RRP: $20 (AUD)
Pub. Date: 2015-12
The Reflections on Presence is a philosophical notebook which explores the complexities and concerns of contemporary conscience. They construct a program of ‘spiritual exercises’, in the tradition of Marcus Aurelius, Ignatius Loyola and Nikos Kazantzakis, starting with the recognition of contemporary disillusion followed by the gradual investigation of the interconnected nature of reality and imagination, the affirmation of the individual presence and the ethics born out of such presence. They culminate in a vision of existential transparency that links poetry, philosophy and religion through the impure materiality of the everyday being.
Vrasidas Karalis’ Reflections on Presence in five days is certainly not a traditional piece of philosophical writing in the sense that is typical within academic philosophy—but that is probably all to the good. Few of those works are accessible or of interest to a wider audience beyond the academy. Moreover, that is clearly not how the book is intended. What Karalis offers is instead a ‘narrative’, although again not in the tradition sense, that is really a philosophical progression through five stages or ‘seasons’ from nihilism to creativity. The work is highly original, and contains some striking images and ideas. The work is presented in an aphoristic style that might be said to invoke Nietzsche, but it seems to me most reminiscent of John Fowles’, The Aristos. Although it is an idiosyncratic book, it is also quite accessible—the sort of volume that one could open up at almost any page and find something that would stimulate and intrigue one’s thinking.
Jeff Malpas Distinguished Professor, University of Tasmania
About the Author
Vrasidas KARALIS holds the Sir Nicholas Laurantos Chair in Modern Greek Studies at the University of Sydney. He has published extensively on Byzantine historiography, Greek political life, Greek Cinema, European cinema, and contemporary political philosophy. He has edited volumes on modern European political philosophy, especially on Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt and Cornelius Castoriadis. He is also the editor of the Journal of Modern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand).