I HEARD THAT NIETZSCHE said that most (good) philosophy is done while one is on a walk.
That is to say, that getting out into the world does more to stir one’s mind than does sitting in a university, speaking to other people who do no more than echo exactly what we already think or say.
I think that’s true.
Sometimes, however, going out for a walk only results in experiences that only confirm why so many people out there, myself un-excluded, claim that they hate humanity.
It’s not just a claim. I really do.
I thought that I would try, for god knows for what umpteenth-number time, to rid myself of the practice of seeing things so negatively.
I thought that I would try to see the bright side of life, as suggested by the Monty Python song.
I think that there must be some higher force at work somewhere in the galaxy, because every time I attempt to see the worthiness of humanity as a whole, my hopes are dashed and I only end up confirming that people, as the Slipknot song says, equals shit.
Why the relentlessly negative and bad attitude towards people, you ask?
To get back to Nietzsche, I was out for a walk. Nothing monumental, just a short jot before it really got (gets?) hot outside. You see, here, where I live in SoCal, there is no such thing as a gradual climb in the temperature. It’s cool one day, and 101 degrees the next. Go figure.
Anyway, I was out for a walk. Just like Nietzsche wants us to.
My walk kind of started off nice, mostly because I literally hadn’t been out of the house all week. I gazed at the green grass, deeply inhaled the aroma of fresh-cut lawns, and listened to the chirping birds. I was deep in thought of what I had read the night before, a chapter from Kurt Vonnegut’s Man Without A Country. In the book Vonnegut said that he likes talking to people. I don’t. But I, having newly committed myself to sunny up my personality, decided that I would at least try to enjoy the company of others.
At the very least I could get in some thinking about things philosophically.
So I was out for a walk.
I realized I was enjoying my walk because I wasn’t bothered by anyone else’s company at that time.
…since I was walking alone.
But that’s kind of besides the point.
Now, I know that there are people who, for reasons that only they and their god know, decide that they should shout out things to people walking on the sidewalk or along the road.
I’ve personally never understood this phenomenon.
Well, that’s precisely what happened while I was attempting some Nietzsche-inspired walking.
Usually, if someone says something it’s something incoherent. It’s like the person shouting whatever decided to shout something, but then decides to back down — but only after the words have already left his mouth. It’s almost always a he who does it.
Usually, the words they say aren’t so clear. But his time, it was a loud and clear “fuck you!”
This really left me confused.
Not to mention that it broke my chain of thought.
Now, really. It’s not that the words themselves offended me. They didn’t. I’ve said that particular phrase to other people on more occasions than I care to remind myself. But, usually, at least in the case that I’ve used that particular phrase, the person to whom the comment was directed deserved to have it said to them. I was just walking on the sidewalk.
And when I looked to see who said it, the guy seemed pretty angry, too. He looked really pissed off.
Schopenhauer pissed off.
How can I explain what happened to me? I thought, for a moment, that I might have done something to offend the guy in the car. I thought about what I was wearing — just a pair of blue jeans and a black t-shirt. That usually doesn’t get people that worked up. I was wearing a backpack, but there’s nothing on my bag I think would upset anyone. I had taken all of my Leftist political patches off of my bag.
Besides, I don’t think by the looks of this guy that he would have noticed if they were still there.
For a few moments, I really thought about why that guy would have
said shouted “Fuck You!” at me.
For a moment I wondered if Nietzsche himself manifested in the flesh and shouted “Fuck You!” at me while I was walking?
I actually attempted to figure out if any of the (limited) list of philosophers I know of ever addressed why people feel the need to shout things to people who aren’t doing anything to them. I couldn’t think of any.
Kant probably did. He wrote about everything.
The more I thought about it, the more I thought that there must be some explanation for why this is. Some deep-seeded philosophical need to express one’s ontology by shouting “Fuck You!” at people one doesn’t know.
There is, but I guess that, in the long run, the answer is psychological rather than philosophical.
That means Hume would probably know why.
There is some not-so-deep seeded need in some people to yell at people — the more shocking the statement the better. And since you’re in a car, and your intended shockee is walking, you’re long gone before the person ever gets his bearings straight enough for a proper response, whatever that would be.
What would be the proper response? An “ok, thanks buddy” or a “well, good day to you, too”?
I’m guessing that, on this subject at least, philosophers may not have spent any time thinking on why this is so; why people feel compelled to shout things at people walking down the street.
That would mean that at last there is something that philosophers don’t have an opinion about!
So, I guess my queries on the subject are better directed to the headshrinker than to the guy boring his class to death with examples of Gettier problems. Maybe with the proper philosophical insight, we’ll eventually figure out how and why anyone would find the need to shout “Fuck You!” to passersby by way of some epistemic debate or metaphysical claim.
I’m more than certain that some philosopher has some opinion about it.
They can’t leave any subject untarnished by their
supposedly expert thoughts about everything.
I never did get those deep thoughts like Nietzsche said I would, though.