“What happens to the mind when we leave the language we are thinking about? »

Heraclitus has wonderful words: “to the listeners, not me, but the discourse”. The essence of philosophy is to produce a well -argued discourse, to develop concepts that tend towards the universal. Philosophy is not the immersion in self -narration. It is not about self-expression but, on the contrary, detachment from the self.

Hence my reluctance to pour in biographical and anecdotal; they make me tired, these pseudo-philosophers who brag about their lives and give their opinion on everything. There is a philosophy of opinion and there is a philosophy of elaboration. It was eventually that I was committed. And that’s why I can only speak from my books. But, because you insisted …

Experiencing mental confusion

When I was young, I already had a desire to leave mentally, for a disturbance, perhaps also for rudeness, for discord. So, unlike my two older siblings, I refused to take the classic route, that of Ena and the Administration. I left Grenoble, which I hated throughout my youth, like Stendhal, to “climb” Paris, with the idea that my existence was an intellectual life with a philosophical vocation.

I wanted to be a Hellenist: Greek had effects of clarity and intelligence that I found remarkable. When I was preparing for the École Normale Supérieure, we were called, a friend and I, the “homerizers”! All the Greeks fascinated me, the philosophers, the poets and the Fathers of the Church – the Greek of Origen was a marvel as well.

At the same time, I know that intellectual life can be very boring. My obsession is to find myself in “knitting socks for the mind”, as Nietzsche said. So, instead of starting a thesis on Aristotle like I thought after the compilation, I wanted to go out on the harmony of thought to see how to think differently.

The biases of the European cause

We say we are the heirs of the Greeks, but what do we know about this heritage until we get out of it? I looked elsewhere, which I saw in China. I made this choice not because of an interest in China as such or because of a taste for travel, especially not because of exoticism, but because it is pure exteriority, through its history and language. So this is a strategic choice.

I don’t blame myself, “tatamize” myself or be a Maoist, but experience a change of scenery, a mental distress. What happens to the mind when we leave the language we are thinking about? We come out of the philosophies composed as, God, truth, freedom, happiness, etc. ?

Thanks to the space opened up by the Chinese mind, the implicit biases of European reason will once again be noticeable, interesting, because singular, outrageous. It was a detour made by a return to go back to the flow of European philosophy, to question it with entrenched choices that it no longer sees as options, so much so that it has assimilated them. Indirect, cunning approach, to try to reach the unimaginable of our psyche and thus be able to think of new costs.


Ease of developing concepts

I came to China in 1975, at the end of the Cultural Revolution, before Mao died. I was a bargaining chip for the Normal School in exchange for a Chinese who came 10 years ago to study the only thing that could be studied in France at the time: Eugène Pottier, the author of the International!

The sudden departure from the intellectual comfort of the École Normale to Beijing of the end of Maoism was… I saw for myself what a dictatorship was. I saw what I didn’t suspect: belief, arbitrariness and all the gregarious baseness that it generates. People I met at university or on the street put their hands in front of their mouths for fear of being suspected if they talked to me.

I was probably learning more Chinese at Harvard, as offered to me, but this first trip to Far Asia was an existential adventure. In 1977, I returned to France for my postgraduate studies, then I left to live for three years in Hong Kong where I was responsible for the French Sinology Branch.

There, I met scholars who survived the Cultural Revolution. Then, to complete my sinological studies, I lived for more than a year in Japan. From there I was a philosopher, Hellenist and sinologist. Since this site opened up between Europe and China, I began the second phase of my work that touched on the existential. Especially with urgency now.


“I am the way, the truth, the life”

In fact, I believe it is necessary to enter into a fight against a sub-thought. To denounce this pseudo-wisdom brought about by personal development, as well as by the philosophy of opinion I taught at the beginning.

How can this soft-mindedness grow to the point of covering philosophy even on the shelves of our bookstores and drive it away? We need to go back to the big change made by the Greeks who chose to think about wisdom (sofia) in terms of knowledge (episteme).

This is why, in Europe, lifestyle is taken over by religion: “I am the way, the truth, the life”, “I live and you will live”, said Jesus. However, with the current departure of religion, the realm of living has fallen into isolation, making the merchants bed of happiness and their sales. It is up to philosophers, then, to reinvest this lost ground by developing concepts, with ethical and political vocation, in other words, tools that, by their abstraction, work.

Reopening possibilities

“De-coincidence” is one of the concepts I’ve been trying to promote in this sense. When objects coincide, in the basic, geometric sense, when they completely overlap, one might think that everything is for the best: it is “sticky”. Now, this adequation, by establishing itself in its adequation, becomes sterile; its positivity pours into positivity. And it is deadly.

Therefore, it is a question of undoing this frozen opportunity to re-open the possibilities and start working again. An artist is an artist only because he or she de-coincides with the art that has already been made. Thinking is the de-coinciding with thought. The same is true in politics: an idea, when it is put together, is no longer considered, becomes an ideology that imposes its clarity, hides a compliance and yields passivity.

“Life does not live”

Take the word “stability”, which we put as a band-aid to all the negatives happening today, we follow it without thinking. Our political life is hampered by these ideological covers, which block the mind and society.

De-coincidence is also ethical that I only encounter others as long as I know how to de-coincide with myself. And that I only really live as long as I de-coincide with what I’ve lived, without it I tend to have sterile repetition that only prolongs “being-in-life” but no longer living life. Life is always in danger of being lost. “Real life is missing”, written by Rimbaud; “Life does not live”, quotes Adorno as an epigraph to her Minima Moralia. It loses itself in “non -life”, in a life resigned, bogged down, separated and re -adopted.

“Real life” is not another life, a perfect life, but a life that says no to the appearance of life: a life that is “de-resigned”, is “de-bogged down”, is “de-bogged down” . ‑Alien ”, is“ de-reified ”. In other words, by de-coinciding with that life, the normalization itself, is lost and can no longer open up new possibilities.


What our lives cannot measure

Our lives are traversed by the immeasurable. Go out to a cemetery where someone is still buried. The words you say don’t equal what happened. But you have to live, so back to the standard proposition, that is the reality of language, like money, in society.

In the West, God has long contained this immeasurable, in the double sense of content: both accepted and contained. It seems to me that this figure is no longer necessary to carry it. Once it is no longer referred to God, the immeasurable reveals that eternity should no longer be referred to beyond experience, but it does not stop at crossing our experience through the cracks of eternity (as it is not. measured numbers), opening it from the inside to dizziness.

Thus, we are immanent-existing beings. Because, by staying in the world, we can avoid ourselves in the world, which is properly meant by “ex-isting”.

The stages of his life
1951 Born in Embrun (05).
1972 Join the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.
1978-1981 Head of the French Sinology Antenna in Hong Kong.
1983 Doctor of Letters.
1995 President of the International College of Philosophy, in Paris. Holds a chair with others on the foundation of the Maison des sciences de l’homme.
2010 Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought.
2011 Grand Prize for Philosophy from the French Academy for all his work.
2022 Publish the immeasurable at Moses of China (the Observatory).

What a dis-coincidence!
“Faced with the declining apathy in France and Europe, I seemed to have to devote myself to an active participation, of philosophical necessity, in public life. So I founded the Dé-coincidences organization in accordance with my conceptual project. Not to give my opinion or take a position, but to promote de-coincidence as a concept in the field: everyone, wherever they are, can break “matches” that are frozen and sterilized, to reopen possibilities. and restore thought.motion.and society.With the idea that these unique initiatives can connect, exchange and support each other. “There are still cracks that we make the caves collapse”, assurance of Solzhenitsyn. »
Information: association.decoincidences.fr

Leave a Comment