What is philosophy, or, when there is no longer anything to ask

Deleuze and Guattari

Unidentified photo of see also Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

“The question [What Is Philosophy?] can perhaps be posed only late in the life, with the arrival of old age and the time for speaking concretely…It is a question posed in a moment of quiet restlessness, at midnight, when there is no longer anything to ask. It was asked before; it was always being asked, but too indirectly or obliquely; the question was too artificial, too abstract. Instead of being seized by it, those who asked the question set it out and controlled it in passing. They were not sober enough. There was too much desire to do to wonder what it was, except as a stylistic exercise. That point of nonstyle where one can finally say, “What is it I have been doing all my life?” had not been reached. There are times when old age produces not eternal youth but a sovereign freedom, a pure necessity in which one enjoys a moment of grace between life and death, and in which all the parts of the machine come together to send into the future a feature that cuts across all ages…”–Qu’est-ce que la philosophie? (1991). Trans. What Is Philosophy? (1996).