Die, Philosophy, Die!

After Buddha was dead, his shadow was still shown for centuries in a cave – a tremendous, gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way of men, there may still be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will be shown – And we – we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.                                                                                              Nietzsche, The Gay Science 108

 The death of philosophy is upon us. It already been upon us for many centuries. Maybe you are just hearing about it now. Or more like, smelling it, a corpse rotting until there is nothing left, only a skeleton left in the closet. The title of a book – “Plato, not Prozac” suggests philosophy has therapeutic value for an age saturated with pharmaceutical solutions – answers from the pharmakon? Poussin?

The madman says: God is dead; and we have killed him.

Why associate philosophy with G_d?  Head made some disparaging comments about Jacques Derrida, posthumously (poor fella didn’t even get a chance to make a rebuttal). Philosophy did not die with Jacques Derrida but Head’s comments on the “Derrida Industry” brought to mind a conversation between Derrida and Lacan wherein Lacan says to Derrida, “I’m worried about what you will do to my work after I die” or words to that effect.

Lacan needn’t have been worried. As Zizek pointed out in his movie, no-one is using Derrida well (except Spivak.) Its Lacan all the way, baby… Derrida is too difficult, too specialised as if we mightn’t level the same complaint at any expert in any field from quantum mechanics to behavioural psychology.

Head makes an example of Derrida’s interview concerning September 11 attacks in New York – Derrida’s work gives “bullshit a bad name.” All this from a man who is dismayed at the state of philosophy in the US where there are “no public intellectuals in the U.S., since there is no public intellectual discourse.”

Perhaps Head was feeling inadequate on the the day of the blog for this is what Nietzsche famously called the “great politics of revenge” in the Genealogy of Morals.

What confuses me even more about Head is that he has written a book on Nietzsche’s book. It has garnered some favourable reviews on Amazon.com. Undoubtedly – for I am only emale – I am misreading Nietzsche and his critique of good and evil, G_d and the Anti-Christ, the meaning of thesis, antithesis, synthesis and dialectic. Derrida always struck me as one of those ‘free spirits’ “for it pertains to their nature to want to remain a riddle in some respects,” not a “leveller,” not to be drawn into a common, uncritical, plebian notion of the task of philsophy, in its language and presuppositions. That Derrida should – after Nietzsche and Heidegger, even Kierkegaard in his questioning of faith – raise a question mark – a delight in the x – over the meta-theological assumptions present in the history of philosophy, may be a cause for some concern for Head’s work in a pragmatic philosophy, an experimental philosophy – not the gay science, but the serious, sober work of a realist IE a metaphysician.

Head perhaps is demoralised by the state of philosophy – if only someone would lsten to us, the philosophers. ‘Where is the public intellectual discourse, the mouthpiece of the people in right and truth?’ Perhaps this is what Head askes himself… I do not know. We are different species so we do not even speak the same language. Head inhabits caves, excavates and mines the depths of the Word – he levels the earth with his philosophy whilst underneath, opposed to the shadow – there, who knows? one day he may find riven in the side of the earth’s womb…

Et in Arcadia Ego

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