Consumed by Nostalgia?


“Philosophy is essentially homesickness—the urge to be everywhere at home.” This fragment, a “single gesture” of thought toward an object, is equally about philosophy and about nostalgia. If philosophy is the loss of self (that very memento of loss), which it was for Novalis, then so is the way home. If our struggles abroad, our self-preservation and self-discovery, solidify our self, or multiply it as they did Odysseus’s, then our homecoming is a flight into fluidity or else a shedding of selves. We should arrive vulnerable, not ourselves, as if never having been exposed to the tempest of the elements or confronted with alterity. The self is a journey homeward, the homely return ever beyond the horizon.

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