Let’s start off with Zeitgeist, Epistemology, Cosmogony, Tautology, Welt-schmertz, or utilitarianism.I learned these words at the New School for Social Research from 1961 to 1963. I learned them kind of half- assed from Dr. Dorian Cairns, probably the smartest person who ever taught me. I could only understand about 1/3 of what he was talking about. He sat on a stool with a cigarette ( already down to an inch long ash) dangling from his mouth. He was fascinating.
Since I was only a philosophy minor, I could not keep up with the sycophants or the real philosophy majors. I just sat and listened and doodled a couple of words on my paper. I did get a C in the class and, as you know, that’s not a good grade in graduate school. I was really top notch in most of my other classes, but not in philosophy.
I really enjoyed the subject matter, the philo-bantering between the ancient Greeks, the medieval Catholics such as Aquinas and others, the rabble rousing antics of the Enlightenment, the Revolutionaries, the Socialists, the High and Low Germans and modern American congealers. I can still listen to the words of Plato’s Parable of the Cave and wonder if he made up Socrates.
I guess I am not all that conversant with what philosophy is supposed to be. There are large stages on which Neitzche, Heiddeger, and St. Augustine play out. TheIR utterances do not seem to integrate with my day to day life. They are masters of the written word and the universe of thought, but they are not there when I need them.
I know most people operate from some philosophical base. Here, I am not talking political philosophy because no one really lives that way. If we did, we would not get up in the morning. I am talking about a creed, a way to live, a way to communicate with other humans, to work with them, play with them and family with them. There are few of us who have the time on this earth to live in the clouds and actually live Ayn Rand or Camus. We arise in the morning or at a time when we have to go to work and go about our daily life chores.
If we have a moment to think about things, about how we live our lives, it might be in a church, or mosque or synagogue during private reflection. We review our actions to see if they make any sense in a grander scheme way. What we generally come up with is that we are doing the best that we can and if there is some philosophical base for what we are doing, we are the better for it.
Whether we ascribe our actions to our parents, our teacher, our religious training or adsorbtion, we have learned certain lessons in life. We should profit from our mistakes and try not to make them again. We should not always try harder doing the same thing, but look for another way of doing things. We should be kind to people and give them a hand when they need it. Expect little in return for doing a good deed. That is truly what life is, intrinsic rewards are where its at. External rewards last only as long as their existence in your basement or in your bank account. Internal satisfactions live on until you croak.