Metaphysics Quotes (displaying: 1 - 30 of 160 quotes )
Metaphysical guilt is the lack of absolute solidarity with the human being as such--an indelible claim beyond morally meaningful duty. This solidarity is violated by my presence at a wrong or a crime. It is not enough that I cautiously risk my life to prevent it; if it happens, and I was there, and if I survive where the other is killed, I know from a voice within myself: I am guilty of being still alive.
Metaphysics means nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly. The fundamental conceptions of psychology are practically very clear to us, but theoretically they are very confused, and one easily makes the obscurest assumptions in this science without realizing, until challenged, what internal difficulties they involve.
If there are no self-evident first principles, as a foundation for reasoning to conclusions that are not immediately apparent, how can you construct any kind of a philosophy? If you have to prove even the basic axioms of your metaphysics, you will never have a metaphysics, because you will never have any strict proof of anything, for your first proof will involve you in an infinite regress, proving that you are proving what you are proving and so on, into the exterior darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. If Descartes thought it was necessary to prove his own existence by the fact that he was thinking, and that his though therefore existed in some subject, how did he prove that he was thinking in the first place? But as to the second step, that God must exist because Descartes had a clear idea of him? that never convinced me, then or at any other time, or now either. There are much better proofs for the existence of God than that one.
I guess that’s supposed to be deconstruction’s original program, right? People have been under some sort of metaphysical anesthesia, so you dismantle the metaphysics’ axioms and prejudices, show it in cross section and reveal the advantages of its abandonment. It’s literally aggravating: you awaken them to the fact that they’ve been unconsciously imbibing some narcotic pharmakon since they were old enough to say “Momma.” -Interview with Larry McCaffery (1993)
In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big? ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith.
Let us imagine a coming generation with such intrepidity of vision, with such a heroic penchant for the tremendous; let us imagine the bold stride of these dragon-slayers, the proud audacity with which they turn their back on all the weakling's doctrines of optimism in order to 'live resolutely' in wholeness and fullness: would it not be necessary for the tragic man of such a culture, in view of his self-education for seriousness and terror, to desire a new art, the art of metaphysical comfort, to desire tragedy as his own proper Helen, and to exclaim with Faust: Should not my longing overleap the distance. And draw the fairest form into existence?""Would it not be necessary?"--No, thrice no! O you young romantics: it would not be necessary! But it is highly probably that it will end that way, that you end that way--namely, "comforted," as it is written, in spite of all self-education for seriousness and terror, "comforted metaphysically"--in sum, as romantics end, as Christians.
Here's an example: someone says, "Master, please hand me the knife," and he hands them the knife, blade first. "Please give me the other end," he says. And the master replies, "What would you do with the other end?" This is answering an everyday matter in terms of the metaphysical. When the question is, "Master, what is the fundamental principle of Buddhism?" Then he replies, "There is enough breeze in this fan to keep me cool." That is answering the metaphysical in terms of the everyday, and that is, more or less, the principle zen works on. The mundane and the sacred are one and the same.
And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You'll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others. And once the storm is over you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.
This book is merely a personal narrative, and not a pretentious history or a philosophical dissertation. It is a record of several years of variegated vagabondizing, and it's object is rather to help the resting reader while away an idle hour than afflict him with metaphysics, or goad him with science.
Men have gone on to build up vast intellectual schemes, philosophies, and theologies, to prove that ideals are not real as ideals but as antecedently existing actualities. They have failed to see that in converting moral realities into matters of intellectual assent they have evinced lack of moral faith. Faith that something should be in existence as far as lies in our power is changed into the intellectual belief that it is already in existence. When physical existence does not bear out the assertion, the physical is subtly changed into the metaphysical. In this way, moral faith has been inextricably tied up with intellectual beliefs about the supernatural.
In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is? i. e. he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts? i. e. he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. He cannot escape from this need; his only alternative is whether the philosophy guiding him is to be chosen by his mind or by chance.
Kitsch" is a German word born in the middle of the sentimental nineteenth century, and from German is entered all Western languages. Repeated use, however, has obliterated its original metaphysical meaning: kitsch is the absolute denial of shit, in both the literal and figurative sense of the word; kitsch excludes everything from its purview which is essentially unacceptable in human existence.
One fast move or I'm gone,' I realize, gone the way of the last three years of drunken hopelessness which is a physical and spiritual and metaphysical hopelessness you can't learn in school no matter how many books on existentialism or pessimisn you read, or how many jugs of vision-producing Ayahuasca drink, or Mescaline take, or Peyote goop up with -
The tragedy is that we cannot believe the dogmas of religion and metaphysics if we have the strict methods of truth in heart and head, but on the other hand, we have become through the development of humanity so tenderly suffering that we need the highest kind of means of salvation and consolation: whence arises the danger that man may bleed to death through the truth that he realises.