Ennen politiikkaa

Before politics

The world where the heroes of Homer's Iliad live is a world before there is a political community, a world without a common cause, res publicae. The life of Iliad's heroes is not a private, contemplative life, but, on the contrary, it is entirely public life without public space. In such a world there is no time for reflection, no space for contemplation in peace. Everything is occupied, all space is full. This means that the heroes are in a permanent state of self-actualisation; it is impossible to separate the act from its performer in their deeds. The life the heroes live resembles life in the modern society of communication without a system of representation. The solution Greek society first gave to the problem of Iliad was the invention of public space, the polis. The second solution was the invention of philosophy as a critique of the nihilism of the polis and the political community in the name of life and freedom. The singular lives of the heroes of the Iliad are repeated in philosophy as the philosopher's life in theory. The philosopher attains the sphere of complete freedom when thinking and the thing thought are completely merged into each other in pure theory. But the new heroic life of the philosopher is possible only in exile; in the sphere of political action the deeds of the philosopher are impotent.

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