The dog, teacher of thinking?

Thirteen years spent in the company of Comédie, his dog. Audrey Jouglaprofessor of philosophy and collaborator of philosophy in the magazineinvites, in his book Montaigne, Kant and my dog. Little dog philosophy (Delachaux and Niestle, 2022), to reconsider the dog’s companion. Can we talk about a radical philosophical experience? For the author in any case, a dog carries an extra soul beyond our expectations, even under “tour de force” : “What the dog teaches you goes unnoticed, so you don’t know what you’ve learned from it. » Through this anchored, composed and even intimate story, the dog reveals himself to be more than the best friend of man: he is also the wisest companion a man can have. A book deep and light.

The routine and the experience of another time

Like all dogs, Comédie likes habits, which are like many rituals: hers (waking up, eating, walking) but also the master. In it, the presence of a dog invites us to rethink the period in a more mature way, according to Audrey Jougla : “Even if it’s not yet part of the schedules and guards involved with a child, a dog takes you into an adult world, where time no longer comes before you in an eternal and indifferent manner. that way. »

If the routine has a little bad press now, but he found himself happily associating with a dog. The author remembers these words in Kierkegaard : “He who does not understand that life is repetitive, and that it represents the very beauty of life, does not deserve any better than the fate that awaits him, that is, to die” (Repetition, 1843). Recurrence is the condition of more serious and real life: Anyone who has not taken this step before beginning to live will never be able to live; surrounds it but finds himself repu, there is a bad constitution. On the other hand, he who chooses to repeat lives realnamakak. » In a time of generalized acceleration, this canine experience allows us to capture another time … perhaps calmer, without being frozen.

Being born again in touch

The dog carries a daily presence. He is present at all times and his presence is reminiscent of almost permanent physical contact: For him to sayhello again, to show him our silent affection, to caress [Comédie] be a reflex. strokees in his head, repeated, repeated, spontaneously occupying one of the hands when I read, when I also eat, or when I am at my table. Movement is rooted like a habit in my body. » While considering the touch “barbaro” (“Primitive, bestial, unruly: touch remains animal, contrary to civilization”judge Jougla), thanks to Comédie, ang saucher [a] returned inside [s]for life ». The hand is always requested and allows direct contact with the truth: Life with my female dog taught me justly to touch things and touch truth otherwise. » This relationship of things is made of one more “immediately and vaguely”.

The hand used to care for a dog was used figuratively by the Stoics to represent consciousness. Cicero speaks it to Academics (45 BC): “Except The wise man, […] no one knows anything; and this Zeno is manifested by a gesture. He showed his open hand, fingers outstretched: this was the representation, he said; then he bent his fingers a little: that was the consent; then, when he closed his hand completely and showed his clenched fist, he declared that it was understanding. Finally, he brought his left hand to the clenched fist and he pressed it hard and hard: he said it was science, with no one but s.age. » That our hand is always in demand, acts as a remembrance of this ancient wisdom, which binds the palm and soul.

The wisdom of death, or life as debt

Comédie and Audrey Jougla spent more than thirteen years together. Together, they went through many stages of life: friendship, love, illness, divorce, transition. In every moment, the dog proved to be a necessary standard. Reasons why the loss of a dog is more painful, even if it is part of some kind of unspoken contract, dogs have a shorter life than humans: We didn’t sayIt’s not enough the size of the pit that opens up under our feet when our dog leaves us and when he closes his big eyes full of love forever. […] This unconditional love has value, what we call the art of losse. »

The essayist, who is also a high school philosophy teacher, recounts his pain in teaching the rules ofEpictetus in fact “death is worthless” and the advice you need “Treating things as if they were lent to us. » However, the big lesson is there: nothing is gained in the world, not even life. Epictetus invites us to reconsider the idea of ​​property in order to distance ourselves from the world. “Don’t talk aboutsomething “I’m lost”, and : “I’m back.” » What to imagine after the loss? Maybe a kind of self -acceptance of one’s own death. “Because now I show you, you know”, she thought her dog had told her before she left. A knowledge that only the extinction of the animal makes reproduction possible.

Montaigne, Kant and my dog. Little dog philosophy, by Audrey Jougla, was recently published by Éditions Delachaux and Niestlé. 128 pages, € 12.90, available here.

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