Saturday, August 26, 2006

Not As I Do

What should we think about the philosopher who acquires literary fame by eloquently persuading us to restrain our ambition and to live a quiet and humble life? Is his real motivation to help others, or is he driven by the very ambition that he claims to despise? Does he not foresee his own glory while he is urging the rest of us to embrace obscurity? He does if he is wise enough.


Gopher said...

Maybe he's just frustrated by the human race and therefore is scolding them in some way although he's obviously away of the repercussions.

Nature's Rebel said...

Frustration with one's fellows is a undeniable motivator. But do you think it could be strong enough that it would drive someone to make a public figure of himself just for the sake of scolding? Would his goal be to change society? Could he have that much confidence in himself? Or does it really come down to personal ambition?

I've always been struck by David Hume's admission, that his driving passion in life was the desire for literary fame. As great a philosopher as he was (one of my favorites, actually), I can't help but read his works without thinking of how I am just part of the recognition that he was seeking. And Hume at least was honest. My post is meant to remind us that individual philosophers are human, even the greatest of them, and humans have human desires.

Gopher said...

Coincidentally I was speaking to a philosophy student this week concerning Hume's admission and Hume in general.

I believe some people want to have their thoughts and theories heard but cannot find the means to due to in obscurity.

Nature's Rebel said...

There's no doubt about that. Do you wonder why we want to have our thoughts heard?

Gopher said...

I have an ego that needs to be quenched.

I really don't know, although I've thought about it. Most of the time it seems to be an urge to reveal what's in my head. I desire to spread thought selfishly.

I find that thought without revelation is a wasted thought. It's as though you build up the creative version of adrenalin but without releasing the ideas you cannot reach a climax.

There's a certain amount of acceptance seeking as well.