I understand that he was an Atheist, but let’s put the herd mentality aside for a moment. (Hurr durr, he loathed religion like me, so he’s the best of all.) Many of his ideas are obvious realizations to anyone who has newly deconverted, and kept up with ideas of human evolution, and his attempts to mix literature with philosophy, and write a novel bog it down. Although I haven’t read much of his work, I’ve enjoyed reading plain old Plato and other Greek philosophers much more.
Plato carefully builds a foundation and then adds layers. I also like reading about other philosophers like Diogenes, for his ability to give the middle finger to every other source of authority and somehow get away with it (unlike Socrates, whose persecution was to Athens what Giordano Bruno’s was to the Catholic church.)
My friend said he would like to have gone to a Buddhist middle school,
an Islamic high school and a secular college, but if he had it all to
do over again he would have stayed clear of Christianity. Lately I
have become interested in philosophy, which is what happens when you
take the mysticism out of religion and encourage people to think about
everything for themselves. The writings of Kant are popular with
Atheists since he was an atheist who tried to find a solution to
combat nhilism. He was afraid society would fall into chaos once the
majority realized “God is dead, and we have killed him.” (Meaning once
we stop believing we cannot lay claim to Christian morals and have to
rethink everything. He doesn’t mean G o d ever existed except as a
At the moment though I am still more attracted to the Greek
philosophers, Plato, Socrates and Diogenes. Socrates was sort of
religious, but rejected the Greek gods and believed in his own spirit.
He was sentenced to execution by jury for two reasons 1) corrupting
young minds (by telling people to think) 2) not acknowledging the
local Greek gods.
How people believe any religion is truer than any other is beyond me.
I have found parallel persecutions by mobs for rejecting gods that
were locally popular in Israel, Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism
where heretics were murdered. Religion robs people of tolerance and
the ability to think and be at peace. Perhaps, my philosophies do not
jive with Nietzsche, because I think the price of preserving religion
for the sake of order is still far too high. Scientists have done
immoral experiments, and not every problem has a technological
solution because there are fundamental human conflicts of interest,
but I feel religion has done more harm than good.
Can philosophy replace religion? Unfortunately, probably not, because
it requires patience and higher thinking that frankly most people do
not have. Religion is the shortcut to a sense of morality, with a few
rules backed up by flashy mysticism that stimulates the imagination.
Moreover, the ancient philosophers who tried to teach were frequently
deified by followers, resulting in cults that followed
Zoroaster,Christ, Buddha or Muhammed. Even in modern days pseudo cults
have sprung up behind philosophers like Ayn Rand. Personally I think a
diversity of reads are better, but it’s even better to learn to think
critically and take a thought to its natural conclusion. This is why I
like Plato- boring though his writing is, it’s straight forward and
you don’t get lost because he doesn’t write like Nietzsche, a novelist
showing off. The premises are obvious and every final idea is worked
to in layers from the foundation.
Even if the solution remains out of reach, we need to jettison invalid
ideas and keep looking and sharing thoughts until someday we reach a
critical mass and a more harmonious society Is easier to create and
preserve. I do like nietzsche,’s idea that we are working to evolve
into an ubermenche, who won’t remember us. I have already thought of
that and many of his ideas though, so perhaps that is why he doesn’t
appeal to me. I do love his treatise on how Christianity fails at its
goals and keeps a person grovel in forever in sin, while Buddhism
succeeds in its stated goal of extinguishing distress, and harmful
emotions. Pure Buddhism should give more peace than the purest