a stylized illustration of one of the members of KISS playing the guitar.

KISS and Philosophy: Wiser than Hell

by Courtland Lewis Editor

KISS is one of the most outrageous—and yet the most enduring—of rock bands, with an unparalleled, almost religious level of devotion from millions of die-hard fans. In KISS and Philosophy, professional thinkers of diverse outlooks provide much-needed insights into the motivating ideas and metaphysical foundations of the KISS take on life. According to some, the true message of KISS is self-actualization through the hard work of following your dreams. Others focus on the existential aspect of KISS, drawing upon Camus and Sartre. Several chapters examine KISS’s orientation to bodily pleasures, notably sex, extracting the band’s philosophy of sex and love. (How does KISS’s unashamed indulgence relate to various pleasure-governed ethical systems throughout history? Does a life of gratifying one’s body ultimately yield fulfillment? What are the limitations and hazards of a pleasure-oriented lifestyle?) The biography of band members provides material for reflection, looking at the nature of forgiveness through the lens of KISS’s notorious feuds. The changing line-up of the band also raises questions about the meaning of “KISS” and whether KISS could last forever.