Sometimes I daydream. What do I daydream about? One may legitimately ask. I daydream about liberty, the freedom the challenge authority, yet be authority myself; my legitimate role would be at constant risk as many will try to dethrone my place as a philosopher. The world of the enlightenment is certainly more intellectually violent; but that is far from dangerous compared to real, physical violence.
I dream of marble steps, maybe stone, walking up some nice stairs, or a quaint, quiet, green environs. They shall call me titles such as ‘Magister’, ‘Doctor’, or ‘Teacher’. I shall teach the young and corrupt their dogmatic ways. I’d like to be the kind of teacher that inspired me, or, that I dreamed about. Hard-edged, wise, sharp, funny, compassionate, strong, sensitive. I would teach them the hard philosophy; Kant, metaphysics, Spinoza, Hume, Normativity. I’ll fraternise with the young ones, even identify with them. Among my charges, I shall be the kind teacher, among my peers, I shall be the violent scholar. That is the fantasy
My reality? My friends are imbeciles, demagogues, sentimentalists, epicureans. They care not for the love of God, or even the love of reason. Some say I am the enemy of the theist; but they I respect insofar as they have beliefs and values, my friends from my past, however, take too much for granted and don’t even think for themselves, for them, thought and brain power is merely the operation of bodily functions, rather than the study of concepts. I feel disheartened at my isolation; it is like I am the last philosopher. I know that is not true, but I feel culture is dying; the days of Romanticism and art criticism as a dominant cultural force are ending, even modernism had intellectual and ethical import. The ideologues of today are no more sophisticated than the decadent hellenic sophistry of the logic of pleasure. I love the sweet nectar of reason; to explore the most fundamental ideas, I like striving to change myself and my beliefs, not just abstractly, but in daily life, evaluate how I treat people, how I conduct my life, where I want to go, who I want to be, what I am to feel, practical, daily knowledge. Many people consider the former to be a process of intellectual introspetion whereby the latter to be simply givens; I do not accept this asymmetry, I say they are isomorphic in the vein of the former.
The reality is so bleak, but so is the fantasy. Life is hard, I grant you that; but at least with philosophy we have a chance to grow and learn and develop in a meaningful and significant way to aid humanity and most importantly, ourselves. Philosophy is rational psychotherapy for some; that is the nature of true metaethics and moral psychology; of course, as Spinoza contests, the metaphysics must come first. This is where I think the Christians have got it right…