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In « Les Chemins du Possible », Marie Robert brushes off philosophy


Taking control of your life after the storm is the main message of Mary Robert’s new novel. This philosophy professor, who was the author of the podcast titled « Philosophy Is Exciting, » publishes at the age of thirty-five paths of the possible (Flammarion), This Wednesday, November 3. The reader finds himself immersed in the existential questions of a woman, Penelope, through the major schools of thought. More than just an introductory story, here Marie Robert gives us a lesson in philosophy. A book that is as universal as it is personal.

Marian: paths of the possible It follows a period of Penelope’s life as well as her existential questions. Is your business a reference to The Iliad And Odyssey ?

Mary Robert: Yes, and that is the red thread in my first novel. Penelope’s Journey. The character of Penelope changes her life: she leaves Paris, her partner, her profession and decides to go to Greece. It’s a direct tribute to The Iliad And the trip In the background is the question of what would have happened if it was not Odysseus who left but Penelope. In fact, Penelope is the embodiment of the long-awaited fixed character. It is completely secondary in the trip. Here I wanted to adapt this question to the contemporary world.

Why direct your business around travel?

Note that I wrote my first novel while in confinement so I think the allure of travel was especially eye-catching! On the one hand, I wanted to tell a personal epic story by addressing existential questions. However, in the arrangement of the elementary novel, we shift as cities and stages progress: the journey fits well into this structure.

“It is not right to think that philosophy is too French. It spins, travels, moves from one crisis to another, from one country to another, from one era to another…”

On the other hand, I wanted to show in these two narratives that thought is not built in a place and in a day, but rather in a place and time. what we call « Western Philosophy » It is only a long journey. It is not fair to think that philosophy is too French. It rotates, it travels, it moves from one crisis to another, from one country to another, from one era to another … It is thanks to travel that we change and enrich our thinking.

During her philosophical journey, Penelope is confident that she wants to « Open your eyes wide » to her « Travelers ». Can philosophy cure ills?

It may succeed in curing diseases, but no promises. It is a question of independence. Neither Kant, nor Nietzsche, nor Sartre will promise us that after reading it, we will get better. On the other hand, if we go through this analysis, if we agree to get our hands dirty, we might feel better.

“Philosophy allows the question, where personal development provides answers.”

This sentence from Paul Valery illustrates my point very well: « The wind is blowing! You have to try to live! ». The world we live in lends itself to reflection. What do we give birth to after chaos? This is the problem you brought me to paths of the possible. It’s great to reinvent everything but you can’t do it in a couple of days.

« Take his life in his own hands » is the main message of possible paths. “If everything we share is a building, that means we can build differently.” Write for yourself. Are we also subject to the rules and roles that life imposes upon us? Can we change it?

Yes, I am convinced of that. Philosophy pushes us to analyze, hindsight, and construct our own thought. To think of one’s life is to live one’s thought, I say. When we break it down, we sometimes realize that things we think used to be are not at all. We find them in all areas of our lives: romantic, professional, family, and even societal. The past two years have shown us that there is no one way to work and current, for example. Philosophy allows the question, where personal development provides answers. So, I think we can find other rules.

Motherhood is an essential component of your novel. The reader crosses it with Penelope: from apprehension to acceptance. Can’t we control everything?

I took the example of motherhood but it can be all things that you give birth to. I am 35 years old and have no children and people are constantly asking me if I have any. However, wanting to have it or not having it is complicated. I find it hard to think about it without thinking. If Penelope ends up accepting her, it’s because she’s on her way. I marveled. Overall, I don’t think you can switch from one mental state to another in a jiffy. I love the flight perspective. Give ourselves space to think about the things that happen to us.

The difficulty is that we are evolving in an accelerating society. We are required to interact greatly, often blocking the field of consciousness. »

The difficulty is that we evolve in an acceleration society. We are required to interact greatly, often blocking the field of consciousness. However, it is the latter that allows us to correctly express our actions. Thought gives more solidity to an individual’s action.

Philosophical ideas and concepts are sometimes disgusting in their technique. Will the philosophical novel as you envision it be a way to attract more readers to philosophy?

This is really the approach I take with my novels and my Instagram account « Philosophy is sexy ». However, the latter is sometimes treated as a generalization. I don’t think we realize how elitist, bourgeois and perpetual philosophy is. My business is above all a bridge business. I try to be universal enough in my choice of subjects. Some will stop there, but others will probably buy a book by Simone de Beauvoir. It is impossible to sum up an idea in four lines, but my novel can allow philosophy to be bold.

Cover of Les Chemins du Possible by Marie Robert.


paths of the possible, Mary Robert. so. Flammarion, 249 pages, 19 euros.

Read also:Crisis in school: « We are no longer trained to think, so students are satisfied with faith »


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