Who is Nobody?

Being now in the capital of Greece, a recent communication with a student comes to my mind again – it had been about her not having time to follow up on a mail I sent in connection with a reference letter I wrote for her because she was busy with urgent preparations of some exams. I frankly replied that I hate exams and reviews, receiving the reply

Nobody likes assessments …
Isn’t it amazing what nobody manages to do, how nobody develops power, being able to control us and the way we relate to each other.
There is surely a serious problem with personalising issues but at times it helps to give nobody a face – and that helps going beyond, instead of simply following rules.
It is well known from ancient times, that leaving decisions and power to nobody, just following rules defined by nobody, is fatal – as we read in Homer’s Odyssey in book nine:
So he declared. I poured him another fiery bowl –
three bowls I brimmed and three he drank to the last drop,
the fool, and then, when tile wine was swirling round his brain, I approached my host with a cordial. winning word:
‘So, you ask me the name I’m known by, Cyclops? I will tell you. But you must give me a guest-gift

as you’ve promised. Nobody-that’s my name. Nobody – so my mother and father call me, all my friends.’

But he boomed back at me from his ruthless heart, ‘Nobody? I’ll eat Nobody last of all his friends-
I’ll eat the others first! That’s my gift to you!’ …

Later then, after Polyphemus talked later about his failure to his peers, they replied
‘If you’re alone: his friends boomed back at once,
‘and nobody’s trying to overpower you now-look,
it must be a plague sent here by mighty Zeus
and there’s no escape from that.
You’d better pray to your father. Lord Poseidon
Never leave anything to blinding rules, nobody always has a name – everybody who followed the recent politics against, about and  in this beautiful country in which I am now, knows the names of the relevant people and the deciding institutions.
And we may add a bit political philosophy, going some steps with Rawls, looking at the proceduralisation of the categorial imperative. Shouldn’t then all the nobodies be coerced to think of themselves as everybody? The danger that everybody is becoming nobody would surely be reversed then.

Un pensiero riguardo “Who is Nobody?

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