Stale air to clean air

A change in philosophy

March 11th 2017
Suppose I walk into a house in the middle of winter where everything is closed, the doors and windows are tightly shut. The air is foul-smelling, because for warmth, the animals have also been allowed in: the cat, the dog, even the horse, and the pig. By staying in this confined atmosphere the inhabitants are completely chloroformed, they feel nothing. If I now have to explain to them that they live in an unhealthy atmosphere, there would be endless discussion, and I would be wasting my time. So I take a different approach and invite them to come out for a walk with me. We walk in the fresh air for a half hour, or an hour, and then return. When they open the door they exclaim loudly and wonder how they could possibly have existed in this contaminated air – so to speak, since this story is obviously symbolic – with such narrow or erroneous points of view. Without having to explain anything, they themselves understand, because they immediately experience the difference; they make the comparison. Perhaps when they went out they did not fully realize how good it is to breathe fresh air, but on their return when they suffocate, then they understand. And that’s what I try to do with you: when I speak to you, I take you for a while into regions where you breathe clean air, so that when you return you decide to leave behind a philosophy that chokes you.