My thought was still
sitting in a faded memory
looking for a reason
Yesterday I wrote that I don’t necessarily look for proof when writing something in one of these blog posts. I want to elaborate on that a little bit; I don’t look for proof when it comes to my ideas, the ideas that come to me when I start writing. As I wrote yesterday, I want to see what kind of thoughts are in me, and those thoughts need no proof. Only when they hit the real world can they be judged, but not by me the moment I write them down. I do, of course, check arbitrary things like quotes, dates, specific historical facts, and so on.
That I don’t judge my thoughts so harshly is something I started to do not so long ago. Doubt about what we can know (Epistemology) has been strong with me. Part of my character has very little doubt; I have no problem saying yes to tasks I know little about. This more practical fearlessness has been in me as long as I know, but it got stronger over the years. Getting face to face with death and hitting rock bottom a few times has put a lot of things in perspective. In the world outside my head, I downplay my bravado and be the stubborn, nice guy I am, but in my head, I have a “fear” to say what I think out loud.
One of the reasons might sound silly, but I don’t like to repeat what already is said a thousand times. I talk, of course, about philosophy, why we are here, what this all means, those kinds of questions, the big ones. People have been thinking for thousands of years about “why”, and many people that are specifically good at it have written their thoughts down through the ages. I like to read these writings, I have realized that the answers are in these books*. Everything I think and have written in regards to philosophy is not new; it is already said, not once, but many times. So who am I to contribute to this? This thought capt me from taking myself seriously, afraid as I am for the judgment of knowledgeable others.
Then I turned 49 last month, and I realized something more completely than ever: people over 50 know it all, that was what I thought for the longest; if you are that old(?!?), you must know something… Well, I realized that the same “behaviors” still surround me as when I was 20; the difference is that all these people that behave like 20-year-olds are now my age. I joined a philosophy conference on Zoom not so long ago, and I realized fully that these grey-haired people are as insecure as I am about what they say. If they are not, they are delusional and shouldn’t take part in a philosophy conference. I lost my respect for age as a prerequisite for wisdom; that’s another way of saying it.
So why am I less afraid now, and why do I think that these other philosophers are also not scared to stand for their “opinion”; (I’ve been writing now for an hour, had dinner in between, and I had no answer to this question til now. That’s why I like writing like this, it’s like WD-40 (look it up)) because we are finally grownups and we all should know by now that we are just playing, you might hit a home run every now and then, but everybody goes home after the game end forgets about you.
One example that it is a game: in the philosophy world, you can endlessly debate about the meaning of a quote or book by some long-dead philosopher (this way, you can not ask for the meaning, and you can play a little longer). This is how it roughly goes: you can find many explanations for what a philosopher meant with a particular chapter, they cannot all be true, but they can all be wrong. These philosophers all know that the answers will stay hidden, end they believe their own passion at times when they keep on looking, but it is their game, like playing hide-and-go-seek when they were younger.
*I know a lot of people that don’t think that knowledge comes from books. You can learn it all in life, they say. In some sense, they are right; the first thinker/philosopher/writer also had nothing to read. But what I like about reading, in this case, philosophy books is that you can relatively easily “meet” all kinds of people and have a conversation with them. You can, of course, meet all types of living people in your life, but for most, this will mean the people they live amongst. If your goal is to have a well-rounded opinion about life, you should realize that life doesn’t stop at the border (of your culture). My life changed quite a bit when I physically moved over the border and started living in other cultures, you can broaden your scope without reading a book, but you have to move to the other cultures. Reading a book will make this much easier, and you are also not limited to what is happening now.