01 June 2005

Philosophy is Stealing

After reading Psychbloke's Philosophy Top 3 and Effay's response a few things started breaking open my head, or at least caused it to itch a little.

A comment from Psychbloke - "the worst place to start [reading Philosophy] is usually with someone else's introduction" - started me thinking because by nature I am a dabbler, a dilettante, a dipper into Philosophy; my attention span wavers at the slightest hitch (the same goes for my increasingly frantic/pathetic lust for Quantum Physics comprehension: the more I read the more I realise I don't understand - not in a good, Socrates way but in the infinitely simpler variation of utter stupidity)

For the record, I don't believe that knowing you know nothing equates to wisdom; plenty of retards all around who know full well and feel cleverer by avoiding inellectual challenges to their pure thought, plenty of people glorifying in their lack of understanding and issuing dismissals accordingly.

I may be doing the same right now...

But back to the issue: as a Philosophy ingenu I'm constantly impressed by the breadth of reading out there in Blogger land, though I suppose the closed circuit bending nature of links and cross-links was always bound to give people the space to breathe and talk specifics, away from their eye-rolling friends.

Anyway, I realised that my own Philosophical reading is so fragmented - I can't remember finishing a single original text - for reasons I didn't really appreciate. I always figured I had such a scattershot approach because I was going looking for supplemental soundbites; ways to impress, ways to manipulate text/arguments/discussions by invoking Old Masters and thus objectifying subjective experience: "You see, others think this too, I'm not alone..."

But then I realised my memory simply isn't up to it because I don't think I've ever consciously quoted a Philosopher in a discussion

((((I'm not including Freud here because my job forces the soundbites out of me and into 16 year olds: they need to pass before they need to understand and my anti-capitalist / anti-hierarchical leanings won't do them much good when they get a well-meaning and thoughtful C grade and end up at Roehampton Institute))))

Rather, I tend to absorb Philosophy (in bits) whole, perhaps the most dangerous of all approaches to reading. I get an impression (often wrong, I'm sure) and then simply use it as a basis for my own thoughts (or what I think are my own thoughts).

Is this a good idea? Not sure. Something makes me think I'm stealing other people's thoughts and distorting them for my own reasons before a process of cryptoamnesia makes me forget where they came from. The thoughts are mine now and K-Punk / Psychbloke style quotations / abbreviations makes me feel nervous because they hint at a reality behind the distortion, a mind at work that truly had purpose and a context.

Forgetting in this form seems to lead to potential ruin and damnation but I haven't yet read anything that tells me I need to care.

Now, must go and read three pages of Nietzche...

1 comment:

Psychbloke said...

God, are you still on the Roehampton thing ? Hasn't the guy suffered enough? (I miss you lot, I really do...)

Aren't you using a dash of Kierkegaard for A02? (de rigeur up here)

You don't have to know much quantum physics - enough to make spurious links bewteen it and post-structuralism will do, otherwise, I think its perfectly acceptable to act as if everything was your idea.....

Related Posts with Thumbnails