Last Friday and Saturday the world celebrated World Philosophy day. Where were you?
Were you trapped in a Sartean Hell with No Exit and the only windows being the eyes of your tortured inmates?
Or were you finding your intial enthusiasm beginning to flag while you waited for Xeno’s paradoxical turtle to cross a finite race track by infinitely crossing half the remaining distance?
Perhaps you found yourself flummoxed by the Heraclitean suggestion that no man steps into the same river twice and, upon attempting to wade the Potomac found that no sane man steps into any river this time of year.
If you’re like me you may have found yourself puzzling over the sort of world we live in (leave the issue of whether or not it is the best of all possible worlds to Anselm of Canterbury and another day) in which UNESCO can institute a World Philosophy Day and so few of the residents of the world could possibly care. Perhaps your tastes are different than mine and an agenda of colloquim discussions of “Rights and Power”, particularly from the perspective of psychoanalysis sounds like a fit and thrilling way to recognize and advance the place of philosophy in the development of the individual and society.
For my part, if one is going to waste a day making pompous speeches and forwarding exotic theories of human behavior that likely will do little to help the widow or the orphan, except perhaps convince them that they aren’t really widows and orphans (or worse, that someone owes them something for allowing them to endure such ravages of human existence), it might as well be wasted with a bit more humor. Pop over to the BBC and try out its philosophical puzzles.
If you happen to find a solution to them, do publicize…it might do more for the poor and hungry of this world than anything Francoise Dolto and her UNESCO friends have come up with. There is real power in truth, and the truth will set the captives free.