenment, but if we go back to the same spot and go deeper, the water will spring up again for awhile, then become dirtied, to be found again by once more going deeper. The procedure of philosophy--of all the procedures we have to design to make human life and the world more meaningful--is the very procedure of human life itself.