S&F Nagel’s Bat!

S&F - Being A BatSo… this week’s S&F took a convoluted path.  I have been (trying to) read Camus’s Myth of Sisyphus and was ranting about how perplexed I was by certain passages.

My friend took that opportune moment to introduce me to Thomas Nagel, more specifically his essay on “What is it like to be a bat”.  Now who could turn down a (short!) essay with a title like that, especially when it also contains such rarities as: “Even without the benefit of philosophical reflection, anyone who has spent some time in an enclosed space with an excited bat knows what it is like to encounter a fundamentally alien form of life.”  Is that..  a sense of humour one can detect?!  I thought that was fundamentally alien to philosophers!

More seriously, it is a rather good essay that discusses how difficult it is to truly “get” something or somebody else without experiencing everything they do in their exact way.  I suppose our shared experience of life itself is the one major thing we all have in common, but within that so much else can differ, making relating to each other form a sort of tragic Venn diagram.

S& Svenn's Diagram - sm P.S.  I was trying to remember if “echolocation” is spelled with an “h”…  I thought it was just with a “c”, as in “ecolocation” but then it was pointed out that would only be used by environmental bats.  🙂