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a measure of independence

Mar 19, 2009 10:48 AM
by Bill Meredith

    "I should like to give some intimation of how a measure of independence can be achieved in philosophical thought today:
     Let us not pledge ourselves to any philosophical school or take formulable truth as such for the one and exclusive truth; let us be master of our thoughts;
     let us not heap up philosophical possessions but apprehend philosophical thought as movement and seek to deepen it;
     let us battle for truth and humanity in unconditional communication;
     let us acquire the power to learn from all the past by making it our own;  let us listen to our contemporaries and remain open to all possibilities;
     let each of us as an individual immerse himself in his own historicity, in his origin, in what he has done;  
let him possess himself of what he has done, of what he has become, and of what has been given to him;
     let us not cease to grow through our own historicity into the historicity of man as a whole and thus make ourselves into citizens of the world.

     We lend little credence to a philosopher who is imperturbable, we do not belive in the calm of the Stoic, we do not even desire to be unmoved, for it is our humanity itself which drives us into passion and fear and causes us in tears and rejoicing to experience what is.  Consequently only by rising from the chains that bind us to our emotions, not by destroying them, do we come to ourselves.  Hence we must venture to be men and then do what we can to move forward to our true independence.  Then we shall suffer without complaining, despair without succumbing; we shall be shaken but not overturned, for the inner independence that grows up in us will sustain us.
     Philosophy is the school of this independence, it is not the possession of independence."

--Jaspers, Karl; WAY TO WISDOM, translated by Ralph Manheim, Yale University Press, 1954, p118-119


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