I have been a basketball player for the majority of my life. I enjoy basketball and most sports to this day. However, I no longer play. In the 11th grade I began reading seriously, as in, actually enjoying it. Previously, reading to me was what it would have been to any other jock that grew up on sports, irrelevant. Now, I read, think and try my best at writing. I’m still learning, as we all are.
My transition from basketballs to books arose out of pure curiosity. I’m glad for that. I was never forced to read, write or question the way I thought about life. Had I been forced, who knows how much I would resent the topics of Philosophy, Psychology, Computer Science, Literature and History.
I enjoy writing. I prefer reading. But I love philosophy. I don’t know why. There is something constantly drawing me in, further and further down the rabbit hole. Whether it be Reality, Art, Beauty, Love, Thinking, Consciousness, Ethics, Logic, I am enthralled each and every day by the concepts of philosophical inquiry.
I receive a lot of judgement — and support — from my parents when it comes to learning. I’ve realized that much of what I have learned over the course of my life has been dictated by the best intentions of others. Though this may seem justifiable on the surface, it has ultimately led me nowhere from an educational perspective.
“I would’ve loved to learn this when I was your age, you should learn it.”
“You know, Philosophy won’t help you one bit in today’s modern economy, how about Physics?”
“How could you possibly waste money on a Philosophy degree? At least take English instead.”
There are thousands more examples of this semi-condescending, parental, I-am-more-educated-than-you approach that others take when discussing the general education of someone else.
Stop it. Right now, Today. Do not tell me what anyone should/can/ought to learn. Frankly, I don’t believe anyone has a better opinion than you do when it comes to your own individual learning.
Am I going to War? Is there something so pressing that I must immediately prepare for the upcoming battle lying ahead of me after University called Life? Well, yes. However, just because life is going to hit me smack-dab in the face after University does not mean I should spend time resenting my educational pursuits. And who is anyone but yourself to tell you how to prepare for that thing called Life? People are not that well off, no one is that educated. There is no Oracle telling you where to focus your brainpower at this very moment for a life of endless pleasure and comfort after University. Spoiler Alert: neither the Oracle or the perfect life exist. Follow your interests and make them useful to you.
Philosophy has taught me how to learn, how to love the life that I live, how to lead a life worth living, and most of all, how to live, in practice, not just in my head. But also in my head.
According to my father, Steve Martin says it best:
“[With] philosophy you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.” -Steve Martin
Though what Steve Martin says rings true, I don’t see this as something to avoid. Even if (hypothetically) Philosophy does screw me up for the rest of my life, I’d be much worse off if I simply gave up learning altogether.