Logic vs Real Thinking

From Lev Shestov’s All Things Are Possible

“There is no mistake about it, nobody wants to think, I do not speak here of logical thinking. That, like any other natural function, gives people great pleasure. For this reason philosophical systems, however complicated, arouse real and permanent interest in the public provided they only require from people the logical exercise of the mind, and nothing else. But to think- really to think- surely this means a relinquishing of logic. It means living a new life. It means a permanent sacrifice of the dearest habits, tastes, attachments, without even the assurance that the sacrifice will bring any compensation.”

Understanding vs Knowing

“The effort to understand people, life, the universe prevents us from getting to know them at all. Since ‘to know’ and ‘to understand’ are two concepts which are not only non-identical, but just the opposite of one another in meaning… We think we have understood a phenomenon if we have included it in a list of others, previously known to us. And, since all our mental aspiration reduces itself to understanding the universe, we refuse to know a great deal which will not adapt itself to the plane surface of the contemporary world-conceptions… To us it seems, on the contrary, that in the interests of knowing we should sacrifice, and gladly, understanding, since understanding in any case is a secondary affair.”

From Lev Shestov’s All Things Are Possible

The Price of The Practical

A dear friend recently sent me Morris Berman’s The Reenchantment of The World. Here’s a lovely quote from the introduction:

“Scientific consciousness is alienated consciousness: there is no ecstatic merger with nature, but rather total separation from it. Subject and object are always seen in opposition to each other. I am not my experiences, and thus not really part of the world around me. The logical endpoint of this worldview is a feeling of total reification: everything is an object, alien, not-me; and I am ultimately an object too, an alienated ‘thing’ in a world of other, equally meaningless things. This world is not of my own making; the cosmos cares nothing for me, and I do not really feel a sense of belonging to it. What I feel, in fact, is a sickness in the soul.”