It seems to me that the best philosophers should retire to a cave and contemplate to their heart's desire. If this if true, then we would know nothing of them. Judging from Plato, Spinoza and Nietzsche, the second best life is to write criticisms of contemporary life. Esoteric writing is used to communicate your true message to potential philosophers. The charge against philosophy is that it corrupts the youth and denies the gods. Understanding that the love of wisdom, the knowledge of things that do not change, denies the gods is easily understood. The charge of corrupting the youth, however, needs to be examined. The youth does not refer to the young, per se, but to young men, namely teenagers. By using dialectic, the philosopher can show the youth that the gods do not exist. Once this is accomplished, the youth will see himself as a god. Therefore, it is a valid charge against philosophy that it first, creates new gods, and, second, corrupts the youth. The reason that males are targeted is that only men have virtue, which Nietzsche knew well, all too well. Pseudo-philosphers, it seems, also like to reference other pseudo-philosophers, without giving due credit.
We also learn why philosophers talk about things being divided into three parts. The origin of this is that in the city, there are the 1% intelligent, the 2% strong, and then the remainder of the city, the masses and the rabble. If you are not smart or strong, then you know which group includes you. Philosophers write to corrupt the future thinking youth and to deny the Deity. In ancient times, the god of the city was the city. To deny the god is to deny the city and without the city, everything falls apart, since the philosopher needs division of labor in the city so he has free time to think. Although this seems suicidal to the philosophic life of contemplation, it is in fact, job security. The philosopher creates students who deny the god, while the philosopher uses rhetoric to make the weaker argument seem the stronger, insuring the survival of the city. If it seems that this vocation does not pay well, that is probably true. However, the joy of knowing that at least one mind has been liberated from the shadows in the cave, can be rewarding in a non monetary manner.
I have never seen an explanation of what I call “The And Code”. I “discovered” this by analyzing “The Prince.” Machiavelli has divided his book into chapters. With technology, it is easy to count the number of words and the number of “and”s in a document. With simple division, the “and ratio” can be determined. One chapter does not have any “and”s. Only a very careful reader would notice something as common as a conjugation. The ratio of such keywords also gives rise to the “Saint Paul Code” by counting the number of times I, me, my, mine, myself, we, our, ourselves and us are used. It is this basis that I concluded Saint Paul did not write “Hebrews”. Although my method is different from academic scholars, we reach the same conclusion. Since Saint Paul has a high “And Ratio”, we know that he writes well. The constant self referencing must be an infelicity of style.
As educated people we know not to start sentence with “and”. Saint Paul and Nietzsche have a ratio above 20, showing their knowledge of the modern writing prohibition against starting every sentence with “and”. The authors of “Revelation” are unaware of this writing prohibition, so there writings indicate a primitive, and not a refined, writing style. Once one is aware of this, one realizes how badly Revelation is written. The redactor of the first three chapters of Genesis, were not so careful. Genesis, as a whole, has a low ratio indicating that it is old. The “and code” can be used for any language. The limits of this technique is that will show that if the document we have reflects the modern prohibition concerning starting sentences with conjunctions. It can tell us if a document dates before or after a giving writing, relativity speaking, and with no accuracy of when it was written. Latin, that unchanging language, is ideal for the “and code”. The only thing that will change is the authors knowledge not starting sentences with “and”.
Papal Bulls are ideal for this. Papal Bulls from the 1500's to the present day show a high ratio. What is interesting are Papal Bulls long preceding this time have with high ratios, indicating they are forgeries from a later age. The “Magna Charta” has a high ratio betraying that, it too, is a forgery and can not dating from 1215. Likewise, Caesar's War in France betrays the modern style of writing. Any careful author can manipulate the ratios for his books and chapters, a la Machiavelli.
The “Or Code” is simpler in concept and does not require the manipulation of data. The limits of this code is the requirement of a good memory. Anytime an author uses “or” he is creating a new definition for that word. I suspect, but can not confirm, that this definition runs through all of the author's writings. A few examples from “Persecution and the Art of Writing” by Leo Strauss-
Intellectuals or the Sages
societies or classes
practical or political philosophy
From the above list we can see that anytime one reads “political philosophy” one must mentally substitute “practical philosophy” . We now know that philosophy that deals with city (polis) is practical and not abstract. Therefore, we can place Plato, Spinoza and Nietzsche in the category of practical philosophers. Incorrect titles are also used in esoteric writing. Of course, not all use of “or” results in a new definition. That rule, always followed, would create a jumbled picture of the author's thoughts. This rule rises and falls on the discerning reader or the careful reader.
A pitfall of esoteric writing specifically, and the “or code” in general, is that more than one reading is required of the text, unless one has a photographic memory. A hypothetical example will suffice. Suppose that we are reading a book that is Anti-Papal and we can image that charges that are brought against the Roman Church in such writing. In the middle paragraph in the middle of the epilogue the written has written” Roman Catholics or Christians” would require us to mentally apply all the attacks that previously applied to only Roman Catholics be applied to all Christians. Of course, we must be certain that the book is esoteric before reading it again or we will be mistaken in our attempt to put meanings where the author did not intend.
The careless reader will take from the book the common salutations and vulgar prohibitions. Rarely do esoteric writings make the “best seller” list. Only two titles come to mind and the second most read is “The Closing of the American Mind” by Alan Bloom. Mr. Bloom was a student of Strauss and did a translation of Plato's Republic with commentary. “The Closing of the American Mind” was a windfall for Mr. Bloom as Conservatives took it to heart. Generally, if a title contains an “or”, it is esoteric. Don Giovanni is the best known example that people forget the full title of artistic works. Misquoting titles indicates that the author wants the reader to reference that book. This is a very subtle technique that Strauss does not mention, but employs. Esoteric writing creates co conspirators. “The Road to Serfdom” is an example of the author's intent in the title. The unsuspecting reader thinks that the author wants to avoid the road to serfdom, but that is in direct contradiction to the title of the book. Once again, conservative love this book, but they don't read it carefully. Of course, there is no collegiate course named “Esoteric Writing 101”, so the technique is not well know or if it is known, can not be applied by most people. To convince someone that Mr. Bloom's book is clearly written to show the stupidity of Americans or that Hayek actually desires a dictatorship in American will be met with incredulous looks and disbelief. To convince people that academia has an in joke at the expense of the masses will be met with derision, at best, and hostility, at worst.
Therefore, their secret game of superiority over the unsuspecting masses that has spanned the centuries and has been with humanity from the beginning will be secure, even in this Modern Age. These writers have, by placing their true beliefs into popular works or frequently referenced books, insured their legacy for countless generations to come. Their smug winks and nods to countless readers, to those don't understand, lending credence to their condescending manner, and to those that understand, justifying their esoteric writing. They, who have always denied the gods, become immortal. It is they, who corrupt the youth, that have become the gods they always knew themselves to be.