Wednesday, April 17, 2013

On The Short Rope

I never could figure out what to do with my life, the most important thing seemed to be doing good. Such was the simplistic thinking that drove me into the study of philosophy, in hopes of finding a way to answer what I should do. I found that the way of learning philosophy available in school was not providing me with the stuff of useful answers. Some techniques of thought and analysis are useful in themselves for clarity of thought; the skill of deep reading taught by Tom Trelogan helps in learning of new material of all kinds; a basic knowledge of the history of the moral conversation upon the Earth is also good for seeing what has come before, and what came by it.
Philosophy could not answer the question that I took to it. Philosophy is not wisdom, and it does not teach one to be wise. Philosophy is the loneliness of a person who feels a great lack of forlornness for Wisdom. Be this person wise, or be they a fool, they seek wisdom, and look for it, and live their lives in whatever way seems, at the time, most likely to draw that most beautiful beloved closer. The philosophic conversation, like the stories of triumphs and lost loves we hear from our elders, is the account of those who have felt this urge before us and have left their account for the future. These stories offer insights into what has worked in the past and what has gone awry. But each person must find their own love, and must build a life appropriate to that love. The wisdom of a Friar is very different from the wisdom of a Grandfather, and each to be with their wisdom has had to obey the life requirements their own relationship to wisdom.
Some time ago the original pointedness of my question, "What should I do with my life?" faded away. It is a question with out any one answer, but instead which is answered again and differently in every moment. No longer do I look for grand narratives to take part in, but instead I am trying to make a living within the requirements that my relationship to my Little Wisdom requires. It is a happy relationship, and one which I would put first against my other values, but like all sanctified relationship one requiring sacrifice. My Little Wisdom keeps me on a short rope, my Little Wisdom requires me to live a very different kind of life from what I hear generally taught.

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