What if all that remains is inventiveness?
Every Sunday, I post an article dedicated to a contemporary thinker (philosopher, sociologist, economist, etc) who is currently in the news. After Edgar (“Morin What if our disintegration becomes a metamorphosis?”) and Amartya Sen (“What if the pursuit of happiness wasn’t enough?”), I now turn to Michel Serres, who many consider to be the most important Francophone thinker living. Serres has recently published a remarkable book entitled The Time of Crises (“Le temps des crises” in French). This slender volume invites us to become more intelligent and more inventive. According to Serres, inventiveness is all that remains for the modern man, a man who has “lost his head”, and lacks nearly all capability but still posses certain extraordinary capacities thanks to computers.
A former naval officer and an alumnus of France’s prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure, Michel Serres has been a member of the French Academy since 1990. Since 1969, he has taught at the Sorbonne and since 1984, at Stanford University.
Michel Serres is the rare contemporary philosopher with a worldview that incorporates the Sciences as well as the Humanities. Since the beginning of the recession, Michel Serres has been sought after by the media, corporations and institutions wishing to hear his opinion on this worldwide phenomenon. In The Time of Crises, he has provided an answer.
In this book, Serres states that the current financial crisis only scratches the surface of a bigger story that is told through huge societal change: in demography, health, transportation, and in computers. According to him, everything has changed, except for institutions. Serres qualifies these institutions as being “international” but not global and not truly representing the general interest. He proposes a new institution called WAFEL (Water, Air, Fire, Earth, Life) that would intervene as a third party on behalf of the planet. Michel Serres is convinced that we must change our way of being, in order to bounce back, to go from a time of crises to a time of renewal, a new dawn…