A new poem by Chengde Chen which also marks the occasion of the first ‘birthday’ of the blog
Note from the Editors
Today marks the first birthday of the re-launched Philosophical Investigations (affectionately known as Pi)
In this first year of blogging, Pi has established itself alongside the top-rated philosophy blogs worldwide, which represents a modest popularity – and attracted strong ideas and good writing. Pi has been fairly unique in its emphasis, too – in two respects. Firstly, it has widened the compass of philosophy, including reflection on issues made through philosophical poems and images. Secondly, it has sought philosophy, rather than philosophers.
In its first year, Pi has featured essays by thinkers from a wide variety of backgrounds, among them a judge, a monk, a CEO, an architect, a police chief, and many more. This has resulted in a rich mix of ideas: for instance, that inequality has to do with replication, that the 'will to power' is found in the ordinary moments of life, that political science may be controlled by experiences not our own, that the purpose of reason is to flag contradictions, and that strength is found in shared weakness.
As a radical project – that aspires to be not merely philosophical, not merely political, nor even just 'educational' - but to be entertaining – it is hoped that Pi will continue to growand provide an alternative, more democratic kind of blogging.
Not understanding a text, you ask the author to explain.
He refers to some other words, and you thank him.
But, if these words can deliver the meaning better,
shouldn’t they have been used in the first place?
If the author says, “Sorry, I don’t explain.
This, and only this, means what I mean,”
you may find it intolerably arrogant, but
why should what a clear expression is be polluted?
There are writings that are so proper and accurate
that only they themselves can represent themselves.
There are also needs for such precision, e.g.
putting a law in other words may deform justice.
Words can be precise because thoughts can.
Thoughts can be purified and purified like water.
When writing reaches the state of “no explanation”,
it is water that can’t be washed by water.
Chengde Chen is the author of Five Themes of Today: philosophical poems. Readers can find out more about Chengde and his poems here