Philosophy is a Source of Delight; not a source of Depression

I don’t understand why so many philosophers are depressed; or how the idea of a tortured genius has attached itself so ardently to the idea of philosophy.

Nietzsche’s probably most to blame for this image. But his madness could have been the result of syphilis or some other conditions.

This image of the philosopher as a tortured genius or a madman has made people wary of philosophy.

Luckily most people don’t really know what philosophy is. Most people think it’s something to do with reading lots of difficult books and thinking hard. They have a very indefinite idea of what philosophy is.

Of course philosophy is many things; like what Wittgenstein is trying to say about language and how you can’t just say it is a simple thing philosophy is a set of thought-games (empirical activity, phenomenology, epistemology, metaphysics and so on).

Due to the fact that people don’t really know what philosophy is they are blissfully unaware that they are philosophizing during their deepest and most fulfilling conversations.

For me philosophy is a source of delight.

I love the way that reading what other philosophers have thought makes my own thought life flourish.

For me philosophy is an ever present activity to engage in that doesn’t cause suffering.

A way of thinking other than the normal worries and re-runs of past failures. You know the “Oh, she doesn’t like me!”, “I don’t have enough money!” and of course “My room is a terrible mess and I really ought to clean it!”

The more I delve into philosophy the more wondrous life becomes.

Everyday things that I would normally take for granted, dismiss out of hand as being trivial, and boring because of their familiarity – such as language – become these awesome landscapes that radically change with the slightest shift of perspective.

I think the reason why so many philosophers do get depressed and become miserable isn’t because of the activity itself but because the kind of mind that altruistically philosophizes is the kind of mind that thinks a lot and sometimes those kinds of minds can get stuck in depressive feed-back loops.

That is to say that the depression and the altruistic philosophizing have the same ground. That the one does not cause the other rather they are both caused by the same thing.

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Philosophy as Art Interpretation Part 2

Just as in a work of art there are a seemingly infinite amount of interpretations; in philosophy there are a seemingly infinite amount of interpretations of the world and of the interpretations of the world that philosophers produce.

There is a conceptual space and in this space some areas are “true” – in the sense that they correspond to our experience – and some spaces are “false”; but all because a concept is false doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful or significant.

Unicorns don’t exist but they’re beautiful.

Mathematics is lauded above all other academic subjects because of the “certainty” of its theorems; but there are many theorems that have no relation what-so-ever to the world of experience.

This doesn’t stop them from producing and enjoying them though.

Maybe if there is a God, creator, intelligent designer or whatever; it also constructed this conceptual space that mathematicians and philosophers wander in different ways.

Maybe it created the whole she-bang as a playground; gave each of us passions and interests. Then provided us with a world in which to play out our passions and interests.

But we gone fucked it up by taking it all so seriously.

I mean seriously what’s the point of points? You achieve it then what? You make up another one, then another and another.

When are we going to realize that the point of points isn’t the point but rather points are there to justify playing.

Go enjoy making sand-castles; it’s what the beach is for after all 😛

Philosophy as Artistic Interpretation Part 1

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Philosophy is a lot like the interpretation of art; except in the case of the philosopher he isn’t sure if there is an artist or not.

I have heard “the hand of the artist is seen in the art” or something of that sort; but the inexhaustibility of interpretation of any piece of art kind of makes a sham of that.

Rather the “self of the spectator is seen in the art” would be more appropriate.

Even if it were the case that the philosopher knew there was an artist it wouldn’t matter.

Why?

Because whenever anyone approaches anything; be it statements, paintings, the world, or ideas; they always come to it with assumptions they have gathered through past experience. These assumptions colour their interpretation.

For example: The realization that we cannot be certain of anything.

For some people this is a terrible idea because it means “What’s the point to thinking about these things if there is no definite answer I can get to by thinking about them!”

Can you see the assumption that has coloured this interpretation of the concept relativism? It’s that there has to be a point, a goal, a purpose in order to justify doing whatever it is they are doing.

Well does there?

Who says so?

For me relativism is a brilliant realization because I see philosophy as a playground. I enjoy the freedom to hop from perspective to perspective that relativism allows.

 It may be that relativism is “false” but from our subjective perspective it’s the best we have and I’m jubilate (lovely word that. It comes from the word jubilation which was a year in the Jewish calendar when all debts were cleared and the slaves were freed) in this fact.