My World

Much philosophising..

 

It is strange I had never really read or thought much about philosophy until just a few years ago. Given that I had been into some solitary pursuits for most of my life, such as writing poetry and reading, doing jigsaw puzzles and the like.  So, it was, when i commenced at a certain government department office and was busy opening and sorting mail in the mailroom that one old man and another man closer to my age began to talk to me about philosophy. They came at it from a bit more of a religious direction, one having studied theology and the other being from a more evangelical church.

 

I admitted i hadn't really read much about philosophy, so they introduced me to a number of books on the subject as well as a little bookshop nearby which had a good selection of books on the subject. I now wish to thank these two men for this introduction to a very interesting field... I have since bought many books on the subject and read most of them and I do purchase 'Philosophy Now' magazines from time-to-time. In fact, whenever i'm in a newsagent or bookstore my first thought is to see if there's another book or magazine of interest in this field.

 

One of the first magazines in the Philosophy Now series that I read was titled 'Pop culture and philosophy'. What a great introduction to the subject, it combined 2 of my interests. I have since seen a lot of books on the philosophy shelf about various tv shows and philosophy. There are books on Seinfeld and philosophy, South Park and philosophy and many others. Thats where i got the book 'the psychology of Dexter'. One of my favourit books of all time now as it combines philosophy, psychology and a favourite tv show Dexter. I have discussed this show and book before so i wont bore you again.

 

A big part of our discussions while sorting the mail and archiving files, was that of 'circle friends' and 'ladder friends'.. this came from a book titled 'The philosophy of friendship' by Mark Vernon. Circle friends are those in your circle, something akin to 'birds of a feather' but Ladder friends are those who help you get ahead. Needless to say, we considered each other to be 'circle friends' and looking at most of my friendships, i can honestly say they are mostly 'circle friends'. I use to always say ' I have enough friends in low places!' This is not to be read as an insult to my friends but its just in this society 'networking for gain' is very popular. Though if you were a 'ladder friend' wouldn't it feel like you're being used?

 

'The art of war' by Sun Tzu has been mentioned in relation to networking. This book makes a case for keeping your friends close and your enemies even closer. I do not necessarily subscribe to this particular theory as it seems a bit Machiavellian to me. Neither do i subscribe to some of the 'touchy-feely' so called 'self-help' books on the market who pretend to be philosophical. One self-help book that idid enjoy reading, although 'enjoy' is probably not the right term for a book of this nature was called 'Help yourself' by Dave Pelzer. It was one mans terrible tale of child abuse and how he turned it around in order to lead the good life.

 

I will say, from all this reading, I find myself most interested in the works of Friedrich Nietzche.. i have read a number of books and articles on this particular philosopher. Nietzche didn't talk about friendship but he did ask the question “Do you want this again and innumerable times again?” Basically he asked if you would want to relive every joy and every pain in your life over and over again? Are you comfortable with the choices you have made enough to repeat every moment? It is indeed a big question. I'm not sure i want to answer it, because in life there is always regrets.

 

Of course, I do not regret becoming an atheist, as such i include here an interest in Richard Dawkins 'The God Delusion' and Alain De Botton 'Religion for Atheists'. For me, I read them as a convert already and their message was what i had begun to think. I consider these works to be somewhat philosophical. Actually, i have read quite a few of Allain de Bottons books, such as 'The consolations of philosophy', 'Status anxiety' and 'The pleasures and sorrows of work'.

 

Having gone to business college in the early 90s, I remember having a weekly assembly and at those gatherings of students and staff, the head of college use to try and motivate us. She did this by handing out achievement awards and making motivational speeches. This successful businesswoman was all about how 'the best form of revenge is success'.. this was part of her mantra. The college motto was 'see you at the top'... I wonder where most of her students are now? We never studied philosophy there just the practicalites of office work.. it was all about 'how to get that job'! Maybe we should have studied 'the art of war' instead... Just a thought.

 

“Cogito Ergo Sum" which roughly translates to "I think therefore I am...” Which giant of the philosophical world came up with this one?? I'll leave it for you to answer that....  If you said Rene Descartes, you would be right. My understanding of this statement is that we are human because we have the power of thought.. but are those thoughts generated from free will or natural necessity?  Now there's a whole other debate. 

 

In the midst of all this thinking about philosophy and philosophers I was inspired to write a poem. However, i began with a few ideas and a few lines but given initial time restraints i never quite finished it. So, here is the two stanzas i have written so far... I call it..

 

A philosophical problem

 

That man of action Faust

Took out Fichte and doused

The fire of the democratic

Back to the word so Socratic.

 

Relationship types Platonic

Heir apparents Teutonic

Nietzsche sickens readers

Supermen becoming leaders.

 

I am, by no means, an expert on philosophy and philosophers but I have an interest in the field and this has developed over the last few years. I would say that.. if i won the lottery or came into money then i would probably study further in the field of philosophy but given the expense of going into a course like that is beyond me at this point. This leads me to my next blog post titled “Why Australia is a rip-off country”.. Stay tuned.

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