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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Consolation of Philosophy

Raphael's School of Athens portrays all the great philosophers of Ancient Greece.
You'll notice they're all old, most of them are bald.  Diogenes, in the center
(I think that's him) has fallen, and he can't get up. 

Aristotle said philosophy is not a pursuit for the young and hot-blooded; you have to reach mature years before you have patience for it.  I think he's right.

I think when you're young, you're too full of hormones and energy to really look around and take stock.  About your mid-fifties, when life is pretty dull and you realize you're approaching death and you'll be dead forever and ever, you start to think, "Huh, well, this sucks.  Guess I might as well learn something."

When I was young, in my twenties or so, all I thought about was going out to parties or having a "good" time.  Now I worry if existence precedes essence or is it the other way around.  That's the sort of thing you don't make time for when you're young.  You think you're enjoying yourself just because you're surrounded with friends and you're laughing all the time and you stay out late and still have the stamina to get up the next morning.  But that's not what real "fun" is.  That's not what makes life worth living.  Now I lie in bed because I wasn't able to sleep all night, and I wonder how much my feet will hurt when I put them on the floor, and there's this one mole that I've been keeping my eye on, and I wonder if the phenomenon of being really can be reduced to the being of phenomenon or if Sartre was right after all.  Now, that's living.

Sure, when I was young, eighteen-year-old girls would look at me without that expression of mingled pity, horror, and contempt.  But now it's so much better.  Sure, young women are no longer interested in me, but they would be if they only knew I could explain to them that life is meaningless and absurd, and we must learn to live without hope.

Good for me.


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