Frank Meester

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.

‘With this book, Frank Meester demonstrates how interesting and relevant philosophy can be.’

de Volkskrant

‘A very welcome book in this period of sometimes very heated debate. Starting point: we will never succeed in telling a consistent story about the world. […] Great stories, wonder- fully written.’


‘Playing various roles requires you to juggle them. You need resourcefulness not to get caught in the role of a radical proponent – or a radical opponent. This is exceedingly difficult, as other people want to cast you in one of these roles to make you a manageable entity. Human thinking tends inherently towards pigeonholing. Consequently, you must be stuffed into a pigeonhole. But that doesn’t quite come off because you, and everything and everyone, defy every categorisation. And this is a happy obverse of the inconsequentialist supposition that it will never be possible to completely order the world. There is always a chink through which you can escape.’

Frank Meester

Frank Meester (b. 1970) is a philosopher, writer and musician. Together with his brother Maarten, he wrote Philosophical Masters and Religious Masters. In 2008, he published Islam in the series Young Thinkers on Major Religions, and See Me: A Philosophy of Vanity. He publishes regularly in…

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Waarom we de wereld niet rond kunnen krijgen. Pleidooi voor de inconsequentie (2021). Non-fictie, 208 pagina's.

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