Saturday, 27 January 2007

L'Oedipe de Goux

"Oedipus before the Sphinx. In the confrontation between the obscure monster who poses riddles and the person who victoriously replies “man” we have the condensation of a decisive historical step, a threshold of thought, a turning point of the spirit. Man is finally at the centre. That is why Hegel made this mythic episode the primitive scene of philosophy." Jean-Joseph Goux, Oedipus, Philosopher, p.163

Fair enough, we might say. But then again: the actual Sphinx, the cosmos, asks no questions of man. The actual Sphinx is perfectly indifferent to us. The only being that asks questions of man is man; and when we think of the cosmos as a questioning entity (‘what is my universal law of gravitation? What is my dark matter? What is my end and origin?') we are of course only projecting ourselves, gassy and vague, upon the enormous screen of uncaring materiality. In effect there is no ‘between’ for the Sphinx and man. There is only man. Man is not so much 'finally at the centre', as finally the centre, margins and everything else too. It would be better to say not Oedipus, philosopher, but Oedipus, solipsizer.

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