Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A Job Opening for Philistines

The assumption is that the difficult philosophers are hiding a secret in all those tortured phrases, but I’m inclined to think that the complexity of the presentation is necessary because of the simplicity of the content. That doesn’t mean that a Foucault or a Heidegger has nothing important to tell us—far from it—or that their jargon was just a marketing device, though it was certainly that too. Mystification is evidence of a lack of self-confidence as if just blurting it out would reveal that one had nothing worthwhile to say. But such doubts are inevitable. We normally judge the worth of an idea by comparing it to other ideas we already value. A radically new thought cannot be recognized at all, even or especially by the one who thinks it first.

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