When you’ve given yourself over to German and Eastern Philosophies
like ingredients that season a soup in your head
the flavors begin to contradict themselves
Add a little Ayn Rand, who was a feminist and an anti-Marxist
and your head really begins to soften
Thoreau is my favorite because I find the most contentment there
Nietzsche and Rand discuss implications for society
while Thoreau looks at the pond and contemplates the beauty of a simple life
I’ve listened to the most negative philosophies that have twisted my mind
and ruined my relationships, knowledge is pain, people don’t want to see the truth
and maybe that’s why poetry is out of fashion?
It’s a bit like post-modernism to look through one frame of mind to discover another
like the matrix, “You can take the blue pill or the red pill; live in wonderland or see how far the rabbit hole goes.”
I’ve tried Objectivism, Buddhism, and tested my conviction in a higher power
I’ve read Alcoholics Anonymous, though I don’t drink
I’ve tested my ambition in the world, and I can recognize the futility of moving things around
we don’t own anything, and the prospect of the American Dream appears to be a lie
like so many dreams we’ve been raised on.
but I keep coming back to Thoreau. He speaks of self-ownership
Own your time; it’s not about selfishness, but about giving with intention
not living off the land, but living with the land
Sartre and Camus say we exist, “Now what?” We have to face the absurd.
Bukowski grabs hold of absurdity and kicks it around the room with a laugh
I read him and enjoy the existential soccer game he plays with the Post Office
and his later Fame
Being able to laugh is important.
Kierkegaard said, “People care about freedom of speech, but they don’t care about freedom of thought.”
They get caught up by trivial things, they’re angry, but on the subject of wasting their lives
they don’t seem to give it a second thought.
I love these guys…
Timothy Leary was imprisoned several times, and escaped
The naval academy instructed his classmates not to speak to him as punishment
most could deal with being shunned for only two weeks, then they would crack
Leary went for 8 months, became a chain smoker to deal with the stress, and read every book in the naval library
the academy consented, and gave him an honorable discharge
Leary said he learned one thing during that experience, the navy wanted to embarrass him, to shame him into quitting
but he looked at his shunning as a challenge, and he derived meaning from that
Victor Frankl said, Suffering without Meaning Equals Despair (S-M=D). So, the trick is to make meaning from our suffering.
He survived a Nazi concentration camp for several years, and created his own therapy from the experience
it’s called Logos Therapy or “Meaning” Therapy
A man came to him in the concentration camp and said, “I have nothing to expect from my life.” And Victor Frankl thought about his words and said,
“Don’t you think your life expects something from you.”
Words are a verbal alchemy, magic, if you will. To cast a spell, quite literally means to S-P-E-L-L.
Words change consciousness
Start reading and writing, and the richness of that will put Hollywood to shame
Meditations by Marcus Arillus is a great book because he takes notes on his life.
Then there’s Epictetus and Seneca and don’t forget Plato and Aristotle
Someone told Socrates that he was the wisest man in Athens and he was appalled
He walked around the city asking people questions, and when they answered, their understanding came from what they had heard and chosen to believe
A girl in my statistics class asked me, in a rather combative way, “Why do you run marathons?”
And I turned to her and said, “Why should we do anything?”
It’s a question we need to ask ourselves. Nietzsche said, “If a man has a great enough reason WHY, he can endure almost any HOW.”
So, why should we exist?
I say, we need to find what we love. I love wisdom, so I guess that means I’m a philosopher.