I’m pretty sure that smarter men than myself have said (at the very least) most things that I might have to say, and if I happen to create something new from my own mind, then it is because I have read and studied the same literature as those wise men, and, using my rational mind to the best of my ability, as I’ve been taught to do in the university, have come to the same logical conclusions, as them – and if I would have read them beforehand, I wouldn’t have to make these cognitive causalities on my own.
But then again I understand why I’m supposed to read all the influental philosophers, not just those of the 20th – 21st centuries; the cognitive capabilities and the logical process of causality which I have experienced allow me to make my own conclusions, and I wouldn’t have felt as if I’m making correct assumptions, if I, from my own rational mind, wouldn’t have come to the same conclusions as some modern-day philosophers – it feels nice to know that your mind works and that it’s on a right (or maybe „correct” or „valid” would be a better term to use here) path.
It’s a weird feeling, really. Before I started my studies, it was far easier to think of something I want to tell the world, write a story about it, make it fun, make it understandable. Now it seems that writing a story is something that an arrogant or a very wise person would do, because what if the idea that I’m trying to convey to the reader has been proven wrong in a text which I haven’t read? Suddenly proper quotations are of importance, and the fact that I have to tell something to the reader is not. I’d rather study something, research something new, then make sure that, indeed, I’ve researched and developed something new, and only then would try to make a story out of it.
When I was a teenager, I used to write things, because I believed that most people are idiots, while I’m not – and that it’s my duty to make them smarter, make them think differently, all the while entertaining them; I hoped that while they would have a good read, something in their dumb brains would click and that my stories would work like some sort of a catalysy that would unlock their hidden intelligence caches. As you can see, I wasn’t very clever during my puberty, and I doubt that I’m much smarter now. Except that now I know that I should be more humble and more careful about how and what and why do I write.
And I must ask now, why would an author ever would want to write anything for stupid people? Even cheap crime novels which people read on boring train rides presume that their reader can make some rational choices and can understand something about how crime works. Being rude to your readers and calling them names is dumb. Writing things, presuming that your readers are dumb is egoistical and idiotical. Thankfully, I’m out of puberty – at least, out of the physical puberty, that is. To become an adult in the mental sense, like Immanuel Kant wrote in his „Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung?” to really be able to use my rational mind and to be able to say that my decisions and ideas are one hundred percent mine, to use my mind as the final tool of judgement requires a lot more experience and wisdom than I currently have. At the very least, I can be quite sure that I’ve done my best to understand those wise men I mentioned in the beginning of this essay, and that, most likely, I’m on the correct, valid path. Maybe I’ll even start writing something normative one day, but that’s just wishful thinking that includes possible assumptions about my future abilities. If that day comes, however, I can surely say that I won’t be writing anything for stupid people, trying to trick them into some percieved, pre-determined conclusions. Writing entertaining and funny things and making comics about philosophy is a quite another thing, though. It’s like a vodka for the psyche. I have these weird graphomaniacal tendencies, and I really like to see happy, laughing people – because stress is killing us – and joining the two is the way how I make myself happy. Although, I’m pretty sure that I don’t know a lot about happiness either.
Free will doesn’t make a person happy, that’s for sure. One of my favourites, Stoa philosophy presupposes freedom of will and states that in our rational choice to lead a meaningful, organized, virtuous (arete) life, we gain sense of peace which is much more important that some percieved state of happiness. (My christmas essay for people now makes a lot more sense, and in the same time, I’m so ashamed for it) Through our choice to be good, stable people we don’t achieve happiness, but we are free of suffering – in the mental level that is – and we live the best possible life. Some philosophers, like Popper and Descartes agree on this freedom of will. Other philosophers, such as Ryle and Hobbes and every reductional matherialist ever have made sensible claims about us, not having any free will whatsoever. I’m more inclined to take Kant’s position on this issue, because freedom of will, as a thing in itself (ding an sich) is completely irrational, unprovable and, actually, doesn’t change anything – even if we don’t have a true freedom of will, that means that right now our deterministic nature demands us to act as if we had it. In short, whether or not we have free will, we’d still do the same thing. If this raises some questions about morality, read „De libero arbitrio voluntatis” by Augustine, together with mr. Frankfurt’s commentary. I’m sure that people before me have tried to combine this as if free will with Stoa philosophy (I severly dislike the term „Stoicism” – any „-ism” is better left alone) but as I like Foucault’s and Schmidt’s (Hopefully, I wrote his surname correctly – I’ve read him only in my own native Latvian, he’s an influental modern German ethicist, writing about the „art of living” and I’ve no idea how his surname is properly spelled in German) philosophy, whichare compatible and in a way expands and grows upon the Stoa, this compatibility problem is important to me, so that I could understand how to live my life better. There are seemingly only two options here: I’ve either chosen the Stoa on my own, or I chose it because it was somehow pre-determined by some circumstances, without an act of my volition – but can we call that „choice” then? But by choosing to live by Stoa philosophy, I’m accepting some determinism in my life, so, paraphrasing the previous statement to make it clearer: one can see that I’ve chosen some degree of determinism by my own volition or that I’ve been determined to choose some degree of determinism.
I’d rather let this stay unfinished here. I had written some further ideas, but it’s 01.24 and I’m not sure whether or not those ideas make any sense. Hopefully, by the next time I write something here, I’ll have some answers. Thanks to everyone who actually read through this, quite possibly, most truthful thing I’ve written. Oh, and plese: don’t judge me, I’m just a philosophy student who sometimes can’t sleep at night.
Also, here’s a picture of Spiderman fighting Vash the Stampede for you.