When were you happiest?
A few times when I looked forward to a happy moment or remembered it - never when it was happening.
What is your greatest fear?
To awaken after death - that's why I want to be burned immediately.
What is your earliest memory?
My mother naked. Disgusting.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the twice-deposed president of Haiti. He is a model of what can be done for the people even in a desperate situation.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Indifference to the plights of others.
Aside from a property, what's the most expensive thing you've bought?
The new German edition of the collected works of Hegel.
What is your most treasured possession?
See the previous answer.
What makes you depressed?
Seeing stupid people happy.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
That it makes me appear the way I really am.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
A mask of myself on my face, so people would think I am not myself but someone pretending to be me.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Watching embarrassingly pathetic movies such as The Sound Of Music.
What do you owe your parents?
Nothing, I hope. I didn't spend a minute bemoaning their death.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To my sons, for not being a good enough father.
What does love feel like?
Like a great misfortune, a monstrous parasite, a permanent state of emergency that ruins all small pleasures.
What or who is the love of your life?
Philosophy. I secretly think reality exists so we can speculate about it.
What is your favourite smell?
Nature in decay, like rotten trees.
What is the worst job you've done?
Teaching. I hate students, they are (as all people) mostly stupid and boring.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
My birth. I agree with Sophocles: the greatest luck is not to have been born - but, as the joke goes on, very few people succeed in it.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To Germany in the early 19th century, to follow a university course by Hegel.
How do you relax?
Listening again and again to Wagner.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The chapters where I develop what I think is a good interpretation of Hegel.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
That life is a stupid, meaningless thing that has nothing to teach you.