February 3, 2006 by AK
Unfortunately, the way we laugh at Baudrillard et al. can lead us to laugh at everybody from Aristotle from Heidegger if we get too conceited and nitpicky. Look at the question, not the answer; at the motive, not the action of the pen. Only those for whom it is a matter of life and death should take up philosophy. They can’t avoid questions they laughed at the day before, such as “What am I?” and “What is Being?” and “What is Time?” Here’s how, for example:
Ad Melpomenem, and ode by Horace (“Exegi monumentum”), has a special place in Russian literary history, having been translated by three outstanding men, Lomonosov, Derzhavin and Pushkin. Derzhavin’s version has this bit:
No, I shall not all die; of me a major part,
Having fled rot, will live on after death.
Now what is that — “part of me?” Is/Am “I” divisible? This is how your philosophy may begin.
Of course, it may begin as an answer to your desire to get laid or paid, or as a “rebellion.” There were times when “Maoist philosophy” had it all — sex, cash, and rebellion; what works now, I haven’t found out yet.
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