Philosophy used to be a lot more important back in the days of Socrates and Plato. Of course, by important we might mean “Important enough to be publicly executed,” but I quibble. I think Philosophy would gladly go back to the good old days of drinking poison to prove one’s moral courage rather than today’s modern alternative, a time when Science, Religion, Dogma, Mindless Entertainment, and Heroin have all become more popular bedfellows for today’s youth.
(Homosexual love with old dudes doesn’t seem to have the same appeal as it used to, platonic or no.)
In any case, I’d like to see Philosophy make something of a comeback and with that in mind, I’m going to breakdown life into 3 simple choices:
Choice One: Everything matters.
With this selection, you believe that every action, no matter how small, makes a difference. You might be a Buddhist who is trying to reach nirvana one small step at a time. You might be a Confucian, who believes everyone has a place and a duty. You might be a Catholic, who feels that God is watching you every time you masturbate. Whatever your system of beliefs, you have concluded that you must constantly be checking yourself to ensure you are doing the right thing, because everything depends on it.
Pros: You get the video game-style dopamine rush that comes with your constantly leveling up.
Cons: You probably feel guilty pretty much all the time. You can never be good enough.
Choice Two: One thing matters.
And that one thing is probably accepting God. As long as you accept God, it doesn’t matter what you do because you are going to Heaven where you will enjoy eternal salvation. Yay for you! You might also be one of those people who has decided the one thing that matters is getting to the top of Mt. Everest or seeing the Cubs win the World Series before you die. In the case of the former, again, yay for you! If you are the latter, that really sucks because you’ll either reach your goal and find that you then have to recalibrate the meaning of your entire existence, or you will never reach your goal, in which case
Pros: It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you accept God.
Cons: Really sucks if you picked the wrong religion
Choice Three: Nothing matters.
There’s a good chance you are an atheist, or perhaps a nihilist or skeptic. You have decided that life is a meaningless exercise governed by chemicals and atoms bouncing around in the cosmos that started before you were born and will continue long after you’re gone. Or you just don’t know, and you feel like it’s stupid to make a decision about life based on a hunch. Either way, you’re free to do whatever you want, except for the fact we still have laws and societal pressures that probably have more to do with who we are and the choices we make on a day-to-day basis than any kind of religious or ethical consideration. But still, at least you don’t have to feel guilty about masturbating.
Pros: Guilt-free masturbation
Cons: The constant painful awareness that life is meaningless
I’m really baffled why philosophy isn’t more popular with kids today.
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