Saturday, June 20, 2009

Xenophilic Xylograph 6/20/09

Curiosity and a sense fo wonder keep me on the trail through the forests of philosophy.

DB - The Vagabond
Come wander with me.
Check out the WEEK END PUZZLE below.
I've been many places and talked with many people and one of the primary discoveries I've been blessed to make is that it does no good to measure anyone by a limited set of standards. Even though it is the common "normal" way of reacting to the varied members of the human race, it forces decisions and opinions that prevent one from actually understanding oneself and others. Superficial judgements are bad ones.

As a college student I was assigned to read Plato and to discuss it in very prescribed, neo platonic terms, those which the professor had decided were the only ones worth discussing. In my career I spent most of the time with dramas, memorizing speeches and making some theatrical sense out of them. I didn't touch philosophy, If I had any free time it was spent with the daily newspapers.

But one day I picked up a book on philosophy, just out of curiosity. It's by Martin Heidegger (What is Called Thinking). I read it and as I was reading I found myself in a rich, fecund forest of ideas. It wasn't about how to behave or what to think. It was a challenge to understand what the whole process of thinking is about. This was a topic I had never considered. It was like posing the question "What is breathing?"

That experience took me into the study of philosophy and an awareness of how much philosophical thinking there is around me and how important it is to the basic human problems of existence. Much of philosophy addresses how to live a virtuous life but even that subject requires a vigorous exercise of analysis and interpretation. Philosophy concerns itself with everything from the mundane to the sublime, from good manners and healthy diets to the complex of metaphysics and the vast infinity of cosmology. Philosophic literature can be in one sentence or in a 1600 page book, as my complete Plato is. Yes, I finally went back to Plato to find out what Plato had to say about his philosophy and not what Professor So-and-so said.

Another discovery I made is that philosophy doesn't tell us what to think. It prompts us to think for ourselves and leads us in that direction. Any thinking person is a philosopher to one extent or another. We all have to confront the problems and dilemmas of life. It is an easy answer to let someone or something else tell us what to think or do. But if we learn to step up to the task with a sturdy respect for and trusty reliance on our own innate ability to question, reason and solve at least some aspect of the crazy riddle of life we are philosophers and much the better off for it.

And philosophy doesn't exclude science, religion, economics, mechanics, politics or the daily efforts to make a living. It includes, in fact it wraps itself around, all of those things.

Philosophers don't agree with each other. No matter. That's what makes it interesting. Philosophy is a walk through a wild and tangled forest of ideas and I enjoy it as much as I have ever enjoyed anything.

DB - The Vagabond
Summer is a-comin' in, Are you ready?


Below is a list of 22 names. Your privilege is to rearrange the names into sets of two, a first name and a last name of two famous people. The 2 first names must be the same or the last 2 names must be the same, as in Joe DiMaggio and Joe Louis or Al Smith and Kate Smith. You may use any name more than once. To win you must use all the names and have at least 8 sets of two names each. Ready? Go !!!


Good luck
Answer with winners (I hope) will be posted on Sunday evening at 9 Eastern Time.

Note: 3 winners so far, 2 from the Email Lions. 1 from the Blogspot Tigers.


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I find philosphy fascinating, I only wish I had more time to spend on it :o)

Silver said...

I like this subject too. Whenever i'm dry on ideas or inspirations, i will find myself turning to some of this wisdom.

Always fascinating and a good [lace to start.

Beth said...

Let me know if you figure anything out. ;)