BOTH Kierkegaard and Nietzsche compared themselves to a lonely fir. They were indeed, and perhaps in spite of themselves, solitaries: boulders which worked loose from the mass of human solidarity, and crashed to the bottom. In Karl Jaspers we see them deflecting the course of traditional philosophy. For Jaspers is the professional philosopher inheriting and participating in the philosophia perennis ‘around which all philosophers circle’, and at the same time he is profoundly influenced by Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. He treats them as the great exceptions. He is not a disciple (they cannot be followed), but he makes it his enterprise to profit by their intuitions and apply them to the business of philosophy, in the spirit of a true philosopher reflecting upon his own effort to live and living in the light of his reflections.