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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.
1. Kant didn’t have just one odd habit, his whole life was an odd habit. Immanuel 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 20 years.
2. One biography of Nietzsche 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.
3. Friedrich Schiller was a contemporary of 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.
4. 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.
5. Voltaire 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 every day.
6. 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.
7. The life of 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.