The Music of Thinking: A Literary Experiment with the Great Themes of Philosophy
In his book Theorien (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2009) Martin Seel presents a philosophical and literary experiment in which he desists from introducing a single grand theory in favour of offering a number of smaller theories. In an aphoristic manner these personal and poetic observations are linked to rigorous reflections on the classical themes of human selfunderstanding: happiness and morality, failure and beauty, sickness and death, sense and understanding, knowledge and freedom, religion and music. Staying clear of disciplinary formations, the author shuffles the cards of epistemology, ethics and aesthetics in order to address philosophy as a whole without extinguishing its fire within the confines of a systematic edifice. This collection of shortcuts can be read from beginning to end, or backwards, or starting in the middle; as a reflection on thinking; a play with the voices of passion; a variation on foundations and pitfalls of action; a defence of the indeterminate in all that is determinate; as a fragment of a prosaic confession. These heterogeneous gestures unfold an improvised text that tracks the uncertainties of life and of writing. This text is an excerpt from the book, published in Die Zeit no. 37, September, 2009.