Mental Floss

Martin Heidegger – Thinking the Unthinkable

“We are attempting to learn thinking. The way is long. We dare take only a few steps. If all goes well they will take us to the foothills of thought. But they will take us to places which we must explore to reach the point where only the leap will help further. The leap alone takes us into the region where thinking resides. We shall therefore take a few practice leaps right at the start, though we won’t notice it at once, nor need to…In contrast to a steady progress, where we move unawares from one thing to the next and everything remains alike, the leap takes us abruptly to where everything is different, so different that it strikes us as strange. Abrupt means the sudden sheer descent or rise that marks the chasm’s edge. Though we may not founder in such a leap, what the leap takes us to will confound us.” – Martin Heidegger

Read More…

Jean-Paul Sartre: The Road to Freedom

The late Jean-Paul Sartre is arguably one of the best known philosophers of the twentieth century. His indefatigable pursuit of philosophical reflection, literary creativity and, in the second half of his life, active political commitment, gained him worldwide renown, if not admiration. He is commonly considered as one of the leading figures of Existentialist philosophy, and whose writings set the tone for occidental intellectual life in the decade immediately following the Second World War. A student of Edmund Husserl and his phenomenology, Sartre brought a refreshingly startling philosophical perspective on contemporary life, society and being.

Read More…

Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

Friedrich Nietzsche‘s revitalizing philosophy of the late 19th century challenging the foundations of theological beliefs and practices, along with questioning traditional morality, remains influential to this day. His tendency to seek explanations for commonly-accepted values and outlooks in the less-elevated realms of sheer animal instinct was also crucial to Sigmund Freud’s development of psychoanalysis. Quoting Nietzsche: “What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’ … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.” Watch.

Read More…

Slavoj Žižek: The Sublime Object of Ideology

Slovene philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek became widely recognized as an important theorist of contemporary times with the publication of ‘The Sublime Object of Ideology‘, his first book to be written in English, in 1989. Since then, he has taken the contemporary philosophical world by storm, as one who is never afraid of confrontation. Žižek’s work, indeed, cannot be categorized easily. He calls for a return to the the Cartesian subject, the idea that there is a split between the mind and body, and that the human is a ‘liberal autonomous subject’. He also calls for a return to ‘The German Ideology’, in particular the works of Hegel, Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schelling. His work draws much on the works of Jacques Lacan, all the while moving his theory towards modern political and philosophical issues, and miraculously, finding the potential for liberatory politics. Watch.

Read More…

Edward Said: The Dutch Interview

The late Edward Said‘s sparkling intelligence shines through in this Interview by Michaël Zeeman for the Dutch television programme ‘Leven en Werken’, VPRO in 2000. Quoting Said “At bottom, the intellectual, in my sense of the word, is neither a pacifier nor a consensus-builder, but someone whose whole being is staked on a critical sense, a sense of being unwilling to accept easy formulas of ready-made clichés, or the smooth, ever-so-accommodating confirmations of what the powerful or conventional have to say and what they do. Not just passively unwillingly, but actively willing to say so in public.” Edward Said remains an inspiration.

Read More…

1 2 3 4 Scroll to top