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DOI 10.12887/30-2017-1-117-05

Dobrosław KOT – A Stranger

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In his complex philosophical output, the late Cezary Wodziński (died in 2016) repeatedly reflected on the figures of ‘stranger,’ or ‘foreigner,’ emphasizing their fundamental importance to the understanding of the problem of man.

Among the figures of ‘stranger’ discussed by Wodziński was the Russian fool for Christ (yurodivy). To the yurodivy, the world with all its worldliness was not his homeland. His unsettling, unworldly behaviour was often perceived as blasphemous, offensive or foolish. At the same time, the fool for Christ provoked others to change their mentalities and transform their lives. He challenged their complacency and their sense of being at home, forcing them out of their worldliness.

Wodziński reflected also on the figure of Odysseus who, on his return to Ithaca after a years long peregrination, played the role of a stranger, appearing secretly, disguised as an old man. Thus the king of Ithaca (the host) pretended to be a stranger (a guest) in order to identify those who were capable of showing hospitality.

Both figures of ‘stranger’ reveal the paradox of hospitality, as well as the unbearable tension between being and not being ‘at home.’ According to Wodziński, these are not two different modes of existence, but two faces of the same condition: while being at home, one is simultaneously a stranger, one’s land is in fact a foreign land, and one’s rights to it may be questioned.

The reflections put forward in the article attempt to follow the paths of Cezary Wodziński’s thought expressed in his project of apophatic anthropology spanning both ancient Greece and Russia.

Translated by Patrycja Mikulska

Keywords: Cezary Wodziński, yurodivy, fool for Christ, Odysseus, apophatic anthropology

Contact: Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Economics and International Relations, Cracow University of Economics,
ul. Rakowicka 16, 31-510 Cracow, Poland

E-mail: dobrokot@interia.pl
Phone: +48 12 2937572

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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887