Whence Comes Nihilism, the Uncanniest of All Guests?

Friedrich Nietzsche was most famously concerned with the problem of nihilism. All societies, in his view, rely on implicit value judgments. If the foundations of these are lost, he predicts terrible consequences: widespread apathy or violent, fanatical attempts to reclaim a sense of purpose, or perhaps both.

The Last Line of a Poem by Pierre Béarn: ‘Métro Boulot Dodo’

Many of us confront the monotonous modern cycle of commuting (métro) and working (boulot) until we're ground into sleep (dodo). There's a French idiom that nicely sums up the life of the Sisyphean commuter: Métro Boulot Dodo [me-tro boo-lo doh-doh]. In English, we might say: "eat, work, sleep, repeat." But nah... it sounds more existentially despairing in French. … Continue reading The Last Line of a Poem by Pierre Béarn: ‘Métro Boulot Dodo’

Philographics: L’Art Pour La Vie Philosophique

What is art for? "L'art pour l'art" wrote Théophile Gautier as a slogan in 1835. And today's bohemians continue to repeat the creed "Art for art's sake." It's a catchy slogan, still what most people unreflectively tell themselves when confronted with the question: "What is the purpose of art?"