To play like Napoleon. Klíma’s Egosolism as a call to active participation in the world
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Ladislav Klíma is the enfant terrible of Czechoslovak philosophy. His philosophy of egosolism, first developed in the work The World as Consciousness and Nothing (Svět jako vědomí a nic), contrasts sharply with the predominantly rationalist and scientific orientation of the philosophy of his time. The romanticised image of Klíma as a tortured intellectual remains alive mainly thanks to the widespread popularity of his “grotesque romanetto” The Sufferings of Prince Sternenhoch (Utrpení knížete Sternenhocha), which still resonates in Czech society to this day. His philosophy of egosolism or ludibrionism, however, remains shrouded in a veil of mystery; Klíma himself complained before his death that he was mistakenly interpreted as a solipsist. This paper offers an interpretation of egosolism in The World as Consciousness and Nothing as a form of radical individualism, which, through a surprising “twist”, calls for active participation in the phenomenal through play (ludus, from which the word ludibrionism is derived as a complementary term to egosolism), and which is essentially a practical philosophy for ordinary, everyday life. The focus falls on the concepts of the primary and secondary world, will, play and reflection; the goal of the study is to provide an original interpretation of Klíma’s egosolism in The World without any reliance on previous interpretations. Klíma ascribes a special role to the method of subjective experiencing of his philosophy, which the he considers to be crucial to gaining the right impression and the correct grasp of it. The Klíma chose this method with the view of assuring the highest possible authenticity of the offered interpretation. The reasons for this choice are examined in more detail in the concluding part of this paper, which is dedicated to a methodical and stylistic commentary of Klíma’s work.
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