4.1.11

Philosophers in Winter

Charles Simic asks how we might be philosophical about wintry weather
Le Châtelard, Village of Saint-Sigismond, France
Photograph: Jean Gaumy/Magnum Photos
As the ice, hail and snow continues for many of us, Charles Simic ponders a philosophy of winter:
If only Plato and Socrates had to scrape the ice off their windshields and deal with dead car batteries, I was going to add, when the horrifying realization struck me that, despite our interminable New Hampshire winters and our supposedly heightened state of intelligence, we’ve never of late up here produced one philosopher that anyone would care to remember. So, this uncanny feeling that I have, when I get up in the middle of the night and tiptoe on bare feet down to the cold kitchen to peek at the thermometer outside, that I’m on the verge of a supreme insight, something worthy of Blaise Pascal contemplating the silence of the infinite universe, turns out to be all hooey. Well, perhaps not entirely: the one whose mind is clear senses himself free, a master of his destiny. Who says philosophy is incompatible with hard labor of self-preservation? When I’m shoveling snow off the roof I sneak admiring glances at myself as if I were Nietzsche’s superman. [Read more]

Also at A Piece of Monologue