Even those who have desired to work out a completely positive philosophy have been philosophers only to the extent that, at the same time, they have refused the right to install themselves in absolute knowledge. They taught not this knowledge, but its becoming in us, not the absolute but, at most, our absolute relation to it, as Kierkegaard said. What makes a philosopher is the movement which leads back without ceasing from knowledge to ignorance, from ignorance to knowledge, and a kind of rest in this movement.
p. 5 (In Praise of Philosophy (1963))
The world is nothing but 'world-as-meaning.'Maurice Merleau-ponty
Montaigne [puts] not self-satisfied understanding but a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.Maurice Merleau-ponty
[The sensate body possesses] an art of interrogating the sensible according to its own wishes, an inspired exegesisMaurice Merleau-ponty
It is a great good fortune, as Stendhal said, for one “to have his passion as a profession.”Maurice Merleau-ponty
Thought without language, says Lavelle, would not be a purer thought; it would be no more than the intention to think. And his last book offers a theory of expressiveness which makes of expression not “a faithful image of an already realized interior being, but the very means by which it is realized.”Maurice Merleau-ponty
Theology recognizes the contingency of human existence only to derive it from a necessary being, that is, to remove it. Theology makes use of philosophical wonder only for the purpose of motivating an affirmation which ends it. Philosophy, on the other hand, arouses us to what is problematic in our own existence and in that of the world, to such a point that we shall never be cured of searching for a solution.Maurice Merleau-ponty
De Lubac discusses an atheism which means to suppress this searching, he says, “even including the problem as to what is responsible for the birth of God in human consciousness.”Maurice Merleau-ponty
Socrates reminds us that it is not the same thing, but almost the opposite, to understand religion and to accept it.Maurice Merleau-ponty
Lichtenberg … held something of the following kind: one should neither affirm the existence of God nor deny it. … It is not that he wished to leave certain perspectives open, nor to please everyone. It is rather that he was identifying himself, for his part, with a consciousness of self, of the world, and of others that was “strange” (the word is his) in a sense which is equally well destroyed by the rival explanations.Maurice Merleau-ponty
Thinking which displaces, or otherwise defines, the sacred has been called atheistic, and that philosophy which does not place it here or there, like a thing, but at the joining of things and words, will always be exposed to this reproach without ever being touched by it.Maurice Merleau-ponty
The philosopher will ask himself … if the criticism we are now suggesting is not the philosophy which presses to the limit that criticism of false gods which Christianity has introduced into our history.Maurice Merleau-ponty
Machiavelli is the complete contrary of a machiavellian, since he describes the tricks of power and “gives the whole show away.” The seducer and the politician, who live in the dialectic and have a feeling and instinct for it, try their best to keep it hidden.Maurice Merleau-ponty
What makes a philosopher is the movement which leads back without ceasing from knowledge to ignorance, from ignorance to knowledge, and a kind of rest in this movement.Maurice Merleau-ponty
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