Quotes by Liu Xiaobo (3)

Plato. Luni marble, copy of the portrait made ...Image via Wikipedia

From chapter One of “Mist of metaphysics“: Human wisdom covered by mist

When myths cannot solve human problems, we ask the nature; when nature fails to answer we turn to God (abstract myth); when God doesn’t save us we again go back to the nature – our human nature, we question ourselves. p50
(by yunyi: so the path is: nature – God – human itself)
Logic, analysis, experiment, all of these are not the means to discover truth, but the means of proving truth. (true) Discovery lies in imagination and intuition, which characterized by sudden enlightenment. If logic is companied by mathematics, experience is companied by physics, the company of intuition is art. The highest achievement of human intelligence is not rational, but intuitional. p50
Irrational state is not a state of animal. The higher level of irrational state is the life in its full bloom. Without this state there is no creativity. … Life starts with music and ends with music. p51
The development of ontology and methodology was companied by the development of evaluation of human to himself. Or in other words, this self evaluation works as a latent layer along the development of ontology and methodology. … the disappointment of human toward himself is disillusioning of the myth that human creates for himself. …
Totemism, worship to God, all by nature are the worship to human himself. …the antagonistic relation between God and human is religionized relation among social classes of human society.
If during the time of Kant the attack man did for himself mainly aimed to reason, after Darwin the attack was/is emotional – it is not only the consciousness of the limitation of reason, but also emotional disappointment toward mankind itself. But, I still prefer a depravation caused by the courage of facing the truth, rather than a sublimation by avoidance. Pessimism is a great mentality, without it, we won’t know even until today that we are just human, not God.
The development of western philosophy is a process from the mixture of human and God in classic Greek to the God only theology of middle age, and finally end to contemporary natural and humanist philosophy. …Through this journey, philosophy changed from inquiry of origin, purpose and meaning of the universe to a much “less metaphysical” problems, such as the possibility of those inquiries; which methods we should follow in terms of logic; how to distinguish valid and false, right and wrong, etc.. In other words, philosophy changed from the study of nature itself to study of natural science. The center subject of philosophy changed from ontology to epistemology and methodology. If we look at this process from the perspective scientific truth, western philosophy went from absolute truth to relative truth, from the self-evident rational truth to empiristic truth. p55
Progress, is not a journey toward perfection, to summum bonum, but a never ending course of referring and comparison. p63
Skepticism and conviction are two opposite polar of life, there is no bridge in between. Skepticism is a dark ghost of western thought, gravedigger of metaphysics, it makes all attempt for ultimacy an illusional babble, shakes the roots of all massive philosophical systems. …Conviction is a torch of human thought, backbone of human spirit, basis of metaphysics. It always gives meaning for human to live on this meaningless earth, gives light toward happiness at dead ends. It is this very skepticism continues to impact metaphysics; it is this very conviction makes metaphysics to continue. P68
In classical Greek myths, “Gods” were fabrication of imagination; in pre-Socrates school, “Gods” were fabrication of reason. Former is super-nature of “unnatural”, later is super-nature of “natural”. In terms of “super nature”, both presented the same thing – metaphysical being. p68
When human experiences some sublime desire or emotion inside his/her life, but cannot land this desire to a substantial object, this desire or emotion becomes stronger, more insistent, and more mysterious. Thus human can only use spiritual creativities as substitutes for such desire, such as metaphysical being, religion Gods or aesthetic experience. This kind of experience toward “nothingness”, “unknown”, “ultimacy” or “eternity” is truly the summit of all human intellectual activities. p76
If human doesn’t have art but only science, science will be plague of mankind. Because human has disposition of destruction and despotism, and if there were no restrictions, human will try his best to achieve this nature, and science is the best way to help him to succeed. Democracy and art are not only the companies of science, but the restriction to science, preventing it from being used by human’s desire for power. p77
By metaphysics, human pursues a fixed form for universe, society and life; by religion, human pursues a eternal faith, trying to find a support and goal for life; by art, human pursues an instant satisfaction, and after that this instant becomes eternity because of its unrepeatable unique attribute. By art, human solely attempts to get close to life, and fulfill life itself. p78
The metaphysics of Plato is poetic and musical, the illusion of “Republic” did not prevent him from experience the tragedy of life. His dualism can be taken as contradictory of reason and aesthetism. Maybe Plato really reached his “eidos” by his fascination, but by such fascination, I found his “Republic” is falling. p78
Comparing with the Dionysius’ euphoria experience which Greek tragedy conveys, classical greek metaphysics is aneamic, a coward moan made by a weak scholar, an avoidance to the tragedy of reality. p83
Mathematics is the soul of classical philosophy (just like physics is modern empirism and modern scientific philosophy). Primitive totem is not much different from metaphysical being in term of ontology. The difference between classical Greek philosophy and primitive totemism is: primitive man hold his piety to totem only emotionally, not methodologically and logically; metaphysics, on the other hand, with support of logic deduction (provided by mathematics), made human not only believe the existance of metaphysical being, but also with support of reason.
In spite of the importance of Greek philosophy in human history, in spite of its noble crown given by those scholars and philosophers, I personally believe, maybe naively or blindly, it is virtually a philosophical religion. All its meaning, value and mistakes are all about one fact: it was new born at the time, even if it’s fragile but it’s new and complete life form. Its imagination and confidence is overly impracticable, narcissist. It innocently and truthfully believed in itself, even though it resided (still resides) in mist. p90

2 thoughts on “Quotes by Liu Xiaobo (3)

  1. Basically agree with his remarks about science, art and religion. I find skepticism and rationality useful, but not a real basis for life. Too limited in their understanding of the emotional-poetic-side of our nature.

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