The End of Philosophy and the Task of Thinking

And when we speak of the competence issue in Washington or the lack of competence, we must consider where the competence issue arises from and in turn where the incompetence stems from. In essence, it is the mode of thinking and the inability to think beyond printing paper money which is at the heart of the competence or incompetence issue. Add to the inability to think beyond printing paper money the fact that half of all American exports are weapons, and then you can infer as to why “they’re all stupid” as one or perhaps two former presidents so bluntly stated. 

Moreover, and as Martin Heidegger wrote: “We are thinking of the possibility that the world civilization that is just now beginning might one day overcome its technological-scientific-industrial character as the sole criterion of man’s sojourn. This may happen, not of and through itself, but in virtue of the readiness of man for a determination which, whether heeded or not, always speaks in the destiny of man, which has not yet been decided.” 

Heidegger added: “It is just as uncertain whether world civilization will soon be abruptly destroyed or whether it will be stabilized for a long time. Such stabilization, however, will not rest in something enduring, but establish itself in a sequence of changes, each presenting the latest novelty.” Philosophy is an “aid” in bringing about the necessary changes to the prevailing mode of thinking, as Heidegger wrote. But as we have mentioned before, philosophy has essentially been cancelled and repressed in American public discourse. In turn, this cancellation and repression of philosophy in American public discourse not only has existential and intellectual consequences and implications, but it also has psychosocial and physiological consequences and implications as well. 

As Ben Rhodes wrote in his memoir regarding his time assisting Barack Obama, the question which has arisen in American public discourse as to why everyone is so stupid actually preceded Trump. Obama once exclaimed in front of Rhodes that only if people were not so sexually repressed, they could all function and think properly. Yet, despite the systematic and thorough repression which has been imposed upon American public life over the course of the last number of decades, the truth still has a funny way of coming out. 

For one, people still print and write books and publish things. Second, there is now a former president and a presidential candidate who is actually saying out loud what everyone is thinking. And third, we live in a digital age, which means that everything will eventually come out over the course of time. As part of the “unconcealment” or “unveiling” of reality as Heidegger put it, truth and its revelation as well as its escape from systematic and thorough repression is part of this “unconcealment” or “unveiling” of reality through various ways and means. Hence, we have the need to stabilize the world which can only come about as a result of changes in the prevailing mode of thinking on one hand, and on the other hand, we have the gradual revelation of broader reality and truth which is occurring through various ways and means. Both phenomena are obviously interconnected and interrelated, and arguably, these are the two phenomena that are behind and are underpinning another level of phenomena which we have been preoccupied with for a long time but it merely serves as the surface level of the broader phenomena and issues of stability and truth, namely, globalization and technology. 

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