I met a lovely lady this morning, at a party in the Day Centre within our local Hospice. It was a party for all of us who volunteer there. She told me, long before we asked each other our names, that she did Philosophy. She told me why, and told me where I could do it too, and I was very taken with her. She told me she has had to struggle with being judgemental, and that it has taught her to live in the now and to not be judgemental any more. Gosh I thought, loads of people spend loads of time and money trying to live in the now. Clever lady. With that, she said she must mingle and off she went, leaving my Now and entering into a whole group of other Nows.
So I stayed where I was and thought of Philosophy. I thought idly that if an Artist sat down in Bognor Regis, along the lines of a butterfly flapping its wings somewhere, would that cause the Nikkei index to crash somewhere else, along the lines of the butterfly wings causing an avalanche on the other side of the globe? I liked this. Cause and effect. I remembered that when I was a small child, my father used to drive me mad, pointing to a bottle on the table and saying How do I know that this bottle is still in the room if I go out of the room and can't see it? What if, I thought, my paintings only exist if you are able to see them, and they are not really there at all when you turn your back? Oh goodness. How funny. I sell my clients paintings that disappear when they turn their backs, and only reappear when they turn round again. Or do they?
My own philosophy then. What is my own philosophy? I have thought about this and I don't think I have one. Do you have one? Do you have a philosophy to cover your life, your actions, your beliefs? I do have beliefs that could be called philosophical, like Love is better than Hate, and We are all but Shadows in the Cave of Life and so on. Keep it Simple is a good one to begin with, and would make sense. Though if that was my only philosophy, and I stuck to it all the time, I would be dreadfully boring. The Keep it Simple philosophy would be become a motto and I would be rather constrained by it. Perhaps one needs more than one philosophy. A simple central fundamental one, with others like ever increasing circles around it to mop up all the mood changes, the variations, the different angles, and to make it OK to not quite stick to it if the situation changes. So Keep it Simple would be the basic philosophy, and the concentric circles may be It's not so Simple, then Complicated is OK, then Complicated and Simple Paradox, leading outwards to Chaos is Fun and ending up with Pass the Axe I'm Coming In.
I don't have a philosophy. I hadn't really thought about it until I met the Day Hospice philosopher. I have mottoes, I have ever changing beliefs and ideas, and I often haven't a clue what I am talking about. Like now. But, I can make that my philosophy; Not knowing what you are Talking about is the Font of all Wisdom. I expect someone else has already done that though, it sounds rather sensible and both vague and controversial enough to provoke at least some discussion.
Maybe I shall think of a personal philosophy. All is flux, I am told. This is flux in action. I like to keep things simple, I like the idea that all is random and I also like the idea that all is not random. I love the flux idea. I looked up a list of philosophies and was thrilled that these were listed amongst the hundred or so other philosophies- Chaos Theory, Defeatism, Digital Philosophy, Fanaticism, Leaderless Resistance and Voluntaryism. This is the tip of the iceburg, I could have stopped at Universal Reconciliation and been relieved to find that they believe that all beings, despite their sins, are reconciled at some point with God. I did stop at Quietism, because I like quiet, and read that - "By re-formulating supposed problems in a way that makes the misguided reasoning from which they arise apparent, the quietist hopes to put an end to man's confusion, and help return to a state of intellectual quietude." It was the intellectual quietitude after having my problems reformulated and my misguided reasoning blown to bits, that appealed to me. So, then, I shall be a Quietist. I picture myself sitting quietly on a chair by the window looking blissfully vacant, having returned at last to some intellectual quietitude, as the children riot around me. There is our mother, they will say. It is a good thing that her supposed problems were only a product of her misguided reasoning. Isn't it a relief that she has now become intellectually quiet. And even though she looks goofy now, she will, at some point, be reconciled with God.
My philosophy then, according to me, is that we should all be Quiet. That, and that although other people are often right, I am always right. (With reference there to Lucy Martin, author, linguist, entrepreneur and party animal, who said it to me when I was not very articulate and immediately I found my voice. Thank you Lucy Martin. You are right.)
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