I’ve been doing this philosophy thing for a while, now. I think I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
I’m much better at philosophizing than I am at playing basketball or Scrabble.
I think better than I dance.
I’m better at talking about Hume than I am at gourmet cooking.
I’m pretty good at doing something with minimal money-making potential.
That doesn’t bother me, though. You see, philosophers don’t get into philosophy for it’s money making prospects – they do it because they love it.
We are indeed lovers of wisdom.
That kind of bugs me.
I used to get frustrated in my philosophy classes. I read Plato and Aristotle. I read Descartes. I read Hume and Kant.
De Beauvoir. Marx. Locke. Mill.
They’re all dead now.
I would sit and think how distant philosophy seemed from anything contemporary. Nothing related to how the world is now. It seemed that right now didn’t matter as much as back then. How so many philosophers seemed to hold anything popular with a fair amount of contempt.
Ancient philosophers are the only ones who know how to think.
That never worked for me.
I promised myself that when I graduated, I would write the book that I always wanted to read. I thought if there was anyone out there who thought like me, we’d find each other across the internet. We’d prove that philosophical thought didn’t stop with Socrates.
We would become a movement.
We would become a new Vienna Circle.
So I wrote a book.
I started a blog and a Facebook page.
I was to be a fisher of supermen.
It’s been a few years since then. Things are pretty much the same as they were when I started. I’m not the Oprah Winfrey of philosophy.
If I’m to believe one of my former professors, it has to do with the fact that I lack proper philosophical street cred. That is to say, philosophers think that the only people qualified to speak (or at least write) about philosophy have a PhD.
Philosophers can be kind of stingy with their wisdom.
A philosophical velvet rope.
Apparently, breaking into professional philosophy is harder than getting into Studio 54.
Alvin Plantinga is the new Steve Rubell.
The thing is, there are plenty of non-professionals writing and speaking about all sorts of topics in books, on TV, and all over the internet. Some are pretty successful.
Could it be that no one is interested in philosophy?
No. that can’t be it. I refuse to believe that it’s that no one is interested in philosophy. There are still philosophy departments on college campuses and plenty of philosophy blogs out there.
Not as many blogs as the number devoted to celebrity gossip, but they’re out there.
My blog is one of them.
There’s a problem, though.
There’s no new Vienna Circle.
All I’ve accomplished is Vienna solipsism.
One thing I have noticed is that everybody else’s stuff seems to have what my stuff lacks – an opinion.
Their stuff has a point of view.
When I write, I try to be topical. I try to humorous and down-to-earth, but it’s not connecting to my an (any) audience.
I barely have 100 likes on my Facebook page.
There are pages devoted to characters from the movie Jaws that have more likes than my page.
So it can’t be that difficult to get a like or two.
See, I think my problem is that I’ve been playing things too safe. I’m stuck on that old habit of writing that one becomes accustomed to when in college.
That damned impartial writing. My writing is passive when it should be active. I write “One” instead of “I”. I say “One may conclude” instead of “I think that”.
I try to write about philosophy but I’ve been trying to do it impartially. That ultimately is impossible to do.
My writing doesn’t have a voice.
It makes for boring philosophy. A boring blog.
A boring Facebook page.
I know philosophy is grounded in reason and analytical but that shouldn’t exclude taking a position on anything. Kant definitely thought deontological ethics was the way to go. And there was no convincing Ayn Rand that objectivism might not work even while she collected social security.
Bertrand Russell had an ontology, but he also wrote what he thought about damn-near everything else. Russell wrote his opinions on other philosophers and other philosophical schools of thought. He wrote on topics ranging from politics, religion, international affairs, to marriage and sex.
Here I am. Trying to be analytical.
Trying to be impartial.
Trying not to offend anyone.
Because no philosopher ever did that.
Socrates never had to drink hemlock.