Two weeks ago, I binge-listened to the New Books podcasts: film, anthropology, and philosophy.
Sometimes I like to be quiet and feel the ideas come from within me, but it also feels good to get a drink from an idea firehose and see what sticks.
One of the conversations that stuck with me was with Kim Q Hall on her book Queering Philosophy.
Why should you be interested in this topic? Read on…
The meaning crisis
Fake news is news that is not factually correct. Deep fakes are photorealistic images and videos of real people, made by AI, of fake scenarios and events. What is real, what is fake, what is important, and what is not important?
John Vervaeke, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, says the root of the crises we face: mental health, economic and political turmoil, and environmental degradation is a crisis meaning.
We do not know how to reason anymore. We do not know how to decide what is meaningful.
Reason is broken
Socrates was a gay shaman. Socrates and his “frens” like Aristotle and Parmenides, created new ways to make meaning from their world – and from this, we got western philosophy. And maybe a lot of other things like inequality and war, but also perhaps things like science and this fantastic computer.
Our world is different from the world of the ancient Greeks. I am less interested in how a boat disappears beyond the horizon and more interested in why the algorithm suggested that I buy baby formula.
One way to support a new way to reason is to Queer it.
Could we use a different word? No.
“Queer” is embedded in personal lived experiences, activism, and social convention.
Some ways to queer philosophy include:
- Using methods of queer activism to change the discipline such as a focus on archives and personal stories. Even Hall’s book includes personal anecdotes which I consider queering.
- Examining the “normative” (straight) habits in both the academy and in ideas.
- Make philosophy more embodied. Thinking happens outside the mind as well – as Annie Murphy Paul writes. Queerness is often expressed in the body and in movement and action. And queer bodies are often treated differently than straight bodies.
Ideas and Experience
People say that Freud’s thought could only come from a neurotic.
I often say people don’t have ideas, ideas have people. But these people have lived experiences.
Queering philosophy is one way* we can oscellate bweeen the traditional (dominant) narrative and the personal story: between myth and psychology.
If this was fun for you – give me a follow @hackerm0mor and subscribe to the rewrite ttps://therewrite.substack.com/ – thanks!
*Others include feminist thought, critical race theory, and disability studies.