Monday, 20 April 2015 20:00

3. Philosophy and Poetry

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Philosophy and poetry have a common origin: the wonder at the presence of things. Philosophy distinguishes itself from poetry in the moment at which the philosopher breaks his ecstatic wonder by renouncing the multiplicity of appearances to which the poet binds himself. The philosopher seeks unity. One's initial static wonder is violently broken by questioning, and the understanding becomes the dominant faculty.

When in a philosophical context we refer to the relation of philosophy and poetry, the first thing that comes to mind is the condemnation of poets in Plato's Republic on behalf of morality, truth and justice. According to Plato, artists lie, and their lie is all the more dangerous the greater their talent. Artists pretend; they make look real what is not. Of all the artists, the most dangerous is the poet because his tool is the word, and the word is the expression of logos par excellence. But the poetic word can be irrational. For this reason poetry commits the highest betrayal: it deceives reason using her own instrument.

The source of the poetic word is inspiration and this may mean that the poet is only a vehicle, so that he cannot be held responsible for what he says. It is as if the word had been placed at the service of something else that comes to inhabit the poet and owns his mind. The poetic word is thus the result of delirium, the absence of self, while the philosophical word is quite the opposite: it is a word of thought—contention—the result of a life lived in a continuous alert state, always watching, never sleeping.

Nonetheless, the systematic and abstracting procedure philosophy has assumed results in its incapacity to nourish human life. The philosophical quest for truth has entered into a collision route with life. The quest for pure truth humiliates life. Life is not only reason but passion, among many other things. Truth needs to make life fall in love with it.

Perhaps it is necessary in philosophical practice to come back to that initial moment common to both: the moment of wonder. Reason alone is incapable of passing through the shadow territories where philosophy now must enter. Therefore, the heart, as a rhythmic organ, suggests a new way of philosophizing, a way that unites philosophy and poetry that María Zambrano, with rigour and beauty, calls poetic reason.

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Maria Joao Neves

I am a portuguese philosophical practitioner having established my practice in Tavira (Algarve, Portugal) in 2006 and published a book on my methodology, Método RVP© - Prática Filosófica no Quotidiano (The RVP Method - Poetical Ratiovitalism: Philosophical Practice in Ordinary Life), in 2009. Phenomenology of dreams is a particularly important part of the RVP Method.

I currently work as a post-doctoral scholar at Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), where under a grant from the Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal I do research on musical aesthetics. I received my Ph.D. in Contemporary Philosophy from UNL in 2002 with a dissertation on María Zambrano. As a professor, I lecture mainly on Ethics and Aesthetics.

I began piano studies at the age of four, singing and dancing instruction following slightly later. I completed my training as a vinyasa flow yoga instructor in 2011. While not pursued professionally, these activities were never abandoned because it is impossible to leave what nourishes the soul.

I contribute regularly to indexed scientific journals, please see my page at:ãoNeves

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