Roger-Pol Droit

Recent News of Ordinary Objects Publication date : January 13, 2005

“Can you learn anything from ordinary objects - the things you use in your daily life? The answer is: yes, more than you can imagine. You don't usually notice these objects - you just use them. But that's not enough.
“There is much you can learn, simply by looking at things. Perhaps you would discover that a paper clip is an ethical figure, or that a bunch of keys or a street lamp may speak of love. You could also see, for example, that a washing-machine offers a lesson on the migration of souls, or that a supermarket trolley can help understand confused, chaotic feelings. You could even discover the metaphysics of the waste bin, the wisdom of the umbrella, or the revolution of the vacuum cleaner.
“After all, human beings are not the only inhabitants on earth. By undergoing the philosophical experience of ordinary objects, you will discover that these objects can surprise, cause panic, even soothe.
“During the course of one year, I assigned myself a sort of adventure: I kept a diary of my encounter with objects, and I suggest you do the same.
“Briefly, my goal was to try to find the words that are hidden inside objects, to discover the questions that lie at the heart of things.
“My journey took place in four stages: surprise, groping, panicking, feeling soothed. This experience, touched with humour and a hint of folly, also follows the itinerary of an unexpected spiritual journey,” writes Roger-Pol Droit.

Roger-Pol Droit is a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and a regular contributor to the French daily newspaper Le Monde. He is the author of La Compagnie des philosophes, La Compagnie des contemporains and 101 Expériences de philosophie quotidienne, which has been translated into twenty languages and was awarded the France-Télévision prize.