Thinking Without Training Wheels

I’ve realized lately that my thoughts are silenced. Let me explain.

I was taught philosophy by philosophers. Philosophy was not a job. It was a way to approach the things we could not speak about, to look over the edge and marvel. The things that mattered in life mattered in philosophy (but they also didn’t, a contradiction at it’s best). This is a certain kind of life. Nothing was taken prima facie, it was always deeper. My thoughts ran out like wildfire. The embers sparked in the classroom dominated my thoughts outside of it. It could not be stopped.

I am now being taught a different way. Philosophy is herded to the classroom. What is important in philosophy does not matter in life (this is a crude description because it is true in the former case as well, but I cannot capture the thought’s sense). What’s troubling about this is that I still do engage in philosophy outside of the classroom. I do this with other students, professors, and friends. Even in those moments, philosophy is still in the classroom. The domain philosophy ranges over is never too far to be uncomfortable. What philosophy is doing is so different.

There is a certain fear that arises when one starts to think deeply. You start to approach an edge, a fearsome one. At the end of the edge is silence. Speaking gets us nowhere here. In the philosophical world I’m in now, speaking never stops. Someone always has a new rebuttal, a new counter example, a new complication. We always seem to miss the point. Philosophy never transcends the arguments in front of us. 

As a result, my thinking is compartmentalized. Thinking happens for a time, and then ceases. My thoughts are mute. 

I am to blame for this, not the world. I must, somehow, become my own teacher. I have to learn philosophy through myself. I must think of philosophers as speaking to me, not to the professor and then to me (their relaying is oh so thin). I want to think again, but now the training wheels are off. Somehow, you must let the philosopher make the spark. Let the philosopher speak, let him set the fire, see what you can learn. How? I don’t know yet. I will try.

~ by Barky on February 23, 2012.

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