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RE: [existlist] The counterintuatives

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  • Herman B. Triplegood
    Bill: I was tickled by Ayn Rand s depiction of the great philosopher of human freedom in Atlas Shrugged as one who gave up the academic pursuit of the subject
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 1, 2005
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      I was tickled by Ayn Rand's depiction of the great philosopher of human
      freedom in Atlas Shrugged as one who gave up the academic pursuit of the
      subject and earned his living making the best darned hamburgers in Colorado.
      That is not to say that there are not many admirable professionals in the
      field worth learning from who in that academic environment can and do
      cultivate it as a professional interest in the minds of the younger
      generation and also achieve great accomplishments in the name of

      Some are gifted to be teachers; others are called by scholarship. To each
      his own. They all have a place. If it were not for the nitty gritty brass
      tacks nuts and bolts kind who take the time to learn the Greek, the German,
      and to pore over the texts in their original languages, paragraph by
      paragraph, sentence by sentence, I would not be sitting here, having the
      good fortune now, to be able to read Heidegger or Husserl in my own
      language. My hat is off to the scholar for helping to swing open the doors
      to this delightful understanding for me, and to the teachers who have
      inspired my interests.

      There are dilettantes, and then there are incredibly well rounded
      intellects. Often the former accusation is thrown at the latter, because the
      specialists, perhaps, may feel slighted for the lack of recognition for the
      magnitude of their tedious contribution. But the generalist also has a
      place. Was Voltaire just a dilettante? He wrote about just about everything
      under the Sun. William James began as a medical doctor, he went into
      psychology, then philosophy, and from there, had some things to say about
      religion as well.

      I cannot turn the clock back twenty years in order to make a different
      choice, to get serious, hunker down, hit the books, write the papers, and
      get a license to drive philosophy. But that does not disappoint me. If I had
      not taken the roads that I did, I might have ended up being an uninspired
      academician, and would have missed out on many of the other nifty things I
      have experienced along the way. There can be no room for this kind of
      regret. All I can say is that my hobby enlivens me, and it continues to stir
      my interest in the big questions. It makes my life more meaningful to engage
      in these dialogues, here, as well as more silently when I'm buried into the
      tough readings.

      The professor who originally inspired my interest in philosophy over twenty
      years ago used to ask this question. Is it more important to have just a few
      people who know a lot about philosophy (academicians and scholars), or is it
      more important for a lot of people to know a little bit about philosophy? He
      was, himself, an amazingly educated man, schooled in Madrid, could speak
      classical languages and German, French, Italian, fluently, and he was a
      master when it came to Kant, Hegel and Husserl. Yet, he always said his
      personal take on the matter was that the latter is more important than the
      former. Yes, he admired his colleague who has, to this day, devoted his
      entire philosophical career to just the study of Galileo. But he personally
      felt that philosophy had to be relevant to the MITS (Man in the Street) if
      it was to survive into the future as a lively academic discipline. He often
      commented that he would probably be just as happy, knowing what he knew
      about philosophy, but earning a living as a computer programmer, and he was
      in fact studying that field after having been a teacher of philosophy for at
      least a couple of decades. He was no dilettante, nor was he a victim of his
      interest, but I can certainly understand how some people could end up being
      victimized just that way. The usual sign of that is superficiality. It is
      possible, I think, to read broadly, but also deeply.

      I enjoy your thoughtful remarks on the topic at hand.



      From: existlist@yahoogroups.com [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      Of bhvwd
      Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 4:06 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] The counterintuatives

      Herman, I have a tendancy to preform against expected expectations.
      I finish jobs but often with outcomes unexpected at the outset.I
      know this arises from my high regard for the importance of change
      that occurs during the course of a project or endeavour. I am a
      constant victim of interest and thus have a keen appreciation when
      a fellow like Bookdoc takes the theme up on a philosophical scale. I
      think it only prudent to follow ones talents but in my case I
      risked the possibility of becoming a lifelong dilletante. I have
      been a jock and a scholar, a doctor and a ditchdigger, a soldier and
      a labor activist. Recently I returned to common laborer and found
      great satisfaction. It is as if I start out in one production and
      some unknown director changes the script and plot. If I resist the
      futility drives me to yet another senario. Free will? Hell, I would
      be better off with freedom from olfactory interferance.
      I sense some similarity with your bounced around trajectory. I
      have come to see that a generality of experience is a necessity when
      trying to make sense of life. That ongoing process need be coupled
      with an inquisative mind and an explorative attitude. Many think
      such types to be the dangerous empaths. Boinc them.
      Knowing their proclivities and wanting to avoid conflict with
      such may be a mistake of the Prime Minister level. But then the
      concept of prime minister represents as machaviellian in its
      We will get smarter or we will perish. I am taking sides and
      degrees really do not matter. Bill

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