Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why Philosophy is Important

There's an article by the New York Times Magazine's James Ryerson about David Foster Wallace's undergrad thesis. It makes some nice points about the dialogue between intellectual argument and the authenticity of experience and feeling. That dialectic, Ryerson argues, went on to color Wallace's work in fiction.

I appreciate the struggle between the mind and the spirit (or soul or heart or emotions or chemical-based responses to sensory inputs, whatever). Philosophy and logic are necessary to call bullshit on all the times we get carried away by love or greed or fear or anger. However, sometimes a rose is a rose is a rose, and we need to simply enjoy that. Sometimes we need to receive love and kindness without analyzing the motive. Sometimes we need to simply allow ourselves to exist in the space that exists between experience and explanation. It's a delicate balancing act between understanding and appreciation. Maybe knowing how the sausage is made isn't the highest expression of humanity. And isn't humanity the point?