Philosophy, dialogue and interest for the ordinary

Wittgenstein once said “A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring”. I do sense that there is something in it. It is the discussion that brings philosophy to life. Remember Socrates, he did not write, he conversed, and mostly he was just asking questions. If you look at the later writings of Wittgenstein you see it is highly dialogic.

But the comparison to boxing? Does it mean that philosophy has to be rough? I, think no. But the point is rather that when philosophy is making impact, it is also likely to “stun” or “shake” you. A good discussion will move you one way or the other, and leave you with a new impression, which in a sense can be quite painful.

As for me, I like to listen. And I tend to not find more interest in listening to intelligent people than any other people. It does make me a bit concerned, when people I know visit my blog, and they tell me something like “this looks really advanced”, “too difficult for me” and “you must’ve read a lot”. They want to say something nice, and I do take it as a compliment, but at the same time I do get disappointed, because what they say is also a rejection, as if what I write doesn’t concern them. But in a sense, in my mind, it is indeed for them that I do write. I don’t consider myself as a high-flyer who likes to spend time among his high-flying friends (who I haven’t got anyway). I’m a person who like to talk with various ordinary people with different backgrounds. The members of my family, the immigrant barber, the nurse-assistants at the hospital etc. These are all sources of inspiration for me, and in a sense also for my writing.

But with that said, I don’t try to make my writing easy and interesting read for anyone. I have no primary intent to make things simple or easy-accessible. I may still be satisfied with a text I’ve written which I know most likely nobody will understand.

As for people I meet in every day life, it is not like I try to educate them, I believe that more usually I enter the discussion on their terms. And the day after a good talk we may both wake up feeling “stunned”. This blog however can be seen as a discussion entered on my own terms… and usually it’s not much of a discussion at all, as I’m the only participant. To be the only participant wasn’t what I had hoped for, but I’ve started to reconcile with the thought that it’s the way it is.

Further reading
Is philosophy easy or hard? Some quotes by Wittgenstein on difficulty and simplicity

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About Dandre

Former student of philosophy, maths and literature. Now studying master program in sociology. Some thinkers of central interest include Ludwig Wittgenstein, C. G. Jung and Pierre Bourdieu.
This entry was posted in Language and communication, Metaphilosophy, Wittgenstein and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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