"Half-artist, half-bird, half-metaphysician"

"And how many new ideals are not, at bottom, still possible? Here is a little ideal that I seize upon every five weeks, while upon a wild and lonely walk, in the azure moment of a blasphemous joy. To spend one's life amid delicate and absurd things; a stranger to reality; half-artist, half-bird, half-metaphysician; without a yea or a nay for reality, save that from time to time one acknowledges it, after the manner of a good dancer, with the tips of one's toes; always tickled by some happy ray of sunlight; relieved and encouraged even by sorrow -- for sorrow preserves the happy man; fixing a little tail of jokes even to the most holy thing: this, as is clear, is the ideal of a heavy spirit, a ton in weight -- of the spirit of gravity." Friedrich Nietzsche: The Will to Power — §1039.

Leibniz, science, and theology

From The New Atlantis — "At fourteen, he enrolled at the University of Leipzig to study philosophy. “I was very young when I began to meditate,” he would later write, “and I was not quite fifteen when I strolled for whole days in a grove to take sides between Aristotle and Democritus.” Even then, Leibniz was nagged by the tension between the teleological account of nature inherited from Aristotle and engrained in academia, and the new mechanical physics, represented by Galileo and Descartes, that hearkened back to the ancient Greek atomist Democritus. Early in Leibniz’s career, mechanism won out and led him to focus on mathematics, but, as we shall see, he later appropriated into his system something akin to the substantial forms of Aristotle. "For reasons not entirely known, Leibniz was denied the doctor’s degree of law at Leipzig and left the city, never to live there again. After quickly finishing, defending, and publishing his dissertation at the University of Altdorf at age twenty, he turned down the offer of a professorship, presumably to pursue his independent work of reforming the sciences — a project involving far more than the academy."

The tedium of evangelical atheism

"Several critics have noted that if evangelical atheists (as the philosopher John Gray calls them) are ignorant of religion, as they usually are, then they aren’t truly atheists. "The knowledge of contraries is one and the same," as Aristotle said. If your idea of God is not one that most theistic traditions would recognize, you’re not talking about God (at most, the New Atheists' arguments are relevant to the low-hanging god of fundamentalism and deism). But even more damning is that such atheists appear ignorant of atheism as well."