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Friday, May 30, 2008

Half-baked Ruminations on Philosophy

Category: Issue 14

I’ve always had a few favorite topics in philosophy.  As if to do crossword puzzles.  One of my faves is Free Will and Determinism, what a dumb and frustrating kettle of fish that is.  Another is God, how to reconcile God with, well, anything, really.  Spinoza pretty much has it cooked, I think, and if I cared more I would revisit his proofs, from basic Christian axioms, that God is everything; but I already believe(d) that and (ergo) don’t care.  The fun part about God is trying to do the impossible puzzles like how to reconcile evil with goodness and shit like that.  It is absolutely amazing how imaginative people have been over the years, on this desperate and stupid topic. 

As one gets older, it’s tempting to forget that not everyone has gotten older, too.  I find it hard to believe that there are still some good little soldiers out there, actually trying to reconcile the existence of a totally Good and Omniscient and All-powerful God with the Existence of Evil, conventionally defined.  Nevertheless, I see on TV and so forth that there are still Christians, and Christian colleges, and so forth, probably with a few people like I used to be, in them. 

I remember wanting very badly for The (very) Existence of God to be resolved, in God’s favour, so that I would have an excuse to convert to Christianity, get married and have sex with David Colterjohn.  I read C.S. Lewis’ “Miracles” and followed the whole argument up to the part where it didn’t work, and then, well, I pretended it did.  My fundamental dark sadness, that I knew I was lying, to myself and to the God whose existence had not been proven, has never gone away.  To this day, I resent God, who doesn’t (exactly) exist, and C.S. Lewis, who wasn’t stupid and must have known the argument didn’t work, and is now long dead; and myself, for not just admitting to myself that I could see that the argument didn’t work.  But at the time, I just got married and lied to myself about why I Was A Christian.  The marriage per se did not last long but I am still mad about my own self-duplicity.  I remember hitting the part of the argument where it didn’t work.  I even remember where it was in the room that I was sitting. 

Self-deception is another interesting philosophical conundrum, lots of fun, although I never got very far into it because I was busy worrying about determinism and free will, and of course, other, more practical things.  I had a boyfriend who was writing a dissertation on it, though, and he was excellent at self-deception.  He wasn’t even sorry about it, would admit it freely, and laugh.  Philosophers can be dangerous. 

I guess it’s the same old occupational hazard as being a plumber with leaking faucets in one’s own house, or being a social worker who beats his wife, a physician who cannot heal himself, who smokes like a chimney and will not go to see a social worker about his plumbing or his smoking, or his bad attitude about his wife.  The cleaning lady with the dirty house. 

Another good one (at first) was Consciousness.  Whaffuck with DAT?  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the topic of Consciousness, but the whole thing turned out to be outlandishly boring compared to how interesting it is to just be plain old Conscious.  Who knew it would turn out to be just like God… just, um, there?  Who knew that the Topic of Consciousness would be so much more boring than statistics or something?  Good grief.  Functionalism.  Yikes.  It didn’t even have consciousness IN it.  I don’t even know what they’ve been doing about this lately.  I’m so afraid that it’s boring that I’m afraid to check. 

My problems with philosophy are turning into psychological problems, which is a sad commentary, perhaps.  Psychology was always relatively easy, compared to philosophy.  Sigh.  Everyone gets older, I guess.

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