Empty Days

Tuesday, June 22, 2004



Observation

Everything I say makes perfect sense - in my own system at least.

When I read Houellebecq's novels they make perfect sense - because he is able to uncover his system, which in my case (and that of most people) remains largely hidden and only hinted at.

The ability to lay out your system of thought is the ability and the effort of philosophy.

Houellebecq is a philosopher for that reason (and not because his phrases are aphoristically striking, or because he mentions Kant).

***

True philosophical thinking - whether painstakingly systematic or not - requires great fearlessness and audacity. Timidity of thought (rather than word) is the chief obstacle to overcome. It may perhaps be said that all great philosophers (who are the only ones preserved for us to know) became what they were through sheer audacy of thought rather than mere intelligence.

Many a one is brilliant - only a few are bold.

This is the one crucial difference between philosophical commentators (who often look and sound like philosophers) and real thinkers. Shestov looked like a commentator and a critic while in reality he was a philosopher. So with Houellebecq who only looks like a writer of fiction. The measure of greatness in all of this is relative - one can only be bold to his own measure.

But when one is able to uncover his system, it sounds true and makes sense - even though you, the observer, might desagree and dislike.

The act of uncovering is what thinking is all about.





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