I’m Post-Philosophy Now K?

I got a little crazy about philosophy because it was so helpful with all the things I was going through in my real life (has anyone ever said this before?). I was really religious when I started college and the second I was thinking critically about it I had all this damage to the metaphysical structure of my life.

At first what I was doing was putting out fires here and there. Pascal told me how human nature begged the question of god, Anselm gave his shitty ontological argument that nevertheless was logical (in the logical/philosophical sense of the word look it up dummies) and I resonated a lot with confessional Augustine. So you could be a thinking Christian, it is possible. It didn’t happen for me but it happened to a lot of people I read and respect.

The biggest things that happened was all the drama about the gays. I mean I had a gay friend in college who cried because he went to christian school hoping it would fix him and I was like “please reconcile this for me god, okay thanks bye.” And then I read The Sacred Canopy by sociologist Peter Berger which talked about how all metaphysics (religions, science, ~atheism~, whatever) are flawed because they are stories, not truth. Because of this we try to cover ourselves up with it (to protect from unknowing, anxiety, fear of the unknown) but parts of ourselves/reality peak out or there’s holes in the umbrella. Preach. I also read John Caputo’s Against Ethics where he argues that ethics don’t work as a branch of philosophy because any universal you give is too big to fit into particular situations and we’re using it as a big front to ease our guilt over not helping when in the situation in front of us, we know what the right thing to do is. Like, probably we know that we should live below our means and send all our extra money to Oxfam but we create all these fancy ethical arguments to get out of it.

Finally an unphilosophical but super interesting philosophy book called God and The Philosophers was super helpful. It cataloged a bunch of professional philosopher’s and their religious life. The book happened to be about religion but don’t mistake this for a religious book, it was using religion as an example of all our unscientific thought. How do you be a philosopher when almost everything in your life is lived outside of the adversary method? Hume for example argued that the cause and effect relationship does not exist, yet he played billards all the time and presumably left all that talk in his study every day of his life. To some extent being a philosopher is a profession and you set it down at the end of the day and go home. So what I knew how to evaluate a good argument, does that really mean that I’m now a robot and everything in my life must be evaluated through this lens? We don’t expect this of any other profession! A mathematician isn’t asked how her faith is questioned by her many advanced degrees.

All these things made it okay to reject my faith as it was. Faith in God, faith in higher education, faith in anything that came labeled as Truth with a capital T.

I graduated with a lot of skepticism, a stalking relationship with Peter Singer and no idea what I was going to do with my degree. I was nursing a religious hangover and a hair of the dog was not about to work. I couldn’t think, read or talk about religious or spiritual topics for a few years after college. I was so sick to death of all of it. I was a little scared I would die in that time which is a gross reason to pressure yourself to think about religion but I’m superstitious and if I had my own religion the tenants would be free puppies and infant baptism for everyone. I’m not done with religion. I didn’t disprove it to myself just to leave it lying there. I had to go back for the parts that might be valuable. I guess philosophy is also like beating someone to death and then robbing their grave.

I had to remake what my life was going to be about. So I started doing what most twenty somethings do: I worked on my career slowly and went out almost every night. I think I told one of my christian friends I was trying to achieve physical proximity to god by dancing on top of tables. I kissed a boy on a dancefloor (and I let him call me baby).  I still had some purtan in me, but Rilke says you can trust your soul to guide you, so I did and I am better for it.

I’m not sure where philosophy fits in my life anymore. The questions I have to answer aren’t as big. Is there a god? Well maybe but I’m not interested in arguing about it knowing that arguing is only arguing, through sheer force we can create a spark which may illuminate the shadows in the cave. But even then, they are only shadows. Sure, its great mental exercise to toss an argument back and forth, but I’m a retired athlete, how much exercise do I really need as a civilian?

I still like philosophy, but I have no reason to dive into it looking for an answer to some structural damage in my life. I won’t find it now that I’m pleading agnosticism on all counts. I think it’s taken me as far as it can go and it’s time for me to get out and find something new.

Who You Are in Bed is Who You Are in Life

I once slept with a guy who “didn’t have a lot of money” because he recently punched a man in the face and had to pay him $9,000. He made similarly short-term minded decisions in bed, I’m just less litigious.

But seriously, unlike all the trite Carrie Bradshawisms Sex and the City put out there, this assertion made by Samantha on the show might actually be true. For instance, there is a lot you can tell about a man’s character by how he treats you. Is it all about him? Does he make you feel comfortable? What about the really creepy ones that hijack your birth control or suddenly do things you haven’t consented to? Those are definitely indicative of a pretty bad person. This isn’t the only place in their life they behave like this.

Similarly, have you ever noticed how flawless the transition is for someone you are dating that is on the lazy side to what kinds of positions they like? Or how willing they are to address and improve relationship problems? A guy who’s secure in his life doesn’t have a problem being vulnerable enough to confront a problem, and can try new things and be open in bed as well.

Once a guy kissed my neck as he told me he was really emotionally unavailable. The gargantuan split between our two realities never got any smaller from that moment.

Another time I hooked up with someone while I was blacked out. He told me his favorite night of us together was that night. When I…. had no personality? Outside of the bedroom he constantly talked about things he liked about me and I was like wait, what are you talking about? That’s not a part of my personality at all? For instance, he said he really enjoyed our “witty banter.” There’s probably nothing more annoying to me than people who think banter is cool? I am not playing a game when I am talking to you, it’s actually really important to me that people communicate sincerely and it’s really embarrassing and ostentatious and pretentious to talk about how witty you are.

I dated the most selfish baby on the face of the planet and he was so self-absorbed that he actually believed he was treating me with respect/reciprocity and that we had a good sex life. Like, he would bring up all the time how great we were in bed together. And all the time I would be like umm are you on glue? Are you present to this because if you stopped looking at your own reflection for one second you’d realize that this is not how a happy or sexually satisfied person behaves?

Maybe I am advocating jumping into bed with people faster, or maybe just paying more attention and using clear eyes when you do. Our personalities are present even when our brains aren’t.

Five Philosophical Arguments as Illustrated by Tom Cruise’s Divorce

1. “It is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a pig satisfied.” John Stuart Mill said this to illustrate that it’s better to indulge in high order thinking with an open mind but not have a totally cakewalk life than it is to have all of your basic needs fulfilled but no mental capability. Think of it like this…  you can be married to Tom Cruise and have lots of money and attention but you have to turn your brain off to the fact that he’s a total creepster cult ass freak, or you can be a lonely, less rich single mother but able to think for yourself. Truly wise philosophers would pick the latter.

2. Tabula rasa vs. innate ideas. John Locke thought we were born as blank slates with no knowledge already ‘in’ us. This influenced many of his beliefs including the fact that the only way to truly know something was through experience. Rene Descartes thought the opposite, that there were already certain basic concepts on your mind at the time of birth, and you built off of that. Suri Cruise with her dead wolf eyes and penchant for standing around looking like an expensive ragdoll has proven John Locke’s theory.

3. “I think therefore I am.” Descartes again, trying to prove a related theory that one can know with certainty that one’s self exists because that self is a thinking thing. (I bet you’re totally bummed because you’d heard that phrase before and didn’t realize it meant something so lame, right?) Anyway, seems like word on the street/People.com is that Katie made a snap decision to leave Tom. Not really sure what happened—maybe she met someone else or saw a vision of the Virgin Mary drawing her back to Catholicism or maybe she found Tom’s secret drawer of naked pics of Matthew McConaughey—but regardless it seems like she was like “oh hey I’m a real person I can actually make this decision for myself.”

4. A gadfly to the people of Athens. Socrates called himself a ‘gadfly’ (sort of like a horsefly) to the people of Athens because he thought his god-given role in life was to mentally bite people (like an annoying fly) by asking people questions in order to expose that they were ignorant, so that they could devote their life to philosophy to learn more. Kind of an a-hole. Tom Cruise’s god-given role was to captivate our attention by annoyingly jumping on a couch and telling the entire world about his relationship, only to prove how ignorant we were for caring when it unceremoniously ended a couple years later.

5. “Nasty, brutish and short.” Thomas Hobbes used this phrase to describe what life would be like in a society without government. Not only does this literally describe TomKat’s marriage, but also proves why it’s a wonderful thing we have divorce lawyers!