, ,

For the past few years I’ve been fleshing out a form of philosophy that I call “enecstasis”. The term itself is not important to develop here. Suffice it to say that I created it to negotiate complex issues in the history of western philosophy. When it comes down to it, however, enecstasis communicates a disposition Greeks describe in terms of “meraki” (μεράκι):

meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective)

This is a word that modern Greeks often use to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be. Meraki is often used to describe cooking or preparing a meal, but it can also mean arranging a room, choosing decorations, or setting an elegant table. (http://agreyeyedgirl.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/the-meaning-of-meraki/)

Well, I think we can now add to the list meraki as a means of thinking with soul, creativity, or love. I was reminded of the term by a friend as I was communicating the disposition to students in an informal session. I thought to myself: that’s exactly what I mean by “enecstasis”! It seems to me that meraki, in conjunction with enecstasis, captures the classical significance of philosophy where one pursues knowledge as an integral part of oneself, as a way of caring for the self and, by extension, others (anyone interested in thinking, e.g., students or the mythically well-read layperson) rather than simply communicating a craft, a specialty, or facilitating a disengaged acquisition of knowledge.

Philosophy without meraki is like body without soul: necessary but lifeless. Pass the salt, please!