Not that writing 1,000,000 words isn’t enough, thank you very much. But when I was a senior in high school, lo, in the days before the cellular telephone (or so it seems), yea, even before the advent of MySpace, not to mention Facebook, Twitter, mp3 players or flash drives, I took a class on philosophy. I did. And I bought a book for it, a text book the size of a bundt cake, and read perhaps 45 pages out of the 2,000. Now, I’ve lugged that text book with me as part of my library ever since, but it was only the other day, while reading Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’, and marveling over all the philosophers, scholars and such that he was referencing, that I finally felt awaken within me a yearning to turn my eyes once again upon the written works of philosophers of old.
So I dug up the old monster text book, blew the dust off its hoary cover, and cracked its leathery spine as I opened it for the first time in over a decade. It contains excerpts from all the great philosophers since Socrates, each with their own introduction and then fifty or sixty pages worth of their key philosophical tracts.
I have decided to give it a go, and read the whole blasted thing from cover to cover, allowing it to serve as an overview of the history of western philosophy for me. I’ve already devoured most of Socrates (hoo boy, did his elenchus ever annoy his friends, especially when it left them all in a state of aporia! haha!), and from there plan to tackle Plato before slinking past Aristotle, whom I’ve always been afraid of.
In fact, if you were to ask me, whom would I rather face, that huge pit beast from Star Wars that Jabba kept in his pleasure palace, or under it, more like–or Aristotle, man, I’d have to sit there and think. The only thing scarier than Aristotle is Kant, and the only thing scarier than Kant is having to get up to go to work in the mornings. It’s a cruel world out there.
So anyways, yes, philosophy, the reading of, the education of, me learning, at least the names and hopeful central thrusts of their argument, so by the year’s end I can say things like, “Yes, David Hume, right, I know about him, he was British, I think, and he thought that, well, when people think about things, they’re doing something, like, in a direct way, with representations of the image being, you know, not like Plato thought, “forms”, but in a more symbolic way, inherent within the, like, paradigm of the times.”