Closet Philosopher

Philosophy is the study of behavior.  True, it is the study of very specialized behaviors.  Philosophers study the nature of the universe, the underlying and unchanging nature of great concepts such as Justice and Truth and Right and Wrong.  But underlying and unifying all these concepts are people, you and me.  These are just very specialized aspects of you and me, therefore philosophers study behavior.

Philosophy is a behavior in its own right.  In order to do philosophy, you have to think about these things.  Thinking is behavior.  True, it’s the sneakiest form of behavior because we don’t (yet) have a way to see inside someone’s head to tell what they are thinking.  So when you see a lady lounging on the beach with a daiquiri in hand and you ask her what she’s doing, she can say “I working doing philosophy” and we would have to take her word for it.  It may be that she was thinking of something else, or may have even been napping (it’s impossible to see her eyes behind those big beautiful sunglasses and floppy hat), but there’s no way for us to know.

The reason we should study philosophy as behavior is because so many of us look towards philosophy in order to understand our world.  So many young people take philosophy courses in school, and so many other adults attempt to tackle philosophy when they have time.  But, as far as I can tell as of this writing, no one is making any great strides in understanding.  Everyone is still, just talking.

That’s why there are so many closet philosophers.  We don’t like to admit it, but many of us (especially writers and other artists) are thinking about these sort of big questions.  And it’s our duty as students of behavior to put some of our tools to use in their behalf.  We certainly aren’t going to expect great philosophical insights.  But perhaps our observations can shed some light on the WAY philosophy is studied today, not upon philosophy itself.

Are you with me?  Alright then, let’s open that closet door and join the rest of society.


2 thoughts on “Closet Philosopher

  1. There are many closet philosophers, but not in my generation. The concept of philosophy is dwindling into an archaic past time, teenagers are preoccupied with effortless thought processes concerning celebrities and pop culture. I also find it incredibly hard to actually think, I might believe I’m thinking but i’m not, i’m just reiterating what I already believe to be true in my head, it’s actually a strenuous task to think of something new, it’s not easy. Think of how much of our time we spend aimlessly drifting through thoughts when we could actually be thinking productively. To me, one of the key determinants of doing good philosophy is to be disciplined and diligent with thinking, it’s about thinking consciously if you get what I mean, I can register a thought process but its almost an autonomous one, such as how to get to a certain destination by foot, or what to do in the weekend, real philosophy should strain your brain akin to the strain you feel on your muscles when you exercise, otherwise its just autonomous recollection and you’re not really learning anything.

    • There weren’t that many in my generation, either – some 40 years ago. Today’s young adults are immersed in a noisier sea of diversion: Constant music, all-engrossing games, heightened sexuality, and accelerating technology.
      You’re right as well about the strain – it should hurt. But the muscles you develop will be useful your entire life. Keep it up.

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