Friday, June 5, 2009

book of dead philosophers

A few days ago I finished up "The Book of Dead Philosophers" by Simon Critchley. It's a fantastic collection of about 190 page-length micro-essays on the deaths and philosophies (sometimes just the deaths) of famous philosophers, dating back to Thales and going through to modern times. This book is full of great meditations on what it is to be a philosopher, from Cicero's "learning how to die" to the kid gloves version: "learning how to live."

I found a quote in there that I particularly enjoy, in that I feel it explains the ideologies of certain people whom I tend to disagree with on a regular basis.

On page 222, Critchley writes (in an essay on Hannah Arendt):

"...[I]f one views political life from a contemplative philosophical distance, one inevitably sees the people as a rabble to be controlled by one form or other of authoritarianism, rather than a human pluality to be participated in and celebrated."

The book is great, check it out.

No comments: