Monday, October 30, 2006

Laptop Philosopher

I finished the philosophy book last week that I have had on my nightstand.

This book was an overview of philosophy from pre-Socratic times through the contemporary philosophers of the 20th century.

The author, who is a philosophy professor in the U.K. worries that true philosophy is dead or dying.  He is worried that the only philosophy taught is merely a regurgitation of previous 'philosophical masters', when it should rather be teaching a process of how to ask oneself the hard and simple questions, accomplished by looking at the world, universe, nature and humanity, with the same simple wonder that spurred the pre-Socratic philosophers to ask the questions they did. 

I loved philosophy class when I was in college.  Yes, we did study the masters and studied their teachings.  Yes, we did then apply their methods to problems and wrote essays for class.  

I don't think I realized then how important the class was for me. 

I do look at the world with a sense of wonder.  I think most people do not and that is a damn shame.  Everyone should stop and marvel at this amazing universe as often as you can rather than just running like the hamster at the wheel, even though it is easy to do just that.

I try to be aware of my world around me, of nature's gifts.  I think you have to work at that. 

Work at being truly present in your life and aware.

While driving out to dinner Saturday night, there was the most wonderful display of the suns rays, coming down through clouds that was just magical.  Hubby and I enjoyed it for a moment ourselves and then drew the kids attention to it as well.  They were reading and would have missed it... it was something to be shared, and marveled at, together. 

It could have been missed had I been talking to Hubby without being aware, or if I had been zoned out listening to music. 

Take a moment to watch the squirrels chase and play, without worrying about them eating your roof, or watch the birds hunt for worms in the morning.  There is a simple beauty in even the mundane.

This morning I was struck by a moment of kindness between Fuzzy and Pumpkin as they were getting in the car for school.  Fuzzy carried her books out and she thanked him so earnestly because she was a bit overwhelmed this morning.  I caught that moment on Fuzzy's face where he felt really good for helping her. 

That was wondrous to see.  I could have missed it while rushing into the car, worried about the time and traffic, but I didn't miss it.  I am so glad for that.

There are so many 'bad' and 'negative' things out there in the world.  I don't think they should be ignored, but you need to balance the 'bad' with the 'good'.  Every day.  

One of my favorite quips is that 'Optimism is a form of bravery.'  Maybe so. 

Let's take it further...

Wonder then must be a form of hope.  Without hope the world is a sad, and desperate place.  So, be aware of all the things there are around you that bring wonder.  There are many, just cast aside the blinders.

Ask the questions, seek out the answers; they will bring more questions for you, and more wonder. 

And, that is the beauty of it.  That is the true magic in this world.  There is always more to learn, more to discover, more to consider.  Be open to it.

Become a philosopher in your life.

be well,
Dawn

11 comments:

tenyearnap said...

Wonder is a form of hope...I like that. And I also enjoyed philosophy in college, but I'm afraid that most of it has dribbled out of my head.

dwhee70041 said...

Dawn,  I like what you have to say. It's kind of like the way I live my life!  My friend, Chris, teaches ancient philosophy at Oxford.  I know he would disagree that true philosophy is dead.
Smiles to you today!
David

ksgal3133 said...

Wonderful and thought provoking entry!
I try to take time each day to just look at the beauty that is around me. This world is an awesome place if we all would just take the time.

Gretchen

coelha said...

Good advice...  There is a LOT of negativity in the world...this is true.  Negativity drives me away from people.  I do have a few friends that can be quite pestimistic.. If I can make them laugh, I feel like I accomplished something..  Take care, and I hope you and your family have a safe and fun Halloween!!  Julie :)

plittle said...

Nice entry. I agree with everything you said. I think that is part of why I enjoyed that photo challenge I did from Teresa last week. It made me actually look at the world around me for a change.
-Paul
http://journals.aol.ca/plittle/AuroraWalkingVacation/

pharmolo said...

Happy Halloween!

eml625 said...

Thank you Dawn.....For reminding me this.
hugs,
Ellen

sazzylilsmartazz said...

I enjoyed this entry. I feel the same way about nature, the world and the universe. I did take some philos classes in college but "I think, therefore I am" always made me laugh. Sorry, couldn't help it;0)  
Dianna

lurkynat said...

Good job Dawn!
love,natalie

rebuketheworld said...

Beautiful entry! Loaded with wisdom....I felt like I was in slow motion reading this...I appreciate this entry! thank you!

-Raven

daddyleer said...

Fascinating entry. Re-discovering philosophy or the need for it, seems to come with age.
Patrick