“Philosophy is useless,” he said, looking me straight in the eye, without batting an eyelid. This is the time to make your wishes and choose your options before the senior class. As it is necessary to privilege two options out of three, he decided to eliminate the HLP, humanities-literature-philosophy in favor of mathematics and economics. He is serious, already, despite his young age, and he has thought carefully about the pros and cons. He doesn’t have the slightest intention of changing his choice, which is firmly in economics and mathematics, because everyone tells him that’s what’s best, especially society. We talk to him about the economic crisis, the ecological crisis, the political crisis. With these subjects, he thinks he has a better ranking in the ruthless algorithms of Parcoursup which select for the most requested courses, a number of mathematicians to the detriment of literary people who end up poorly classified, and often forced to leave the country in order to study at abroad, driven out of the city like the poets of the Platonic Republic who are taken back to the gates. Sweet dreamers! Don’t they mislead people with their inane images? Aren’t they completely useless? What are they for ? With mathematics and economics, he will be able to obtain a place for the most prestigious universities, preparatory classes or well-ranked schools, carry out better studies in order to present himself on the labor market covered with prestigious diplomas and find a job. more profitable in the field of technology: in short, all that, to earn money. So indeed, philosophy, in this context, leads nowhere, he repeats, anchored in his certainty, to the great displeasure of Descartes – who had nevertheless warned him about the importance of doubt in the process of any real reflection. You have to believe that by dint of doing mathematics and economics, they stop thinking and end up demonstrating the added value accordingly.
But for those who decide to stop an option, you should know that the mark that counts in the infernal Parcoursup is the average of those that the student will have had during the year in this option. So you have to prepare well for the test of “HLP”, even if it’s the last one, even if it’s useless – and it happens that this one concerns the theme of speech. Speech, he reads, is opposed to language, because speech is individual, personal and singular: it reflects the subject in his interiority or his desire to express himself, to speak, whereas language is a system of signs valid for all, it is universal and collective. Their teacher gave them this text by Heidegger to read, where the philosopher explains how speech speaks: it offers meaning, intentionality, unlike mathematical language, for example, which seeks coherence and truth, that it reproduces identically, whatever the moment, whatever the era, whatever the subject. Speech, on the other hand, is traversed by time; we do not speak at 20 as at 60, the speech is not the same, thanks to the singularity of the word which offers a space of change and freedom, by the infinity of the meaning and the possibilities of combination of words to construct a discourse. Thus: “An essential word often seems, in its simplicity, to be non-essential. And on the other hand, what gives itself the appearance of the essential is often only gossip and reporting. You see, I point out to the young man steeped in certainties, philosophical speech is one of those words that seek the essential, as opposed to “gossip and reports”. Which are ? Which are, for example, the language of everyday life, of what we say to each other, about each other, which offers neither meaning nor truth, but also the language of mathematics, economics, legal. Gossip? Chatter with inessential words, because they do not speak of existence even though they are delivered by a jargon that gives the appearance of competence and importance. Philosophy, on the other hand, is interested in the question of existence, and that is even its only real object, its raison d’être. Where do we come from ? Where are we going ? Does this world make sense? Does our life have meaning? What is man and what defines him as such? Everything else is sound effects. About the noise we make without asking ourselves the only real question, which is that of life. And what is life worth without asking the question of life? Philosophy is useless. In effect. Nothing inessential.