"As separate individuals, we live in separate cultures haunted by the vague memory of an intimacy that we all share. Let us, all together, chase the very horizon of existence, the edge of understanding, the point at which new sensations, emotions, thoughts and ideas begin to emerge… and let us bring this intimacy alive." ~Alex Mero
Would you categorize your novel as philosophical or spiritual?
“Legend of a Nomad” is above all a philosophical novel, but there are many elements in it that can also earn it the classification as that of a spiritual one. Philosophy is an attempt to understand the world, whereas spirituality is more of an attempt at revelation, both of self and all around. The novel unites these two modes together, and so, it speaks to both our rational minds as well as to our deep inner sensibility.
How did you develop this literary genre that you term ‘philofiction’?
I’m most at ease with interactions that occur through dialogue, both in real life and with literature, which explains why I choose to use dialogue in my writing. Fiction offers me the opportunity to invite my readers to partake in a tale or a fable- an imaginary story- with the purpose of communicating real messages pertaining to philosophical or spiritual matters. This genre of literature not only gives me immense freedom, but also permits me to propel my readers to new dimensions. In terms of its literary essence, I prefer simplistic language, which is a powerful tool when it comes to dealing with existential questions and other great matters of life.
The use of fiction may be very useful for a philosophical writer, but do you think it might make it more difficult for the reader to decipher reality from its fictitious premise?
That could be the case, but nevertheless, it’s an exercise I invite readers to try. My intention through my writings is to captivate the readers in such a way as to increase their awareness of issues related to everyday life and to have them reflect on their deepest aspirations; ultimately, to have them discern their own reality. The gap I create through time-space concepts invented in my writings hopefully allows their imaginations to flourish and increases their awareness to the endless possibilities open to them. This gap can help every reader have a broader vision of reality, to surpass their limits, and perhaps even, to reach a higher state of reality. In addressing the key themes in my writings, namely the revelations made by our imagination and spiritual growth, I hope to have the readers understand that the boundaries they usually face- through their reflections and daily experiences- are arbitrary and illusionary. In my opinion, it is only when we move beyond our misconceptions of this illusionary world around us that we can access the deeper meaning of our existence as well as all other existences.
Philofiction is a genre that merges philosophy and literature; shouldn’t there be a clear distinction between reality and fiction in order to avoid confusion?
This is a good question, one which can cause divided opinions. Let’s start by clarifying the definition of both these genres: a philosophical text is an unbiased reflection on all things; it should not contain imagination or elements of fiction. This means that characters may not be created and events may not be imagined. On the contrary, a literary text is usually a by-product of both imagination and feeling, meaning that fictitious elements, events, and imagined characters may be created. Now, let’s look at the difference the public makes between philosophers and writers: philosophers are usually known for their incomprehensible jargon, and for reasoning in a way that most people cannot follow. Literature writers, on the other hand, are seen as artists, as creative souls who do not really belong to the academic world. But what exactly is the difference between philosophy and literature? Is it the same difference as between a philosopher and a writer? A writer can have much more in common with a philosopher than with another writer. In this case the differences between two individuals within the same genre can be far greater than those between individuals of two different genres. As a result, we can describe philofiction as a literary genre that brings together both philosophy and literature by blurring the borders between intelligence and feeling, with the objective of permitting the reader to know no boundaries. Philofictional dialogues describe events and meetings between partially real and partially fictional characters who reason and interpret, but also clarify or contradict, all kinds of thoughts and statements, enabling readers to deepen their knowledge. Philofiction appeals to both our intellect and our imagination simultaneously, and therefore is no different from the manner in which each of us experiences life.
Mysticism is neither a philosophy nor a doctrine; it is a way of experiencing the Mysterious; something which cannot be found in texts. However, when a mystic expresses in words his knowledge and describes his experiences, he then automatically becomes a philosopher. An unusual philosopher, true, since he must describe something that transcends any logic; how can he explain that the universe is the extension of our bodies and that we can experience all the wonders of the world, or the mysterious, within ourselves?
Much can be learned from what we call “primitive people”, especially their relationship with nature. Given the arrogance of the so-called developed world, it is a wisdom that is lost. What is your opinion?
I understand your frustration and I agree with your statement. Regretfully, much wisdom has been lost because of this arrogance. The biological diversity that exists in nature extends to cultural diversity. Maintaining this diversity is imperative both in terms of environmental conservation as well as the future of our species. There are multiple cultural aspects of these “primitive” people that are yet to be known or understood. Today, with loss of values and tremendous natural environmental damage, much insight could be gained from these primitive cultures on ways to build new cultures that are more sensible and pave the way for a better future.
What would you say to those that think philosophy is nothing more than a pleasant past-time, with little or no influence, and without anything concrete to offer the world such as does science or politics, for example?
I think that we shouldn’t confuse a scientific study or a political engagement with a thought or a philosophical trend. Science aims to gain knowledge through concrete verifiable methods of analysis, and politics deals with the structures and regulations of a community. Philosophy, on the other hand, is a discipline of reflection and interpretation of the world and its meaning. It’s a discipline that aims to establish a continual dialogue regarding the essential components of life and the universe. Of course, one can ask what is essential and try to analyze the concrete elements that will define this essentiality, but it goes without saying that the answers can only be indirect ones. It’s precisely this incentive for deducing a question that a philosophical thought can provide some concrete elements as an answer. Therefore, it is up to each individual, depending on his level of insightfulness, to give each philosophical thought a personal meaning, knowing that this will always be done through the filter of his own values and certitudes.
Is the notion of universal morals central to your philosophy and dialogues?
Although a philosophy may be a bearer of ethical and moral values and therefore contribute to exemplary conduct and behavior, its role remains limited. Philosophy can describe a discourse embracing a vision of the world, but not a real truth, otherwise it wouldn’t be philosophy any more. What I try to bring forth through my writing- and I think both my own philosophy and philosophy in general can play an important role here- is that everything that exists is permeated by a superior intelligence. My work, essentially, focuses on revealing the existence of a universal order which provides structure to all of creation, rather than a universal moral sense.