Humble elitism: Making the vertical ascent

One who sets foot on the philosophical path may become bewildered when he begins to consider how it is possible not to be arrogant yet also how to ascend beyond the bounds of the ordinary. I have recently come to a better understanding  of how this is possible. More: of how this is necessary.

1. From Charles Taylor in A Secular Age and Peter Sloterdijk in You Must Change Your Life, I accept the thesis that one of the chief features of modernity is the creation of horizontality. Without theism, there is no idea (or at least there is deep suspicion) of the vertical or transcendent (not, in any case, not after 1945 when various forms of quasi-transcendent options begin to appear). In other respects too, egalitarianism is espoused, if not always adopted. And then there is the ‘affirmation of ordinary life,’ which insists that the good life is now identical with the spheres of production (work) and reproduction (family). In very different ways and coming from quite different traditions, Taylor and Sloterdijk both want to ask, ‘What is higher? From what source does it spring?’

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