Sunday, April 1, 2012

Philosophy lite

Every once in a while, I crave for something high falutin, something that will make my head spin and make me realize (further) how little I know. And if there's one subject that never fails to instill a feeling of mental inadequacy, it's philosophy.

I don't get Schopenhauer. I have no idea what Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra was all about after I finished it. I find Foucault's work esoteric, to say the least. Aristotle and Socrates are a blur.

Thank goodness for Alain de Botton! He's managed to make philosophy very interesting and relevant. I've discovered his works just this year, after braving a few minutes at the Philosophy section in the bookstore. To say that de Botton's works are accessible would be an understatement, for I've devoured his books in just a few hours.

So yes, I am loving the de Botton lately. His books have managed to surprise me with their practicality. I never knew that philosophy touches several aspects of one's life -- from travel, to the workplace, to one's reading choices, and even to architecture.

I can't wait to share my thoughts on each of de Botton's work to you, dear reader. Stay tuned!


Jack said...

Amigo, philosophy (Gr. "Love of wisdom") is not a subject you "get," the way a pilot "gets" how to fly a plane. It's a form of mental radiation: You are exposed to it, and it has its effect on you, usually without your immediate awareness (This was explained to me by my childhood bf, who went on to earn his Ph.D. in Philosophy).

As an example, I don't "get" Schopenhauer either, but I am aware of one of his expounded principles, that being, "The more you have within, the less you need from without." This enables me to view a fact of my own existence, that I have only kept one or two close friends at any given time, as a virtue rather than a problem that needs to be corrected.

Philosophy is a mental buffet where you fill the platter with the concepts that complete the person you are. Read and grow, my friend, read and grow...

Peter S. said...

Thanks for the words of wisdom, Jack!

Stepford Mum said...

We were required to do enough units in Philosophy at Ateneo that each graduate can be considered to have a Minor in the subject. That said, I can't remember much of the reading we did, beyond the fact that some were very deep, and that they included the likes of Heidegger, Nietzsche and Plato.

I've got a couple of de Botton books, but have not yet been brave enough to read them - some have been in my TBR for years. (2005, to be exact). Once you post your reviews, maybe I'll get the impetus needed to crack those books open :)

What are you reading over the Easter break, Peter?

Peter S. said...

Hi, Stepford Mum! All right, I'll post my reviews soon!

I've bought a lot of books to read during the Holy Week. I'll post a pic at Facebook.