What philosophy can learn from poetry

At first glance, philosophy and poetry may not have much in common, but first glances can often be deceiving. One thing that strikes me personally when I look at philosophy is that many things that at first glance appear to be two completely different things often belong together. However, we as humans often tend to divide the world into black and white, so we create a dualistic view of the world for ourselves.

The topic of today's article may not sound entirely different, as philosophy and poetry are at the end of the day just expressions of language, but they differ in so many ways. While philosophy mostly tries to get to the underlying truth of the matter, poetry tries to bend language to reflect the depth of human experience.

But in my opinion, this is precisely where the two topics intersect. After all, the truth or wisdom that philosophy attempts to fathom is ultimately always tied to the subjectivity of the philosopher and thus to his humanity.

To illustrate this with an example, let's just imagine that we are standing on a stormy beach. Of course, everyone immediately has a picture in their head. However, the feeling that you experience on a stormy beach is not part of this experience. You could say that you can also describe the feeling, which would then read as follows. Imagine you are standing on a beach, the strong wind is blowing little drops of water into your face, all your clothes are shaking and the roaring of the waves is accompanied only by the stormy gusts. As you can see here, it takes quite a lot of effort to write down or explain as many aspects of the experience as possible, only to end up with a very superficial description of the situation.

Poetry achieves this with less effort and in a much more beautiful way. You are standing on the beach, in front of you a dark wall of clouds, now you are looking into the storm, your existence insignificantly small. Personally, I can empathize much better with the poetic version. However, you have to be honest and say that only part of the experience of a storm on a beach was described here.

This or similar problems have also been noticed by other philosophers who have criticized the fact that language limits thoughts. This naturally means that the thoughts we want to pass on are also limited. Ludwig Wittgenstein and Friedrich Nietzsche were probably two of the best-known representatives.

Wittgenstein argued in his later works, particularly in his work "Philosophical Investigations", that language has certain limits and that many philosophical problems arise from the unclear use of language.

Nietzsche argued in his writings that language is a limited and imperfect way of expressing thought, and that many deeper thoughts lie beyond the limits of language.

In conclusion, it can be said that poetry manages to do what philosophy often fails to do, and that is to convey feelings that cannot be conveyed through the mere use of language. In my opinion, for this very reason, anyone with even a small philosophical interest should occasionally make a little space for poetry in their lives.

What is your opinion on this topic? Do you see it similarly to me, do you agree more with Nietzsche and Wittgenstein or do you have your own opinion? Feel free to share them with us in the comments.

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