Tuesday, April 20, 2010

* Hell or Heaven

Petrillo: Philosophy’s afterlife
By Justin Petrillo
Guest Columnist
The Yale Daily News

Published Tuesday, April 20, 2010

When we live in a society together, it is our duty to not shy away from others and the structures that keep us together, but to imagine and build a better society, to create the world that defines who we are and that lives on after us. This attitude and engagement is politics. When Aristotle said we were political animals, he meant that we find ourselves with others and that it is our telos to create a world with them from which we can have meaning love, identity, history, imagination and destiny. And if we don’t, he says, we will be very lonely creatures.
Once man discovered that...

#1 By Let's Talk: The Other is hell (or heaven) at 10:01 a.m. April 20, 2010

Let's talk.

This thought-provoking piece ignores 30 years of my life: the existentialists.

In "The Other" Jean-Paul Sartre asserts that "People are hell." This is far from the spirit of cooperative necessity you seem to believe undergirds us all and yet it acknowledges "the agency of each individual."

I believe Sartre would change the Self and thereby change the world (since the Self creates the world!).

So too would Socrates, except I think he believed the world pre-exists the Self.

"Relationships" are decidedly the idolatry of the post-therapeutic generation.

They have become almost beatified by those who believe exactly the OPPOSITE of Sartre (People are Heaven), hence our catastrophic divorce rate, when people jolt alert from the sleep-walking of childhood and realize they have married the wrong person, pursued the wrong career, etc.(Sometimes this takes decades.)

Your article states, "But while poetry can help us understand experience more than systematic phenomenology, it is a private activity we do, hiding away from or preparing us for the common world that awaits us."


Even Emily Dickinson (The Queen Mother of Hermits like Salinger and Pynchon) WANTED AN AUDIENCE: She just never succeeded in getting one and thumbed her nose at the world.

All poetry is didactic and REQUIRES a learner. Whether that learning takes place in the head or the heart is another discusssion.

I take it from your article that the heart as the seat of emotion is a decidedly 19th Century notion which went the way of the wind?

Anyway (to use Holden Caulfield's second-favorite word, used 5000 times in "Catcher"), thanks for the useful thoughts.


PS: My recollection is that Sartre refused the Nobel Prize in Literature for fear it "would limit the impact of his writing" and then prompty had himself photographed in a black tuxedo standing adrift on an icepan in an ocean of white (holding a martini glass).

#2 By boring 11:36a.m. on April 20, 2010

Wow. Did you even read Aristotle? This is one of the worst op-es the YDN has ever printed. Was there really nothing else to print?

#3 By que 11:50p.m. on April 20, 2010

Petrillo is president.

Let's talk-- 30 years on Sartre and you still don't realize that he was superseded by Heidegger within 10 years of Being and Nothingness? But Sartre could rock that black tuxedo, word.

Boring-- get off the sparknotes

#4 By No Exit (Stage left) 1:42a.m. on April 21, 2010

Didn't spend 30 years ON Sartre---that's how long he dominated the discussion.
Not so sure Heidegger superseded Sartre. Maybe as a philosopher, but not as an artist.
Besides, Sartre had Simone de Beavoir as an intellectual companion and counterpart. A lot more interesting conversation going on there than Heidegger's dusty theological chatter.


#5 By i like philosophy 1:56a.m. on April 21, 2010

but this is really long, boring, and poorly written

#6 By i love philosophy 11:08a.m. on April 21, 2010

spot on!

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