The Second of February, 2015
While you would like me to talk about the ramifications of having Philosophy in our life or not and its correlation with Liberation, I shall do no such thing. I will talk about Words and our association with them. In this week's reading, very early on, we explore meanings behind the words and their impact. It may be the Psychology class I attended an hour ago talking, but I felt this was compelling enough to write about. "How do you know what Intelligence means?" my professor asked me. To me, Intelligence is not what you know (because there's a word for it. I'll give you a hint: it ends with "-edge." No, Intelligence is the ability to think for yourself in all situations and applying common sense and empathy to others. However, said professor argues that we only know what Intelligence is because we are told what it means. And he is absolutely correct.
Because we are told what something means, such as God, Good, Evil, and what have you, we think we are experts on the words because it's such a common thing to talk about everyday. Yes, I am aware that sounds quite similar because it's from the book. We don't know the true extent of what a word means. And how can we truly know something we don't know? By accepting that we are ignorant in the eyes of knowledge, just as Socrates has.
The citizens of Athens has shielded their eyes from such knowledge, and choose instead to shun their great philosopher. This, along with what Socrates talks about in his Allegory of the Cave, as well as what the article talks about trickles down to the same vein: being aware of what you don't know and being able to accept it while still willing to learn about these foreign concepts.
As a rational thinking man, I, of course, have my own comfort zones and bias towards everything. Yes, I would like that chocolate cake. No, I would not like to be punched in the face. However, in that same vein, I am not unwilling to listen to reason other than my own; perhaps that carrot cake might taste pretty good. Maybe I would like to be punched in the face. It is the experience that comes from accepting these other realities foreign from my own that allows me to grow as a person.
While not related to Socrates himself, there is a French philosopher's whose words I live by: Jean Jacques-Rousseau. "We are, so to speak, born twice over: born into existence, and born into life; born a human being, and born a man."
To me, this is two-folds: by accepting that I am still young and ignorant to much of the world, I am still born with the ability of compassion and empathy. I don't know what I don't know, but that's okay. By continuing to learn and grow as a human being, I will be born again, but with a purpose; so many people in this world live their day-to-day lives on autopilot. They live without a purpose. You don't call that living. That is existing.
Such a cruel thing, is it not?