Monday, January 19, 2009

Why I Quit My Philosophy Course

Q1: What is "the self"?

A: The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation's relating itself to itself in the relation; the self is not the relation but is the relation's relating itself to itself… In the relation between two, the relation is the third as a negative unity, and the two relate to the relation and in the relation to the relation; thus under the qualification of the psychical the relation between the psychical and the physical is a relation. If, however, the relation relates itself to itself, this relation is the positive third, and this is the self. Søren Aaybe Kierkegaard, Sickness Unto Death

Wrong! Søren, you are driving me to despair. It's almost like you want me to be unhappy, as if that is what you consider to be the truth (YOUR truth) of existence. Your logic is like a best-selling self-help book that says, "The answer is not in any self-help book, and certainly not this one."

It requires an amazing leap of faith to understand whatever the fuck you are talking about. Lift your game, boyo. See me after class. I'll give you the fear, you bring the trembling.


I have absolutely no idea what that passage is saying. Am I stupid?


I have no idea (yes I do, I am lying to myself - it is because I am getting old) why I have taken up trying to read such impenetrable philosphy texts. (Not all, indeed not much, of Kierkegaard is quite as abstruse as this, thank whomever. But more is coming from Amazon!)

Is it a desire to understand why my life has been so non-descript and so non-productive? Is this a real or an imaginary problem? Is it merely the expected MLC?

*Have* I lived a proper life? Am I doing the right thing now? Am I thinking the right thoughts? Am I saying the correct words? Am I writing the funniest jokes? And if so, who have I stolen them from? What should I do next with my life? Buy big in the STI?

Questions keep arising (in my mind only, I haven't been blogging a lot of this lately) about the power I have (in the form of cash in the bank) and what I should do with it. Should I imitate Christ, (also currently reading Balzac's The Wrong Side Of Paris, purely coincidentally about a MLC guy who joins a secret religious charitable sect in the late 19th century) or should I get a massive ouija board tattooed on my back and impersonate Creepy instead? Should I get a boat and pretend I am Dick Headley cruising around the Caribe?

But then, Mr Kierkegaard (or Mr Balzac), if Christ was such a great guy (let's face it, he is the one being in the universe who is a synthesis of the aesthetical "present", the supra-moral "eternal" - q.f. Heideggers 'Being and Time', Neitzche's 'Beyond Good and Evil') then, rather than doing his healing and teaching on such an ad hoc basis, why didn't he educate some of those apostles as medical staff and teach them some of the basic rules of medicine/hygeine.

Getting those health care workers to wash their hands and showing them the simple trick of isolating the contagious would have been pretty easy lessons for the Lord of the Creation to pass on, and those pearls would have "saved" millions of lives over the millenia.

In fact, why didn't he set up some sort of free health care system, or a group of hospitals healing the lame (splints/crutches/bone-setting), raising the dead (CPR, the Heimlich maneouvre) and so forth, maybe even a pre-cursor to the Red Cross, spreading good deeds and simple life-saving first-aid across the Levant?

Hey. What about some schools for the young and curious, big guy? Great teacher, right!

Literacy and health, how hard can it be if you are of the same substance as the creator of the universe?

And why was there no structured organization in the early church for the efficient management and distribution of all those charitable goods from the rich who were bent on following him? Where was the distribution system that ensured that what was donated made it to the needy and desitute? Something like OxFam, or the World Food Program. Why did it have to wait for St Vincent De Paul to get this logistical piece of cake moving at all?

You'd think all that experience with distribution of the loaves and fishes would have given the apostles something like a workable blueprint...

I am sure I'd do better imitating Warren Buffett. Or Pavarotti - at least I look like him (with a bit of false hair here and there).

Or should I just go out and get laid? (This question is not part of the test.)



Dick Headley said...

One Dick Headley pretending to be Dick Headley is enough thank you.

I see Harry got 3 years for bad literature.

Michael McClung said...

You should open a bookstore with me. Then sit behind the counter being curmudgeonly while I wage stealthy war on your half, slowly crowding out your philosophy texts with my mindless but entertaining genre fiction.

expat@large said...

DH: sad but true (to both comments)

MM: my stuff *IS* entertaining. As Kierkegaard would say, it is a truth that is true for me! My definition of entertainment does not involve turning off my mind, alright! Now excuse me while I watch my BKK street pirate DVDs of the 3rd series of Battlestar Gallactica...

rockstar69 said...

Mmmm. What to do with your untold wealth?

You could invest in a band that is gonna be huge (Well at least in Eltham where they now have a residency)!! Or you could just buy a lifetime supply of sex so you don't have to go shopping every time you're horny.

Battlestar Gallactica. Is that the NEW series with the stunningly hornbag cylon????

expat@large said...

Rocky: BG - ALL the female cylons are pretty damn cute, even Lucy Lawless.

Mark: the kind that gets in all the 'cyclopedias though.

dibabear said...

Regarding the "buying sex" comment, always remember if it flies, floats, f*cks or has it.

Regarding whether you've lived a non-descript and non-productive life, from which vantage point? What do you believe in, truly? Does it matter whether the self is relating to itself or to a relation or projection of a self you wish to project? Yeah, philosophy gave me a headache especially Aquinas' "cogito ergo sum". How did he know he thinks and therefore exists? Perhaps we're all just a figment of some greater beings imagination. Ow, I think I stubbed my brain.

As for why didn't Christ...the answer is simple, really. Because he knew that anything that involved man would quickly become corrupt as all things do. We couldn't keep 10 commandments and so he made it two (which is one really). And we can't even keep that one. He couldn't change that because of that free will thing. That's a much easier apple to peel than Kierkegaard, mate.

expat@large said...

"Blogito ergo have no time for a relationship..." was one of *Descartes'* early versions. Aquinas was the "we are citizens in City of God" person.

I was caught by K's Either/Or bit about "if I do this I will regret it: if I do the other I will regret that as all. Best not to even make a decision. I'll still regret everything, but at least it won't be my fault." (It was satrical I believe.) But it reminded me so much of John Barth's "End Of The Road" novel where the guy freezes to the point can't even get out of a chair as he weighs the good and the bad aspects about every decision.

Unknown said...

I think that you need to follow Warren Buffett and donate mega millions to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Which, amongst other things, is trying to eradicate AIDS and Malaria in Africa.

What? you don't have mega millions?

Soapbox: The only way to cure AIDS is Quarantine and isolation of infected people. Simple really.

expat@large said...

Back in the good old bad old days, I'd spend my life-savings each week on groceries at the supermarket.

Mega-millions? Dude I'd retire if I just had enough to buy, say, a nice little place in Noosa Heads. Hmm, thinks, that WOULD require mega-millions.

Free Podcast

Related Posts with Thumbnails