The word 'critical" has three meanings which are dangerous, important, and disapproving. The purpose of this blog is to examine important or over-looked cultural, political, artistic, or historical issues of our time. Also, this blog is intended to be educational.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
The Strange Habits of Some Well-Known Philosophers
Philosophers are not the most normal bunch of human
beings around, which means that some of them have weird ways to make themselves
productive, or simply strange obsessions. Perhaps the weird ways of thinking
are what make them so creative in their writing. Whatever it is, these are the
weird habits of philosophers.
While most people know Sigmund Freud as the founder
of psychoanalysis, he also wrote philosophical works. He thought his time was
so important that he made his wife put toothpaste on his toothbrush each
morning so that he didn’t waste any of his own time.
Emmanuel Kant did not have just one odd habit, his
whole life was an odd habit. Kant lived from 1724-1804 and starting in
1783 he lived his life in the same way every single day until his death. He
would wake up at 5, drink tea, and smoke a single pipe. He would work until 7,
then lecture until 11, write, and lunch at exactly 1 PM. And always, every
single day, he would take an hour long walk after lunch. Then it was
socializing and reading until 10:00 bedtime. This was the life of Kant for over
One biography of FriedrichNietzsche
says that he also kept a strict schedule, but that his was one that prioritized
privacy over all else. In addition, he generally ate an “unbelievable” amount
of fruit at lunch, which led to serious stomach troubles over his life.
Friedrich Schiller was a contemporary of Johann Wolfgang von
Goethe, a poet and a philosopher. One day Goethe stopped by to say hello and
found Schiller not at home. He decided to sit down and get a bit of writing
done, but in Schiller’s room there was a vile stench that left Goethe unable to
work. He found a pile of rotten apples in a drawer, and when he asked about it,
Schiller said that he did it on purpose. He required the smell of the rotting
fruit to write.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
A big problem for Karl Marx is that he
would often miss deadlines due to his odd tendencies when writing. Instead
of sitting down and writing, Marx would write down an idea, then stand and walk
around frantically until he was struck with a new idea. He’d briefly sit to
write it down, then jump up and walk again.
Voltaire (aka: François-Marie
Arouet) had a habit
that many of us could understand: coffee. Of course Voltaire’s coffee habits
far outstripped most people’s. He would drink between 20 and 40 cups of coffee
Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel also required
certain conditions to write. When he was at home writing, he would always wear
his nightgown and black beret. Of course sometimes he did this over his day
clothes, and he would refuse to write without it.
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
The life of Arthur Schopenhauer is one of
difficulties. He was often homeless and didn’t have strong connections with
other people. Instead, he fulfilled his need for companionship by adopting
poodles one after the other for his whole life. The oddest part of this habit
is that he named every single one Atma.
The philosopher, artist, inventor and all-around
Renaissance man Leonardo Da Vinci used a polyphasic sleep cycle. He didn’t
sleep through the night, but instead took a 20-minute nap every four hours.