Hegel says that philosophy can allow us to comprehend our time in thought. But it can also — perhaps more importantly — allow us to resist our time, to ask untimely questions, difficult, intractable and unfashionable questions. Nietzsche writes in a very late text, where he is still trying to wrestle himself free from the spell of his fascination with the composer Richard Wagner:
What does a philosopher demand of himself first and last? To overcome his time in himself, to become “timeless.” With what must he therefore engage in the hardest combat? With whatever marks him as a child of his time. Well, then I am, no less than Wagner, a child of this time; that is, a decadent. But I comprehended this, I resisted it. The philosopher in me resisted.