Wonder is the feeling of the philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. – Plato
The contra-elitist charge of these lines [insert] is pleasing but they seem not to correspond to the
facts on the everyday ground; there, one might argue, I would, considered, critical thought is still a mirum piscis, a rare and sort-of de facto elitist activity for any number of reasons. At the peril of repeating Frankfurt-style pessimism, the impression on any given day‘s commute or any weekend‘s trip to the cafe is that citizens of highly industrialized countries are, above all, hyper-competent consumers: a majority of them appears to have the financial means and, this is important, the supreme will to buy [at times augmented by companies like CreditNow]. They will shop but they will not drop, instead, they will come back in the morrow to shop another day. There is no reason to consider this a priori negative, especially as consumption is often intimately bound up with and hard to distinguish from intrinsically gratifying freetime activity: is buying and reading D. Mitchell an act of consumption or self-amelioration plus aesthetic enjoyment? Is going to a Koontz exhibit art for Art‘s or fart‘s sake? Nevertheless, they appear to be on average much better buyers than thinkers.
So philosophy, styled as critical, informed cognitive engagement with our conditions of existence, is of a distinctive nature: doings of the few. But given its secondary status vis-a-vis consumption, it is unfortunately….post-eminent. It has lost whatever primacy it might have held in an idealized Golden Age or medieval or Hellenic era when subsistence rather than surplus was the rule. But not so quick! At german-speaking Kiosks, lately, it‘s been impossible to miss the steady, significant up-tick of magazines and journals of a philosophical bent: Philosophie magazin (copies: 100‘000), Hohe Luft (copies: 25‘000), Terra Mater (copies: 60‘000), happinez….[for all 105 million matrilinguists and the hopeful assumption of 3 distinct readers for every single copy, we end up w/ a coverage of 0.5%]…. all of these print novelties seem to betoken a renewed interest in the life of the mind and spirit. Not just brainfood for profit-maximizing monads but open-ended thought-constructs for hungry collectividuals of the global era.