When I told my aunt that I wanted to study philosophy …

From preface Clément Vidal, The Beginning and the End: The Meaning of Life in a Cosmological Perspective, 2012.

“Deciding what to do after high school is difficult and pivotal. When I told my aunt that I wanted to study philosophy at the university, she looked at me very empathically and told me: “have you considered to consult a psychiatrist? they can be very helpful, you know.” I was shocked. What had the philosophical pursuit to understand humanity and the cosmos to do with psychic health? Maybe she confused philosophy and psychology. Or maybe she thought that studying philosophy leads nowhere socially or professionally and that I was simply experiencing a temporary existential crisis. Seeing a psychiatrist would put me back on the right social track.

But maybe she was right after all. Maybe asking fundamental and philosophical questions is an illness. In that case I am proud to be ill. Even more, my hope is that it is highly contagious, and that you, my reader, will want to pursue even further the intellectual journey I will now share with you.”

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