“Strangers, Gods and Monsters – Interpreting otherness” (2002) by Richard Kearney. This book is a truly inspiring piece of a contemporary philosophy (with an emphasis on a cross-disciplinary approach) – fantastically written, and with a formidable erudition. The theme in itself can make a life-long passion for an artist, a writer or a philosopher alike. It’s universal, immortal, captivating, inexhaustible. A concept and an experience of the liminality of the humanness, the identity and the nature of being/existing as one of the species, being challenged by and/or … living as a ‘stranger/the Other’, ‘a monster’, ‘a deity’… What does it all mean and why most of us take such profound issues as if for granted (actually, not addressing them at all); letting only to be occasionally ‘scared’ by a horror-movie or bedazzled by a genius of a literary/artistic god? How about our true identity/nature, why do we need ‘strangers, gods and monsters’ at all – aren’t they something like projections of this part of our psyche/mind, which still remains – partly due to our own wish – “no man’s land”- Terra Incognita?
Think about that a bit, my dear readers, it’s a perfect brain-teaser for this time of the year. God comes as a stranger to defeat a monster – but – couldn’t be like that – these three composing just one being – own being? Merry Christmas everyone. As a character of W. Wender’s film had said to an angel: I cannot see you but I know that you are here. Thanks for your attentive, well-wishing and open-minded company.
Richard Kearney is a professor of philosophy at Boston College and University College Dublin.
Click at the title to read a review of this book. The fragment quoted comes from an ‘Introduction’, pp. 3-4