Roger-Pol Droit

101 Experiences of Daily Philosophy Publication date : January 1, 2001

This highly original book consists of 101 short texts, each describing an experiment or something to do. Although the practical exercises are easy to accomplish, they are often disconcerting. Examples include: drinking while urinating, imagining peeling an apple, running in a cemetery, or naming an ordinary object 20 times. Some of the exercises will make the reader aware of how strange an apparently banal action can seem: walking in the dark, eating too much, trying on clothes, coming out of a cinema in broad daylight. The exercises are described clearly and precisely, in the manner of how-to sections in women’s magazines and family newspapers, but their purpose is philosophical: the goal being to experience the unexpected through simple actions and events. Surprising adventures are possible in daily life. Our habits and expectations will be upset by these exercises. They will shake up the certainties that underlie our identity, speech, relations to time and space, memory, etc. They aim to make us perceive metaphysical issues, both physically and emotionally. In an earlier book, La Compagnie des Philosophes, Roger-Pol Droit claimed that thinkers were, above all, existential experimenters, men and women who live unusual experiences in an ordinary world. He has now taken his argument one step further, creating games and exercises that function as a perfectly tuned mechanism to enable us to feel issues that are generally regarded as abstract. In his highly readable, incisive style he has succeeded in transforming ideas into feelings.

Roger-Pol Droit is a philosopher and researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. His articles are published regularly in the French daily newspaper Le Monde. He is the author of La Compagnie des Philosophes, published in paperback by Poches Odile Jacob.