Philosophy is Wank.

I hate anti-intellectualism. In the current climate of Donald Trumps and Nigel Farage’s who use populism to gain support often target the thinkers and others who value knowledge and wisdom. Somehow people who are uneducated have been convinced that the educated are out to get them, or in some elite group beyond the average person. I use the term uneducated carefully, by that I don’t refer to people who haven’t gone to university, but I do refer to people who are unaware. That lack of awareness can and probably should be the sole responsibility of the individual but it would be unfair to blame everyone for what they don’t know. Some people have been raised in environments that don’t encourage original thought.

Everyone is allowed to have their clubs and groups, where they explore a specific thing or idea and maybe share an interest. I don’t however, like any form of elitism. People of all kinds can be elitist from football fans, to fox hunting rich guys. You are allowed your group but to exclude anyone for spurious reasons is not OK. I don’t like football, but I don’t mind if people come together for it and I don’t feel a need to join their group purely because I’m not part of it, I’m happy with the groups that I am part of but I will only engage with a group if it is inclusive, or at least open. Excluding someone because of who they are is not OK. It’s been a long time since most people agreed that excluding women for being women is wrong, exclusion is a fine line away from discrimination and is still a major problem in our society.

A couple of single cell organisms clashed in the ocean a billion years ago and made life. Those cells hooked up with another one and evolution started. We’re just the animals that figured out language, how things work, throwing a rock can kill something, firing an arrow is more efficient.

We started to understand bigger things like mortality, that life and death happened and mattered. Following that people started to think about why, why are we here? What happens when we aren’t here? Are we even here? What’s the point in thinking about it too much?

Maybe we should just eat, fuck and kill but evolution won’t let us, our complex understanding created right and wrong, which bore religion, ethics and morals, now we feel guilty about stuff and believe things we don’t see. What’s the point in worrying about whether we are or not, or if we are the plaything of a god. It’s a nice story but we should concern ourselves with here and now, and what that means for the future, reading a bible won’t save anyone.

My atheism comes through frequently in my writing, not because I want to make a point of my own beliefs, but to make it clear that regardless of beliefs we should think about our reality in the present rather than operating based on an unknown afterlife scenario. Believe what you want and think what you want but everyone should consider the fact that you have one life and you should use it to good effect.

The reason I have an issue with philosophy is not the idea of thinking about why we are here and such, many philosophers have contributed real and meaningful ideas to the human race which have helped to direct and adjust our behaviour. Philosophy has helped to shape our values but raises some serious questions.

Firstly, our values are askew. Capitalism is the fundamental system by which we live in modern times and it is inherently anti-humanistic, it’s about the pursuit of material gain which leads to a few benefitting and most suffering. Sitting around thinking about what “time” means is hardly going to help alleviate this.

Secondly, Plato one of the first “philosophers” and one of the most famous created the concept of Eugenics, or selective breeding. This was the idea of ensuring survival (fair enough) but at the cost of diversity and any real value for any life. Eugenics as a concept has led to many horrific situations, most notably the Holocaust of WWII, African Genocides, and societies that would kill their disabled or weak, or different. I don’t blame Plato for the Nazi’s but it’s an atrocious idea that still permeates society.

No amount of ideas will counteract the terrible things committed by the human race, religion has been a conduit for both kindness and evil.

Thinking about existence too much seems to lead to misery, because there is and never will be an answer. Some may feel that the pursuit of wisdom, even answerable questions is valuable in itself, but I would disagree and say it’s probably a waste of intellect.

I’m not anti-philosophy, certainly not against the processes of considering ways to improve ourselves as a species. But I don’t see value in over intellectualising existence, we are animals.

There’s a line between those who are “uneducated” by my definition above and the “educated” the thinkers and intellectuals who influence our lives with ideas. This line is vast and thick, and actually we need to fall somewhere in between the two. A starving child in the Yemen right now doesn’t need philosophy, they need people to make changes that will stop their suffering and the suffering of others. A person with no home, no money, and no affection will not gain any benefit from knowing why they are “here” and time is not linear.

There is a duty for the super brained of us to help educate and inform others. Many philosophers have stood up and offered real reasons why we shouldn’t go to war, the value of life, the reasons for certain behaviours but it hasn’t changed anything. Preaching to the converted is a real problem, and people generally tend to listen to people they already agree with. All beneficial things created by humans started with an idea, as did all the horrible things we’ve created.

 

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