Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Beef With Philosophy Part I

Philosophy is bullshit.

I want to say that it's because philosophers don't tackle practical questions, that they contribute zilch to the quality of my existence, or that I have an unveiled contempt for the notion that their minds are better trained for reasoning than, say, a consultant, novelist, drummer, or stay-at-home dad. However, I imagine that, if I were to try, I could only convince you of my contempt. Nonetheless, let me, in an anecdotal and not even loosely logical fashion, hit you with my spiel.

Diatribe I.

Freshman year. My mind is soft. Squishy. A voluptuous breast of a brain. Yesssss... the sleezy philosophy professors---who I insist you picture wearing magicians' robes, with long beards and rubbing their hands together lecherously---couldn't keep their hands off. It was only a matter of time before I found myself in one of their courses... only a matter of time (In fact, it was a gen ed requirement. So, really, it was at most 4 years). That Fall, for whatever reason (now that I think about it, I'm 95% sure it was the whole gen ed requirement thing...), I enrolled in the Introduction to Philosophy course. My prim, rosy cheeks untarnished by the bullshit of philosophy, I actually thought I might learn something. Thus, I skipped excitedly to class, golden locks bouncing in unison with my adorably childish book satchel (I'm kinda going for an image here). How could I have known what awaited me in the shitty, Intro spill-over room? I sat down, flung my locks to either side (I looked good), and waited.

Before long, a tall, hollow man donning magician's robes and a long beard entered the room (<--- almost philosophy professor). "Muahahahahaha," he cackled, "Good morning." His eyes scanned the room and stopped on my sweet, sweet cranium. He rubbed his hands together lecherously (<--- philosophy professor). "Shall we begin?" With this, he launched into an impressive forty-five minute knowledge-shouting session: Oh what's that? He asked a question? You think he wants to know your answer? Well, I guess you'd better raise your hand. SHIT! SHIT! IT WAS TRAP! TURN BACK! HE WAS BELLIGERENTLY CONVINCED YOU WERE WRONG ALL ALONG!

It went on like this for three days...

And then it happened. Disillusioned and tired, I was totally unprepared for the magnum poopus, the creme de la shit, the deuce to end all deuces. Waving his hands back and forth, the philosophy professor pronounced, "It's almost as if..." Pause. "... questions..." Pause. "...are truer..." Pause. "...than answers." Pause. "Think about it."

Well, I thought about it. And, what do you know, I came to the conclusion that questions have no meaningful truth value---that they are, in essence, devoid of truth OR falsity. Now, I understand the professor's point: Questions are never false. They're almost vacuously true... but they're not. Hence, it sticks out to me as a dumb point. A point that, indeed, we should leave to philosophers to contest... because the rest of us have better shit to do. In fact, I'm hungry. Stay tuned for Diatribe II.