Quote of the Day – 26 September 2017: Journal of Paltiniş – Gabriel Liiceanu
In the evening, Noica came up to our hotel. He tells us how, an hour earlier, he had broken up with an engineer who, looking for him in Bucharest, had been directed to Păltiniş. (Taking the road to Păltiniş – train + bus – is an ordalitic, similar in another plan "the 10 hours of Greek test", to which any young man willing to remain near Noica should be subject. Most of them gave up; cultural selection principle.) The engineer – a man of about 35 to 40 years – had written a paper entitled About the fairness of the world's making, which he brought to Noica, asking him to tell him his thought of her. He had arrived from Bucharest at 5:00 a.m., and at 5:30 he was back, and he would be home around 2:00 a.m. Engineer Z.'s work is accompanied by two to three pages addressed to Noica. They begin like this: "Sir, I know your time is precious. I think you are a thinker with an important role in the great confrontation that takes place in the world between life and death. And I consider myself a modest fighter for life, with the light I have, as much as she is. In each man is justified the tendency to approach the source of his life. I therefore hope that, sir, that by turning a little to the rinsing efforts of my thinking materialized in the work I send you, you will not deny me your guidance." The work, which I browsed, is a suite of socratic microdialogues worn in the plant, through which they try – what a strange sensation! – an anamnetic bringing to the surface of love hidden in the depths of the human being in its configuration here ("the fact of the presence of love in people and his connection to life"). The pages, fatally diletante (but does that matter?), are full of comfort, especially since they come from a non-cultural. As long as "a producer of material goods" still asks the question of the meaning of life, the world still has a chance of eternity. ("To think the meaning of love – write sit somewhere engineer Z. – means to illuminate the laws of preserving and increasing life.")
Noica then tells us the small Timişorean tour a week ago, provoked by the invitation of Dr. Lăzărescu. "I spoke in front of about ten or fifteen psychiatrists and tried to tell them, using Jaspers' example, that you can't reach philosophy through a continuous climb – psychiatry, psychology and from here, by another step, to philosophy. Philosophy, in its strange madness, involves a turnaround, a periagogé, requires a Damascus. You don't get to have access to a certain degree of generality, to have general ideas, to make philosophy. Philosophy is not done in the margin of a science, as a simple extension of it in a higher thought. Philosophy is not done with psychology, it is done with philosophy, so with a prior blindness, with that Damascus that involves conversion, rupture, passage into another language, which Hegel determined as the language of reason, distinguishing it from that of intellect. When you enter philosophy you change your name, your name can no longer be Called Saul or Kepha; You call yourself Paul or Peter. Of course it's not easy to explain what it means to have a philosophical organ. You can say that Plato, Hegel and Heidegger have sure, as it's all certain that a Descartes or a Leibniz don't have. I haven't stopped wondering all my life whether or not Aristotle had this organ and I'm inclined to think rather that not, although I admit that over his problems you can't get through. In any case, it is clear that questions are often asked in the language of non-philosophy, as hegel's backyard counsellors or a religious lady who wanted to find out where the Hegelian Spirit in history was intended. And harm hegel did when he agreed to answer a question asked in the language of non-philosophy and came to talk about the Prussian state when, in fact, it is clear that in the language of philosophy neither that question nor the answer has no purpose. And well he does Eliade when he doesn't fall for the language of non-philosophy and refuses to say, from the height of the spirit of all religions, what he believes in."
Tonight, Andrei started reading the pages of my diary so far. Thinking he'd judge them stylistically, I had thracian. If something happens here – and only if it happens – then it's something beyond "style"; it's the attempt, perhaps needy, to suggest a closed, epiphenomenal, hard-to-understand world from the outside, an existence composed of weightless events, a kind of exemplary adventure of the spirit, a protreptic and propedetic epic. After reading the pages, I spoke to Andrei until 2:00 a.m. Dissolving, aporetic discussion, an inventory of our cultural handicaps – a bad high school, the lack of fundamental readings made in their time, the lack of systematic and mechanical working skills, capable of defeating the disorderly humorality of each Days. I remember a word from C. that our generation (but there is a generation today?), so that they can reach them, they should go as far into success as they went into failure. We think that Cioran and Noica are two theoretical poles among whom – atitudinal – our culture has moved: pessimistic lucidity and im Trotz optimism. "Don't you think, Andrei tells me, that in the end, in optimists like Noica, the splendor of humanity is achieved? They are the great beneficial, the good nations who hand us or pull us forward." I think noica's exhortation again from the letter he wrote to me in 1967, six months after I met him: "There is so much to do in this world! Give yourself, Rafail, give yourself!"
But Noica's pedagogy never summed up the passion of a simple exhortation. As an extraordinary coach, he knew how to take us from where we were and propose the ideals of cultural performance without crushing us under them, but also without giving us the illusion that we could touch them by cheating. Noica is therefore our cultural opportunity. Through it we were given living contact with a very high cultural model, which spared us from pseudoconfrontations with an ignoble cultural environment and taught us to look at the facts of culture from the height of the model that he himself set up and touched.
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