I have always loved asking the unanswerable questions: Is there life after death? Does God really exist? If you choke a smurf, what color will it turn?
That’s why it occurred to me at an early age that philosopher is the greatest gig in the world. Guys like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, really knew their stuff. They just sat around thinking and asking questions their entire lives and the masses loved to listen to them –adored them in fact. I doubt any of them ever had to work a day in their lives. Granted, it did end poorly for Socrates, but still that is a risk I’d be willing to take in order to sit around “pondering life” for a living. Plato even believed Socrates could have escaped but chose to die instead of run. Man, if that ain’t laziness I don’t know what is.
So, imagine my disappointment when I discovered you can’t really earn a living as a philosopher in this day and age. There went my dreams for a life of ease and throngs of adoring fans –or did it? Let me just think about this a moment. What present day profession equates to sitting around all day thinking and asking… then writing… writing… down your thoughts… Eureka!
Staying on the philosophical train, for a moment, let me quote The Tao of Pooh.
“”When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.””
Philosophers – writers, it’s the same thing, Piglet. Have you read Plato’s Theory of Forms? Good luck convincing me he didn’t think that up sitting around a fire, passing a doobie and making s’mores to curb his munchies. Anyway, my point is that writers perform the same basic function as philosophers. We ask the tough or unanswerable questions. Now some writers ask the really poignant questions: What if we are not the only intelligent life in the universe? What if man is his own worst enemy? What if God exists but just doesn’t give a damn?
I believe what makes some writers great, just as it was with philosophers, is how they answer these difficult questions. The more creative and logical an answer is, the stronger the story or philosophy. Honestly, I think the ancient philosophers kind of got a pass on the creativity point, since they didn’t have to deal with the issue of access to every other person’s thoughts at their fingertips in the form of an e-book or webpage. Face it, there just wasn’t a lot of competition back then.
So yeah, I want to be a philosopher, writer and all around deep thinker. I want people to read my thoughts and put me in the same league as Socrates, Twain, Poe and King. I picture myself as a modern day philosopher, best-selling author and brilliant mind, but in truth I’m more in the league of Real Men of Genius.