I have a love/hate relationship with philosophy. The hate part is very hard to deal with, given that nine-out-of-every-ten school applications require you to write down what your philosophy of education is.
“What is your philosophy of education?”
What is it? To be honest, they don’t give a shit. They don’t want me to tell them what my philosophy of education is. They certainly don’t want me to get into detail about Socrates, you know, the philosophy of education that brought us from the Bronze Age to the Space Age.
They don’t want to hear me say that, maybe something that has worked for around three thousand years could be better than a method recently implemented & followed by a failing education system.
When they ask me to state my philosophy of education, they are asking me to state how I blindly follow their bull shit educational philosophy. Everyone knows that if you don’t believe in the new philosophy, the philosophy that was created, developed, & instituted by psychologists with no classroom experience & enforced by psychologists with doctorates in early childhood education that have spent a student teacher’s time in a school administrative position, then you won’t ever be in a classroom.
None of that really matters, to be honest, paranoia is what keeps your job as a teacher, materialism is what makes you a good teacher.
So let’s take a moment to talk about philosophy, because, you know, the shit is getting pretty deep.
When I mention philosophy & shit getting deep, I can’t help but think of Nietzsche & Rand.
Just because you can make a good argument out of a crap theory doesn’t mean that the theory isn’t still crap, it just means that more people are going to believe it.
Both of them are lacking in materialism, they are both lacking in the tangible world. The tangible world is an important thing. It’s important because its the real world. It is important because it is the world that proves of disproves, the world that allows your philosophy to gather evidence. It is important because this is a material world, & you are a material girl.
You know that you are living in a material world. That’s right, Madonna had a more valid point than a lot of philosophers, & she’s, you know, well, she’s fucking Madonna.
Do yourself a favor, don’t let Madonna make you look vapid, I mean, when that happens, suicide is certainly an option.
Nietzsche, he just wasn’t as smart as Madonna, was he? But he did make pretty solid arguments based on his crap theories. Übermensch, it might work well for men from Krypton, but really, you can do better.
Ultimately he falls apart when you start to realize that you are reading a nihilist with a clever argument.
Nihilism doesn’t work. It’s fine if you are a Goose stepping moron marching across Europe systematically murdering zee Jews, zee Communists, zee disabled, & zee educated. And it works fine if you are a university dorm monkey that wants to pretend to be deep in an effort to get college freshmen to spread their legs.
I’ve gone through the whole university thing, I’ve seen Nihilists argue with Marxist. I’ve watched them fold when Marxists have produced evidence, logical & tangible evidence. It’s hard to argue against the physical world that is directly in front of you & even harder when you have a room full of drunk undergrads willing to agree that the world actually happened.
Rand is almost the same, only she’s there for rich people that want to justify the bad things that they do, & college freshmen that want to be anarchists but just can’t figure out what the word means.
The Clash can do a better job.
Really what Rand is, or rather all Rand is, is the John Calvin for the Atheists of the world. It’s not really in vogue to justify your wealth & the fact that you are oppressing & harming others by the fact that God had predestined you to enter heaven & as such predestined you to be wealthy & cruel to your fellow human beings. That doesn’t really fly on the non Christian far right goose steppers, but it works fine for those that are atheists because it is hip & not because they have put any real though behind it.
In both cases, they reject the church as being an institute of pure evil. Again, popular, extremely popular, Popular & deep enough to convince a college freshmen to unlock her knees.
But then, there is the fact that, well, the Catholic church is the oldest & most successful humanitarian organization on the face of the earth. And they are forgetting that long stack of centuries where it was the Catholic Church that held Europe together & largely kept the people from destroying themselves, preserved education, & started the first hospitals.
But then, I’m forgetting, you know, that whole Inquisition thing.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
The line, if we are to be honest, is somewhere in the middle. If you reject the church for being evil, like is so popular, you aren’t being honest & you are really forgetting all the honestly great things the church has done to further humanity. But then, to be fair, if you go the other way, you are blinding yourself to the perfectly legitimate complaints that the anti-church crowd has every right to make.
Ultimately, those that live in the material world, understand that the Church has often done some horrible things in the past, but, on occasion, only tortures people by providing them with a comfy chair & soft cushions.
Accuracy is certainly an important thing in philosophy. It is really hard to believe in a philosophy that is inaccurate. That sort of defeats the purpose of finding the truth.
Odd. Rand & Freddy also reject morality as we know it.
It’s deep to reject morality, but you have to be careful how you do it.
There are a lot of philosophies out there & a lot of them have rejected our common notions of morality. Socrates was killed for being amoral. Nietzsche spawned Hitler. Rand spawned the TEA party. A lot of evil can come from following a philosophy that rejects our standard views of morality.
So here we go. This is the American in me. Sometimes I think it is only the United States, France, & Ireland that actually recognize Thomas Paine as a philosopher. The US & France have direct cause with Paine, Ireland does it out of proxy. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paine, I think he made a lot of sense, but the Irish seem to respect him as a means of giving the middle finger to the Brits.
“Ye’re gonna pu’ a price oon his ‘ead? Well foock ya mate, we’re gonna erect a statue o’ him, in East-foocking-Sussex. Why don’ ya pos’ a sign about tat ya stiff arsed British bastard?”
Yeah, the Society of United Irishmen, ya gotta love tem.
At any rate, keeping in the American tradition of offering Black Sheep & revolutionaries up as legitimate philosophers, I propose we add a new one, a person that actually makes some good fucking points.
I propose we start reading Hunter S. Thompson in philosophy classes.
And why not? He fits a lot of the necessary points, those needed for undergrads to look deep in a misguided effort to get laid, but you know, he actually stands for something good.
He rejects common notions of morality & often the church as well, but still believes in a higher power & with that power a higher morality.
“Dogs fucked the Pope, no fault of mine.”
“Call on God, but row away from the rocks.”
If you really take the time to grow familiar with old HST, he offers some useful advice, but he maintains a very strict moral compass. He is a man that fought against racism all his life, he is a man that fought against the abuse of power, a man that struggled to uphold the Bill of Rights, a man that, as gun crazy as he might be, was repulsed by war & violence, & sexism.
“No man is so foolish but he may sometimes give another good counsel, and no man so wise that he may not easily err if he takes no other counsel than his own. He that is taught only by himself has a fool for a master.”
“No one holds command over me. No man. No god. No Prince. What is a claim of age for ones who are immortal? What is a claim of power for ones who defy death? Call your damnable hunt. We shall see whom I drag screaming to hell with me.”
“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”
“Groveling is wrong for the soul, like grappling with whores in a drugstore.”
“Get out of control, but appear under control. It’s not bad to alarm other people, though – it’s good for them.”
“There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about a generation that has been taught that rain is poison and sex is death? If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation. It’s a strange world. Some people get rich and others eat shit and die. Who knows? If there is in fact, a heaven and a hell, all we know for sure is that hell will be a viciously overcrowded version of Phoenix — a clean well lighted place full of sunshine and bromides and fast cars where almost everybody seems vaguely happy, except those who know in their hearts what is missing… And being driven slowly and quietly into the kind of terminal craziness that comes with finally understanding that the one thing you want is not there. Missing. Back-ordered. No tengo. Vaya con dios. Grow up! Small is better. Take what you can get…”
“Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism — which is true, but they miss the point. It was the built-in blind spots of the Objective rules and dogma that allowed Nixon to slither into the White House in the first place. He looked so good on paper that you could almost vote for him sight unseen. He seemed so all-American, so much like Horatio Alger, that he was able to slip through the cracks of Objective Journalism. You had to get Subjective to see Nixon clearly, and the shock of recognition was often painful.”
Bottom line is, you can read Nietzsche & Rand all you want. You can embrace them & believe that you are deep by rejecting common morality. You can quote them & believe that you are a deeply academic renegade that is fighting the master slave morality through the freedom & uniqueness of your own thought.
Or, you can fuck it all & just go Gonzo. Be a real renegade.
When you balance the facts, it’s the stoner gun-totting journalist that actually stood for something. It’s the pulp culture icon that legitimately fought the good fight. It was Thompson that did more than just write about it.
“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: Who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?”