What do you do on the Road?
Back in the 1950s, Martin Heidegger published a compilation of his later works “Conversation on a Country Path”. On his way through the backwaters of the Black Forest, a philosopher with a world-wide name met random passers-by (often peasants) and talked with them about being.
On the way and in conversations was the conceptual character of Friedrich Nietzsche, Zarathustra:
“And what does a saint do in the forest?” Zarathustra asked.
The saint replied: “I compose songs and sing them, and when I compose songs, I laugh, cry and mutter to myself in the beard: so I praise God. I sing praise to God, my God, singing, weeping and mumbling. But say, are you giving us a gift?”
Hearing these words, Zarathustra bowed to the saint and said: “What could I give you? Let me rather go, so that something I did not take from you!” – So they parted in different directions, the elder and the man, and everyone laughed, as children laugh.
Karl Jaspers generally defined philosophizing as being in a way. But what am I talking about …?
Ah, yes … Now calculate, how much time we spend every day on the road. And where we “travel” does not matter: to study, to work, to home, to yoga / pilates studio or to the store for bread.
And what do we do while we are on the road? We are nervous, late for the destination, “trills” with friends and family on the phone, we argue with pedestrians (if the driver) and, conversely, with drivers or both (if the cyclist), we hurry, we run – in general, we kill time as much as we can.
It is clear that we are surrounded not by age-old trees from the known Black Forest and not the mountain air, but, probably, time to stop and think can be found even in such a daily (sometimes gray, sometimes nervous) way that confronts us.
Philosophical practice, like any other form of philosophizing, involves posing a question (or problem) and thinking about its solution. And let it be a problem not of a universal plan (what is the ontos of love), but of a local personal (do I love this person) – in any case we get what can be called a philosophical practice with the self.
And yet, what do you do on the road?..