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Blupete's Weekly Commentary

January 17th, 1999.

"On Philosophy."

"Boswell describes, in his biography of the English lexicographer, where Dr. Johnson, after a forty year absence meets an old class-fellow, Oliver Edwards. They had met by chance in the street. Edwards was at the time of the meeting living on a little farm of about sixty acres, seemingly, quite happy, from season to season, to see his grass, his corn, and his trees growing. He addressed his illustrious friend: 'You are a philosopher, Dr. Johnson. I have tried too, in my time, to be a philosopher; but, I don't know how, cheerfulness was always breaking in.'

"Then there is the story of David Hume, who, when he began to be known in the world as a philosopher, was admonished by a Mr. White, a decent rich merchant of London: 'I am surprised, Mr. Hume, that a man of your good sense should think of being a philosopher. Why, I did take it into my head to be a philosopher for some time, but tired of it most confoundedly, and very soon gave it up.' 'Pray, sir', said Mr. Hume, 'in what branch of philosophy did you employ your researches? What books did you read? 'Books?' said Mr. White; 'nay sir, I read no books, but I used to sit whole forenoons a-yawning and poking the fire.'

"If one was forced to point to the most remarkable development in the past two centuries, - two centuries marked by a huge number of remarkable developments - What would it be? It would not, for me, be the automobile, nor the aeroplane; nor antibiotics; nor the splitting of the atom; nor the computer. It would be: 'man's unveiling of the face and figure of the reality of which he forms part, the first picture of human destiny in its true outlines.'

"Reality is only gradually dawning on us, - piece by piece, development after development. This reality, I think we might reasonably conclude, is that there does exist, in total, a living universe; and we, as thinking men and women, can come to the conclusion that we are part of this universe, we have a place in it.

"These developments were brought on by men, philosophers long since dead. Many wrote books, some with formidable titles, ones you might actually recall being on a long forgotten syllabus, one we had in hand during our greener days. If you were, once again, to pick one of these books up, - and perchance to read, perchance to reflect on these eternal thoughts, particularly in the light of our life experiences and in the light of the many social problems we see around us today, - one may join the group and become a philosopher."

These are the introductory paragraphs from my exposition, or essay, on the subject --
blupete's Essay, "On Philosophy," an essay which has had close on to 5,000 visits in the past year and to which an impressive number of educational institutions have linked.

[To Blupete's Essays]
[Thoughts & Quotes of blupete]

Peter Landry

January, 1999 (2021)