Why is Philosophy sexy?

Le Futiloscope isn’t sure that we’re thinking about the same Philo(sophy) as this young lady. Ours, in any case, roams the catwalks of trends. Philosophy is Sexy (from which our title is borrowed, thank you!) is the name of the Instagram account of Marie Robert, young professor and author, with a winning smile and a love of her subject. The distinctive sign of this Instagramer, not really a practitioner of selfies taken on a turquoise sea? Everyday, around a superb black and white photo she offers us a long post, well put together, inspiring and well-meaning (Le Futilo is really laying it on) on an existential subject, often about the vitality of youth, essential encounters or the need to find one’s path…Marie Robert is also the author of the best-seller Kant tu ne sais pas quoi faire , Il reste la philo ( When you Kant Figure It Out,  ask a philosopher, for the  USA) , translated into 15 languages and another in the works, Descartes pour les jours de Doute (Descartes for moments of doubt ).

OK, we’re going to stop harping on Marie Robert. It’s just that these cute little manuals are, we think, two really good examples of what can be called “Pop Philosophy”. This new section in the self help aisle seems to have a bright future ahead of it: in practice (children running out of control in Disneyland, days when everything seems to fall apart, major second thoughts before saying  “yes” or having surgery to redo your nose…) a kind of prescription, a dose of Rousseau, Ricoeur, Baudrillard, Beauvoir, or whomever. It’s really well done, and obviously more enriched (and enriching) than all the behavioral psych counsels that we’ve read. This trend is clearly of interest to the publishing world: recently we’ve seen Spinoza Antistress (there’s also one on Nietzsche in the stores, we’ve never considered Frederick in that vein, but maybe) promising “99 philosophical pills”…Clearly less convincing! A reader commented on Amazon: “You liked gluing electrodes on your stomach to do sit-ups without having to sweat? You’ll love swallowing these philosophical pills that make you philosophize without having to think”. We can only applaud his sense of the ridiculous…

Of course, the idea of finding in these great thinkers something “to bring comfort to the uncomfortable” is not new. The search for meaning in our times, horribly materialistic (yada, yada, yada) takes every possible avenue (meditation is so overused it’s becoming gridlocked). It’s only fitting that philosophy goes the same way. The author of Le Miracle Spinoza ( The Spinoza Miracle)  Frédéric Lenoir, is a true star of the Feel Good movement: a best seller and triumphant annual conferences have sealed his reputation. The magazine M le Monde talks about his subject as “Philo for dummies”, his answer, “If that means that people can understand what I say, then yes!”…The documentary Le Cercle des Petits Philosophes (currently in theaters, in Frnce ) about his experiences in two primary school classes completes the picture of “You’re the teacher I only wish I had”….

In a more intimate setting, some of you have certainly gone to the Cafés Philo that have popped up here and there for a while now. Charles Pépin’s Philo Mondays ,  a big success since 2010 with the forty something’s bedecked in Zadig et Voltaire ( of course) : on May 13th they had asked themselves “Is romanticism still possible?” before exploring on June 3rd, “Libido rules the World”, amongst other promising sessions. A glass of juice, a shot of philosophy and go youth! In the yuppie parts of western Paris they like Time to Philo, and e-newsletter that brings sagacity to the present chaos: the work Philosophy des Gilets Jaunes (Philosophy of the Yellow Vests) by Gaspard Koenig was very helpful in surmounting present day difficulties as was the more recent Des Larmes pour Notre Dame (Tears for Notre Dame). To round off your treatment Le Futiloscope urges you to try the new box Epycure (personalized vitamins), a name completely in the mood of the moment.