By Witold Gombrowicz
Witold Gombrowicz (1904-1969), novelist, essayist, and playwright, was once some of the most vital Polish writers of the 20th century. A candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1968, he was once defined by means of Milan Kundera as “one of the good novelists of our century” and by means of John Updike as “one of the profoundest of the past due moderns.”
Gombrowicz’s works have been thought of scandalous and subversive via the ruling powers in Poland and have been banned for almost 40 years. He spent his final years in France instructing philosophy; this publication is a sequence of reflections in line with his lectures.
Gombrowicz discusses Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, Sartre, and Heidegger in six “one-hour” essays and addresses Marxism in a shorter “fifteen-minute” piece. The text—a small literary gem filled with sardonic wit, amazing insights, and provocative criticism—constructs the philosophical lineage of his work.
Read or Download A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes PDF
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Additional resources for A Guide to Philosophy in Six Hours and Fifteen Minutes
He has fun with the world. He perceives its atrocities but delights in its atrocities. The genius in general is useless in practical life, because he does not seek his personal interest. He is antisocial, but sees the world better because he is objective. Schopenhauer makes a very good comparison in saying that a mediocre man’s intelligence resembles a flashlight, which shines only on what it is seeking, whereas a superior intelligence is like the sun, which illuminates everything. From there derives the objectivity of the art of the genius.
As if it were cut in two, and it is this which permits it to be conscious of itself. So it is a secondary being, compared to the Being in itself. Curious thing: this rudimentary comparison that I have managed to do can seem naïve. Yet it leads to real concepts, for example, that the human being is empty because of the well-known intentionality of consciousness. If a chair is a chair, then consciousness is never identical to itself because one must always be conscious of something. One cannot imagine empty consciousness.
This has no meaning, because when the collective world (of things) finishes, we still have space and time. But as the world is the synthesis of everything, it cannot be limited to a limited whole. One must see here a certain philosophical idea which consists of reducing things to obvious facts. Second antinomy. The cosmos is made up simultaneously of divisible and indivisible elements. One can reduce this antinomy to what could be called the limitation of the thing. The thing (or object) must inevitably be limited in order for it to be a thing.