Leukerbad, Wallis, Switzerland

The path into the unknown

BECOME WHO you are: a philosopher. It is part of the human condition. We humans are the animals that have not yet been determined, as Nietzsche stated: to a certain extent we have freed ourselves from the manacles of blind causality. But this also necessitates a continuous quest for humanity, for what it is that will keep us free and uniquely human. This search is a path that will lead us beyond all paths, into uncharted territory.

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Against relativism

THE ABILITY to think and act in a knowledgeable way is not effortlessly acquired. Exacting patience, attentiveness and perseverance, it nevertheless remains forever fallible. But fallible does not merely mean potentially refutable, but also: eligible for improvement. In science, skepticism is valued as a strong medicine, but used unwisely or malevolently it can, in a wider social context, generate intoxicating indifference and even debilitating political irrationality.

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Science and technology

THE SCIENTIFIC method aimes at honing our capabilities to understand nature by actively, physically engaging with it. This method is not infallible, it does not produce absolute and eternally unchanging truth, but at its best its reliability verges on the certainty we as ephemeral beings so deeply crave for. At the same time, science and its applications are also unsettling, challenging established beliefs about the world and ourselves and restructuring the fabric of society.

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The art of understanding

BE GENTLE. We are strangers in a vast, mysterious universe. One thing that we share is our capacity for suffering. We are short-lived, we are frail, and we also suffer as we compete for status and resources. Knowing this, facing an indifferent or even hostile reality, we are afraid. This is why many people come to believe in silly ideas that nevertheless give them comfort and a sense of control. Criticism of these ideas is necessary, but should arise from understanding.

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“The ice is near, the loneliness is terrible — but how serenely everything lies in the sunshine! How freely one can breathe! How much one feels lies beneath one!” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Ecce homo)