The Dartmouth Observer
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Reflection, Relationships, and Stupidity
There's a lot of bad writing and thinking about relationships.
The only thing we do worse than relationships, I think, is talk about philosophy and "intellectualism."
And it truly bothers me.
This rant inspired by an essay entitled: Ditching the Intellectuals: Why Am I Attracted To Men Who Overthink?
Let's start with first conditions: human existence is an existence where one lives in a world populated with other people who probably don't have your best interests in mind. They don't know you. They can't read your mind. The non-verbal signals you send as well as your fanciful, concocted emotional pleas for sympathy and attention are either unknowingly missed or willfully ignored. The extent to which you are loved varies directly with the extent to which you communicate. Get over yourself, open your mouth, and tell people what you want.
Point two, philosophy is not about live a live of reflection "distanced" from reality. Any one who tells you that has not studied philosophy. In what has become a cliche remark as the justification for disinterested contemplation, someone might retort "the unexamined life is not worth living." Foolish creature, think about what you are saying. You examine a life to live it. Philosophy is the act of gathering knowledge about the world to inform how one should live in the world. Thinking is not separate from doing; in fact, you think to do. If you believe that you know philosophy and think otherwise, I say read the texts and see for yourself that I speak the truth.
Point three, "intellectualism" is not hot. If your thinking about something is disconnected from your life-project and the substantive way you live, you are fool who looks in the mirror and forgets what he/she looks like. When one desires a thinker as a soul-mate, one desires not a jargon-laden empty suit, but rather a person who attempts to grasp the meaning of his/her performances, and the impact that his/her living has on others. The intellectual is one who understands that others exists, and attempts to negotiate that fact.
Let me sum up by being perfectly clear: if you act without thinking, you are an idiot. There is neither hope nor meaning in your actions. You are sound and fury signifying nothing. Lusting after a person who does not think about their actions means that you are supporting the project of fools. If you think without acting, or even valorize such a life, you are a dying person. Your thoughts and your life will come to nought. People won't know you; people won't care about you; and you'll die in the icy recesses of your own mind. Without others you are nothing.