A topic really important to me is utility. I want to utilize myself for the greater good. I want to spend my time doing a lot of useful, meaningful, value-adding things. Reading dusty books in a dusty library does not present itself to me as particularly useful. I could be working, meeting people and helping them with whatever little or big thing I can help them with. Or I could be volunteering, helping people feel better, safer, that they are not alone. I could be with my friends, trying to make them feel positive about life. I could be with my man-friend, trying to show them that they are the best. Instead, I am to read a bunch of esoteric nonsense removed from my every-day human existence and ultimately, the things I hold dearest. Other humans, not books.
Of course, studying Philosophy has helped me clarify and define my thinking. It has given me ideas, from which formulate my own musings on the world. At the moment though, I feel restless, and ready to run into the world. Not as a full and complete person, far from it, but as someone who is eager to take what they have learned from books and previous experience, and (as my current favourite empiricist Hume would probs approve), negotiate these in the world, learning and honing them further in my communication and interaction with other individuals, and the community and wider society around me.
It would be ignorant to assume that after I finish my Masters I will be the holder of some great knowledge. That studies will increase my brain mass so that I am in danger of toppling over if a gust of wind was to catch me. I don’t believe my Masters will lead me to super-great intellectual revolutions. The greatest things I ever learned were from other living humans, not all of them (gasp!) university educated. I learn best by touching the world, quizzically observing others. Again, the library makes me sad and anxious on days when I particularly would rather be with people, doing my tiny bit to help correct the many things going wrong in this world.
Studying Philosophy is I guess like cod-liver oil. I sorta know it’s probably good for me, but sometimes it disgusts me. It’s true it will provide a necessary lubricant to my stiff brain cogs, but instead of brain I often feel like I want to use my arms and legs and mouth. There is so much to be done! How can I waste my time in a class room? That, I guess, is the battle of one who has experienced life and loss after their ‘student days’ and perhaps also felt that didn’t Levinas help me much during my toughest times.
My dream would be to do a Masters in Social Work or Sociology. After a short post-grad in the that approximate field I have found work in the field to be of the biggest satisfactory value to me. Yet I am not qualified to do a Masters, so would need to start from a lower degree. This, after 10 years work experience in the field + plus 2 years study in Scotland in the aforementioned subjects doesn’t exactly seem appealing, so Philosophy it is.
I am trying to find connections with the real world and my studies and I do believe those can be found. I catch myself of black and white thinking, which really isn’t a virtue I need to cultivate. Philosophy can be of the world and for the world. I can succeed in my attempt to make my studies meaningful to me. I have found that real humans work at the Philosophy department and some of them struggle with the same thoughts and ‘issues’ as me. Perhaps I will find solace in this thought too.
I am writing this as today was a particularly difficult day of studies. It’s good to write one’s problems out, lay them on the grass and examine them to make sense. I always seem to forget to do this; ‘too busy’. Bah, one is never too busy to hear one’s own thoughts!
I am not kind to Philosophy on days like this. It is relevant to life. I am just adjusting a bit to a kind of a culture shock, of which I have experienced many. Working in the job centre, my clients are often the greatest example of the many and varied ways in which humans can conduct their lives in this culture and in others. I guess my mode of pleasurable existence would be of an everyday philosopher, not of an academic one. To each their own and to me, what comes most naturally.