Waarom we de wereld niet rond kunnen krijgen
Pleidooi voor de inconsequentie
Squaring the Circle is a philosophical essay on a new school of thought, coined as ‘inconsequentialism’ by Frank Meester, while tidying his desk ‘on 17th September 2019 a 10.46 am’. Try as he might, each system he devises to organise his things leaves him with uncategorisable items to be tucked away in a cluttered drawer. This does, however, give him an analogy – for the impossibility of creating a perfectly consistent existence – which is just as well, according to the author: ‘People like to put things in boxes, but it never quite works out, not everything fits.’
What follows is a subtly humorous treatise, in 12 chapters, on the impossibility of creating a consistent and immovable worldview, and why this is not bad, but liberating. With playful wit, Meester turns to examples from quantum mechanics (Einstein, Newton), mathematics and music (Pythagoras), logic (Wittgenstein, Russell) and philosophy (Kant, Peirce) to back up his thesis. But playing is a serious business, he writes, and his argument holds graver consequences: fanatical worldviews are always consistent, and there lies the danger. Instead he argues for space, for margins, for uncertainty and being flexible in one’s opinions; for stopping trying to make sense of everything. Not being able to make the world make sense is not a problem, but a solution.
The aim of the book is to take the heavy moral pressure off our shoulders that utilitarians and moral knights like to impose on us. Our existence is never perfect, but that is something to be glad about. This is light-hearted, cheerful philosophy that gets you thinking, stimulates your curiosity, and keeps you thinking. A rare plea for playfulness, finagling and imperfection, entirely against the spirit of the times.