I’VE BEEN THINKING about a lot of stuff lately.
A lot of stuff.
Dare I say I’ve taken to overthinking.
Before last week, I would have been reluctant to admit that I’ve been thinking about things. But I’m not afraid to say it anymore. I’ve been thinking – rather, overthinking.
I admit this now because of what Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted
Now that philosophy is legit, and I’ve been doing a whole lot of thinking, what I’ve been thinking about is…well… how much I’m tired of thinking.
Thinking causes too much trouble. Thinking makes you see things; makes you realize things. Thinking makes you realize that in all places, at all times, we are constantly surrounded by idiots.
Make no mistake, there are idiots.
We’ve all seen them. We know what they do.
We can all name a few. Or more than a few.
I AM NOT GOING TO SAY THAT NAME!!!!
I say “we” are surrounded by idiots because I assume you’ve experienced the same thing.
And yes, I realize that I am someone else’s idiot.
Whoops. There. I done done it.
I did that philosopher thing. I did that I’m-a-philosopher-therefore-I-am-smarter-than-you philosopher thing.
Well, I am a philosopher.
and I think I’m kinda smart.
Trust me, I’m like a smart person.
I know that smart people aren’t supposed to say that they’re smart. Being smart should be something that’s obvious. Being smart is like having a fine sense of style. You don’t have to show people – they can see it in what you do.
Telling people that you’re smart usually means that you’re dumb.
Well, I say beans to that.
There’s a reason why I studied philosophy.
And it wasn’t for the vast pool of philosophy groupies.
Although I hear Bertrand Russell never had a problem with hook ups.
You see, I’m just a little tired of the attitude that philosophy is useless. It’s not just politicians like Marco Rubio who have declared that philosophy is useless. Even smart people have jumped in on the philosophy bashing game. The t.v. friendly (and more popular than a philosopher will ever be, especially in this political climate) Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson declared philosophy is useless. The renowned physicist, the late Stephen Hawking, said,
Most of us don’t worry about these questions most of the time. But almost all of us must sometimes wonder: Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead…
The biologist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins, tweeted,
Philosophers’ historic failure to anticipate Darwin is a severe indictment of philosophy.
You know, sometimes smart people say dumb things.
Here’s the thing: I earned my philosophy degree. It wasn’t easy. I didn’t study philosophy to waste time or to, as the meme says, pursue the quickest path to poverty. I studied philosophy because I wanted to know things. I wanted to understand why (and possibly how) we believe what we do; how to think critically; to analyze, to know the proper use of skepticism.
How to carry on an argument for goodness sakes!
Because there’s absolutely no better way to win an argument than to point out that your opponent has done nothing but strawman, ad hominem, and whataboutism their entire “argument”.
…be sure to add the air quotes when saying the word “argument”.
That way they’ll know who the idiot is (hint: it won’t be you).
Seriously though, I could have studied any subject, but I chose philosophy. I studied philosophy because it isn’t useless.
Don’t get me wrong, I (unlike other people) am not knocking science. We need science. We need theoretical physicists and mechanical engineers just like we need doctors and lawyers and high school gym teachers and Uber drivers and bricklayers.
STEM is fine. That’s how we got the internet.
No internet, no Socrates memes.
Truth be told, I don’t do math because I got a cell phone with a calculator.
It even calculates the tip.
I’m not planning on sending a man to the moon any time soon, so I haven’t had to brush up on my engineering skills. But I’ll tell you what I do use – philosophy.
I was reading Ayn Rand before the economy tanked in ’08.
I was well-acquainted with the name Leo Strauss before George W. Bush started the Iraq War.
I knew about noble lies and Allan Bloom. I learned to spot an objectivist from a mile away.
How many people can say they’ve read Natural Right and History?
My political talk is laced with references to Plato, Locke, and Aristotle.
Jefferson wrote all men have the natural right to “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”, but did you know that John Locke wrote men have the right to “Life, Liberty, and Property”?
You’d know that if you read philosophy.
I know when someone is (mis)paraphrasing Nietzsche.
I can explain the Naturalistic Fallacy and the Problem of Evil.
Do you know what the Law of the Excluded Middle is? I do. You know how I know?
How would you know if our social and political structure is based on the Hegelian dialectic? ANSWER: You read Hegel.
I’ve read Hegel. I had no freaking idea what I read, but I HAVE READ HEGEL.
I know it seems otherwise, but philosophy is necessary. It’s not pie in the sky. It’s not a bunch of meaningless answers to equally meaningless questions. It’s not just opinions.
Philosophy is the foundation of all the sciences – including physics and biology.
They might not know it, but proclaiming philosophy is dead is a philosophical statement.
They may think they don’t need or do philosophy, but they do.
Any time you say you know something, you’re doing philosophy. If you say you know fo’sho, you’re absolutely pulling a Descartes.
Every time you figure something out by putting things together
Any time you make a moral judgement
Every time you say something is beautiful or ugly
Every time you vote
Every time you ask, “What does it really mean?”
Any time you ask WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE???
You are doing philosophy.
Because you’re doing philosophy you have answers for some of your questions.
Because you’re doing philosophy you know to ask the questions in the first place.
And, because you’re doing philosophy, you’re not an idiot.