Wednesday, June 8, 2011

All is not Lost

Most of my friends these days are parents of teens.  Suffice it to say, I hear a lot of complaining, fretting and worrying. One of the things I hear -- which cracks me up -- is essentially "Kids these days . . . "  Many worry that we are losing our literacy, that today's youngsters do not know how to write, that they speak slang and little else.  Inwardly, I chuckle when I hear this because I clearly remember the parents in my youth saying the same thing.

For months I have had a snippet of a Facebook conversation pasted on my desktop.  The thread was about philosophy and the author of this piece is one Julieus Young.  I do not know this young man personally.  I only present his thoughtful and poetic bit of spontaneous writing as evidence that all is not lost. (I added the paragraph breaks for readability)

"In that it is only the people who call themselves philosophers who don't have use for philosophy. It is often completely lost on them. 

That's why I've always disliked the word "philosophy." Maybe it's just me being too Romantic, but I'd say that the greatest wealth of philosophy is that which never escapes the fleeting thoughts of everyday life. That which is solidified in books and self-help pamphlets is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg, because philosophy is nothing without humanity. That's why it's confusing: because we're confusing. 

War is nothing without passion. Nations are nothing without friendship. Revolution is nothing without love. And it seems that whenever people forget that, then the dictators take over. But the people will still wonder and wander, and nothing can stop that. I'm not talking about some arcane alchemy of human advancement... but the very opposite. All these oft-conflated things like peace, justice, liberty, and fraternity are really just dirt, water, and blood. And that's why they run so strong, for they are the greatest riches we'll ever have, no matter where we end up. 

To deny that a human deed is done in the name of humanity (or ultimately the divine if you believe in it) is to make oblivion of it. If we forget the dirt beneath our feet, where will we stand? Oh great, now I'm being philosophical."

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