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Philosophy and Popular Culture October 18, 2007

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Culture, Dwight Furrow's Posts, Philosophy, Science.

Philosophy has a difficult relationship with popular culture. According to Stephen Asma, that is not because of a cultural bias toward old, dead, white guys or an elitist disdain for matters that ordinary people find interesting. Instead, it is because philosophy:

“is in an extremely self-reflexive relationship with its own history, and it requires highly disciplined, systematic, abstract conceptualization, a skill that does not come easily to most people.”

He argues that books such as those in Open Court’s series on popular culture and philosophy (e.g. The Simpsons and Philosophy) do not really enlighten the reader about pop culture, but provide enjoyable access to perennial philosophical issues. Pop culture is in service to philosophy, making the medicine go down easily, rather than philosophy in service to pop culture.

His snarkish (and I think mistaken) comments about Cultural Studies suggest that he thinks there is something superior about philosophers rigorously sticking to core philosophical issues and analysis even when rooting around in the sediments of popular taste.

But why cannot disciplined, systematic philosophical thought help make sense of ordinary life? After all, science requires disciplined, systematic thought but there are lots of examples of bestselling books on science that illuminate some dimension of our lives. Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, Stephen J. Gould’s books on evolution, Chaos by James Glieck, Oliver Saks’ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat are among the many popular books on science that immediately come to mind.

Why is their no similar list in philosophy? (Harry Frankfurt’s Bullshit is an exception, but the title sells itself.)

I suspect it is because popular science books do not try to get readers to do science–they report and tell stories. Why is there no parallel in philosophy? Is it because philosophers don’t like to report and tell stories?



1. Paul Moloney (student in Philsophy of Art and Music) - October 22, 2007

Stephen Asma also states that “Philosophy…tends toward the antisocial; pop culture…tends toward the communal.” Since there is no philosophy without philosophers, this is the same as to say that philosophers tend towards the antisocial, whatever the antisocial may be. I would think that to be antisocial would be to be unreasonable to others in society, unless we say that it is reasonable to be antisocial. If this is the case then Asma is saying that philosophers tend to be unreasonable. Asma claims to be a philosopher, so he is including himself in the group that tends to be unreasonable.

When we say that someone tends to be unreasonable, it can mean that the person tends to be unreasonable without actually becoming so. The more common understanding is that the person that tends to be unreasonable is the person that is in the habit of becoming unreasonable, i.e., the person who is actually unreasonable. If philosophers are actually unreasonable then they are not philosophizing because philosophy is based on reason. Those that are not philosophizing are not philosophers. It would seem, then, that philosophers are not antisocial because philosophers are those that philosophize.

Hey, don’t blame me on the above! I was taught and trained by professors at Mesa.

2. Nina Rosenstand - October 27, 2007

Philosophy is not alone in that respect: There is still considerable disdain in the sciences (as far as I know) toward those who “tell stories,” popularize the difficult concepts and make them work at the everyday level. But popular science has one thing going for it: It is popular! And as such, it actually creates a gateway for novices to engage in “the real thing,” actual scientific research. The “and Philosophy” series shold be able to do the same thing, as you mention, pointing interested viewers toward actual philosophy, but the stories themselves don’t get much respect. You’re so right. A couple of works such as Sophie’s World have become a gateway to philosophy, too, in the manner of the deathless Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (!), but that is simplifying philosophy for a literary audience–not solving problems with philosophy. (And here I’m of course making that enormously bold assumption that problems can be solved with philosophy…)
There is a special Anglo-Saxon bias toward accepting story-telling in philosophy, probably because of the notion that abstract thinking is more valuable than practical thinking, and practical thinking is more valuable than actually getting your hands dirty. This is a bias that Martha Nussbaum, Wayne Booth and others, myself included (in all modesty) have been battling since the 1990s–and it appears to me that we are winning the battle, in a concrete sense: the value of stories as vehicles for philosophical ideas has now dawned on the new generation of philosophy instructors, as a teaching tool (in Europe it has been quite common for philosophers to take stories seriously for a long time, and even be engaged in writing stories, such as Sartre and Beauvoir were engaged in writing). But we still need to get to a point where a philosophical theory, within a narrative setting, is actually being used to illustrate or even solve an existential or a moral problem, and still be considered “real” philosophy by philosophers. Isn’t it wonderful that there’s still fresh work to do? (Aside from the fact that Plato did it first!)

3. Forrest Noble - November 1, 2007

Good comments above.

Don’t think philosophy fits very well with the average intelligence. To be generally understood most philosophies require considerable thinking and therefore would be difficult and uninspiring for most people. Also philosophers of yore primarily catered to the academic community.

I believe also there is no absolute truth to any one philosophy– that most philosophies can have different or conflicting “truths” at the same time depending upon changes in perspectives.

Nowadays Philosophies can be presented in a more common language with humor and contemporary themes and remain scholarly. This is the task and art of good text book writing and those who wish to sell books of traditional or new philosophies as well as make a name for themselves. At present I believe there is a lack of demand in this field or a number of new books on philosophy would be surfacing.

4. Moriae - November 18, 2007

Philosophy should never be popular, nor should it ever attempt to be ‘popular.’ It would lose its soul if it ever tried to pander to the faults and philistine tastes of the crowd. Have we forgotten that “the crowd is untruth?” The price of popularity is steep. Philosophers aren’t alone in wondering why their subject fails to beguile others; even geologists think if ordinary people only saw things as they do, there would be many more people majoring in geology; the same applies to people who love Shakespeare, poetry, modern art, fine wines, or bird-watching.

The simple fact is that it won’t and shouldn’t happen. To fall in love with something is often being able to see things in the thing loved that often escapes others, even those who’ve read, seen, or known the same thing the lover has. Being unable to share a love with another is too common to note— such is the plebeian nature of anything that is ‘popular.’ We cannot escape Shakespeare’s admonition that: “Ripeness is all.” We will ofetn find ourselves alone in the loves we have— that isn’t a fault. But it seems in all camps that there are many people eager to find their love accepted by others. Too many are eager for acceptance and so respond breathlessly to any sign of public recognition of their love.

It was mentioned that you see attempts to ‘popularize’ scientific progress, and it was further suggested that philosophy could possibly ape this success. For reasons inapplicable to philosophy it is central to science to explain itself to the public. In science its popular appeal is easy to account for: since their projects often involve billions of public dollars (think of things like Hubble and NASA) it serves their interests to advertise it accomplishments and share them eagerly with the public, they need their public. In all truth, what could philosophy point to as an accomplishment that would be seen as ones by the public? Does philosophy really need or want a public when it will be the public that dictates its terms for its love?

In point of fact, philosophy often appears ridiculous to ordinary people, and I think they should not be faulted too much for this. What do you actually see in philosophy? For the most part you see academics proffering ideas that no one would object to with reasons no one can accept. Do you think Rawls’ ideas really matter in the public sphere? I mean, philosophy agrees that it isn’t right to gouge-out the eyes of new-born children with spoons, but it can’t agree on a reason why. So is the public really off base?

Yet when it comes to philosophy, I would think any sign of public acceptance should be viewed with intense suspicion. Why? Because the public has no taste for what philosophy offers. This is what led Gide to note:

“Inquiéter, tel est mon rôle. Le public préfère toujours qu’on le rassure. Il en est dont c’est le métier. Il n’en est que trop.”

[To disturb is my function. The public, though, always prefers to be
reassured, and there are some whose job that is. There are only too many.]

The role of philosophy is always to disturb. The public wants its prejudices confirmed, not questioned. It isn’t incidental that philosophy has often been opposed directly with even lethal violence (Socrates wasn’t put on trial for anything he specifically proposed). He was a thorn in the public hide and said so himself. Such a role has been the position of many ‘philosophers.’ That’s why the suggestion that philosophy is either ‘rigorous,’ or popular is something of a false dichotomy. The glorified ‘rigor’ is a residual of the British donnish influence, and the desire for popularity is our boredom with rigor expressing itself. I don’t think it’s been adequately appreciated the extent to which that most of the famous philosophers studied in any class were themselves non-professors. Philosophy has always depended for its existence on non-academics, (from Plato and Spinoza to Nietzsche and Sartre). The reason is subtle but has often been noted by such reluctant academics as Wittgenstein who often vigorously tried to talk his students out of getting a degree on philosophy. Why? Because he said, you’ll have to sell your soul in order to attain that degree in England (or elsewhere). Some of the finest words ever expressed about philosophy were directed to a student of Wittgenstein’s who had the temerity to say something quite stupid:

“What is the use of studying philosophy if all it does for you is to enable you to talk with some plausibility about some abstruse questions of logic, etc., & if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life, if it does not make you more conscientious than any…journalist in the use of the dangerous phrases such people use for their own ends. You see, I know that it’s difficult to think well about ‘certainty,’ ‘probability,’ ‘perception,’ etc. But it is, if possible, still more difficult to think, or try to think, really honestly about your life & other peoples lives. And the trouble is that thinking about these things is not thrilling, but often downright nasty. And when it’s nasty then it’s most important.”

He’s only mistaken about saying such pursuits are “not thrilling.” Few things in life are as thrilling as philosophy when it gets ‘nasty.’ And it does get nasty for the simple reason that on almost any position you care to cite, philosophy is opposed to the public’s beliefs, be they sacred or not. This is philosophy at its best. I think Nietzsche asserted this philosophical role most succinctly in Beyond Good and Evil (211) when he said:

“More and more it seems to me that the philosopher, being of necessity a man of tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, has always found himself, and had to find himself, in contradiction to his today: his enemy was ever the ideal of today. So far all these extraordinary furtherers of man whom one calls philosophers, though they themselves have rarely felt like friends of wisdom but rather like disagreeable fools and dangerous question marks, have found their task, their hard unwanted, inescapable task, but eventually also the greatness of their task, in being the bad conscience of their time.”

It’s the public’s glib acceptance of certain beliefs and convictions that make philosophy’s task paramount. In an unpublished comment Nietzsche wrote:

“A very popular error: having the courage of your convictions. Rather it is a matter of having the courage to attack your convictions.”

It takes no courage to have a conviction, but people unsure of themselves bother the crowd. Nothing bothers the human soul more than having its pride pricked. And being reminded that one’s convictions may be unwarranted and unsupportable is not something tending to create a sanguine public. One should have pride in not being to the public’s taste, and I seriously doubt if any real philosopher will ever have to fear that happening.

5. Forrest Noble - November 23, 2007

Although the full extent of the “incites” of most philosophies will escape the understandings of non-professional readers, there can always be a “scaled-down” version, the Philosophy 101 version. I believe a philosophy should provide some basic understanding for the average intellect (incite) for any philosophy to be fully functional, to reach its potential value by the presentation of its uniqueness, explained with relative ease. If said philosophy cannot be explained in basic terms to the masses, what value does it have to mankind in general excepting as a poetic-like understanding that can only be criticized or appreciated by the few? –and is ultimately only an interesting paradigm/ perspective, which I believe all philosophies are.

6. Moriae - November 23, 2007

I suppose it’s possible that philosophy can “incite,” but that that does happen very often is doubtful, except in Marxism. But Mr. Noble’s comments begs the question: does philosophy have an obligation to cater to the tastes of “the masses”? If the test test of any idea, be it philosophy or not, is to explain “in basic terms to the masses,” would hardly any worthy idea prevail? I doubt it, simply because of what the plebeian taste does to things. So why does the mass of mankind have difficulties with the “insights” offered in so many fields, including philosophy? One part of it has to do with the nature of the human condition. In this brief space I think I can offer three reasons why ignorance prevails happily among “the masses.”

(1) We tend not to take in what does not interest us. After seeing a number of people, I rarely recall what they wore because I’m not particularly interested clothes. I also do not notice their shoes, their jewelry, or makeup, but I will often notice the books they have with them. Likewise when I go to someone’s house, I will not likely remember the furniture, drapes, or carpet, but I usually do notice what books people have on their shelves at home, which is something many others do not often take in. Such is the nature of my interests at the moment. There are a billion examples of this in all of our lives.

Are the students that do well in classes really smarter than those who do not? Or is it not often the case that good students can concentrate on things presented in class that in any other circumstance wouldn’t interest them at all. Good students often aren’t any more enthralled with class materials than those who are utterly bored with it , nevertheless, they have trained themselves to be attentive to materials that might otherwise bore any conscious being.

So how do some people, and not the general mass of mankind, make use of materials they initially don’t grasp? It would be hard to explain to a student who is 18 the usefulness of studying French in a class. The fact is it ISN’T useful to an 18 year old student. But the point at issue is that few things are “useful” to an 18 year old student to begin with. It’s the 18 year old in a student who begs to find its usefulness while still being 18. Education is aming to the future, not the present. Coleman College does that, a university doesn’t. Most good students take a much different tack when it comes to the utility of offered information. The usefulness at the time of acquisition isn’t an issue to them, because what they count on is using this knowledge acquired at a different time (when out of school) when conditions and opportunities present themselves that couldn’t even be guessed at when only 18. These students learn French at 18 because they have an inchoate understanding that it MAY be much more useful learning French at 18 (when conditions are ripe) and that this may be ultimately useful getting a job in Paris when 30.

So the test of practicability isn’t useful to the inexperienced. What would be the criteria used to test this practicability in the inexperienced when they haven’t a clue about what their future may offer them as opportunities? Which leads to my second point:

(2) We do not take in things for which we have no eyes and ears because we lack the needed background; for example, necessary information or experience. This raises the crucial role of becoming educated in seemingly difficult and hard to understand topics and issues. An expert looking at a patient or a plant, a painting or a text will see a great deal that escapes the novice. It may take a doctor to notice the significance of some seemingly minor symptoms. Similarly, there is a great deal that children who see a performance of a play by Sophocles or Shakespeare are bound to miss, and as one grows and develops one is likely to make ever new discoveries when going to performances of the same tragedies. This is the foundation of education: the alleviation of ignorance. Unfortunately, it is a very long process and cannot be successful if truncated or watered-down. Experience and training go hand in hand. Why else would people read and reread the Bible throughout their lives—do you think new words are added every so often? That is the key with all literature in that rereading is rewarded because as you grow older you are in a position to see things you hadn’t been able to see. And if this experience is allied with education, the opportunity of not being counted as one with “the masses” becomes a chance to be someone to be respected for much different reasons. You can see the differences in people when we note how easily they can become content. When you read a Steven King novel, nothing is gained by rereading it again. That isn’t true of literature. Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Nietzsche and hundreds of others is an acquired habit which is gained through experience AND education. Hence, those who learn nothing from experience or lack an adequate education are unlikely to appreciate the finer things in life, and are more likely to appreciate the effects of Budweiser.

So why are such truths ignored by the masses? This leads to my third and last point.

(3) We tend not to take in what we would very much rather not see or hear. As Dick Cavett once quipped, “It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” In many areas of life we see this phenomena. Notice it in love life? How many lovers at the end of a relationship face up to the truth willingly? How many whine on and on about making up, trying something new, asking for forgiveness, and so on.
Many of you reading this now do not wish to hear how you are now making serious mistakes in life which will later interfere with the successful attainment of your goals. You aren’t likely to understand this until much later, and often at a time when it too late to mitigate the effect of the mistakes. Yet such is the lot of the human condition. What makes bad choices in life so tragic is not their severity, nor their persistence, it is their sheer predictability! And when the occasion arises later in life when you seek to instruct a child of yours about a serious mistake they are making (like expecting education to be “useful” to you at the point of acquisition), you’ll be witness to the same studied indifference to your experience that you likely gave to your own parents. How can we ever break out of this? This is why we study philosophy, history, literature, religion, and art. That’s where the clues to the answer lie.

7. Forrest Noble - November 24, 2007

talk about ignorance of the masses, I wrote incite but meant to “say” insight, but you knew that.

Moriae, I don’t agree that your first question/ point should have been — does philosophy have an obligation to cater to the tastes of the masses? According to my reply above, I think your first question should have been stated: do philosophers have an obligation to explain their point of view to the masses? (not exactly the same thing) The answer would still be the same, however, No! They are not obligated to do so.

(1) as you have suggested. No professional is obligated to explain anything to the masses. But many professionals do realize that if they can do so, it would better promote opportunities for themselves and for their philosophy. As Mr. Furrow our host suggested above, for philosophies and similarly in science, there is a scientific/ technical explanation including the math and “trade language” in scientific journals. Just as Philosophy journals require professional level language, explanations for a particular genre / professionals. But if the philosophy is deemed to be worthy of further study or consideration by the philosopher’s peers, either the philosopher himself or someone else would have to translate the philosophers thoughts so that his philosophies could be known socially, studied, or historically represented.

Your reasoning for ignorance among the masses, I believe, has a lot of validity but is not relevant to the point that communications still must take place for a philosophy to be utilized by as large an audience as possible, the more common the language the better the possible understanding. Granted not all facets of a philosophy can be communicated completely using simple language, but the best of it should be relatively simple to convey in my opinion.

(2) As for your second point, as a person studies Philosophy 101, if he were interested, he could be then ready for 102 etc. He would not have the ability initially to start-with studying 204 for example. Your point is granted, if the particular philosophical insight is build upon a base or body of previous knowledge such as higher mathematics is, then the novice would get no value from it. But if it is generally a new stand-alone perspective then it should be able to be explainable at least to the interested with a high school education.

Also granted is that respect is hard-won and often well-deserved, but to be pedantic usually is counter-productive. And, watch what you say about Bud the king of beers, that’s my drink.

(3) As for your third point, I see nothing wrong with it, no argument.

But the bottom line, to me anyway, is that although Philosophy in general is not the cup-of- tea for the masses, there are a few of us that are interested in the gamut of what life has to offer—and easy-to read philosophies might be a good start that might provide some with the incentive to continue a lifetime of study/ learning.

respectfully, forrest

8. Moriae - November 24, 2007

Mr. Forrest, I really do have sympathy for your desire to have something explained. I’m sure most philosophy professors (and others in their subjects as well) actually think they ARE explaining things in a variety of ways, and in that case only more questions by the perplexed would generate more and different explanations.

Yet I think a sharper point could be made by showing how many philosophers are actually very bad writers. People like Kant, Hegel, and Heidegger come instantly to mind. In the first two cases their writing habits were atrocious, rushed, lacking editing, and exhibiting constantly a fatal and steady instinct for an absence of clarity. Kant, for instance, would often write passages in his first Critique that went on three to five pages without a period–only in German could you pull that off. Add to Kant’s case that he used key terms inconsistently, and you can see why he has to be studied in graduate school.

On the point you made about needing to complete a 101 class before being able to understand a 102 class, I wish I could really support you on that. It’s a debatable point whether that should be the case, but I think at Mesa College (and other places too) that really isn’t the case. I seriously doubt (because its like that at other schools as well) that Mesa makes one class contingent on another. The same applies to State and UCSD. Hardly any assumptions are made about students when introducing them to philosophy. No doubt part of this trend is the nature of the university system that doesn’t interfere in the least with the professor’s choice of subject matter, topics, texts, or even goals. One would think that wouldn’t be the case, but at the university level professors only have themselves to account to.

But you seem to express the same difficulties that anyone going to college have for all subjects–not just philosophy. To many students, a college education seems a rather cold and impersonal experience. No one seems very concerned about the problems a student may have in college, and the ones who may appear concerned about students’ problems are actually paid to seem concerned about them. These realizations can be painful for aspiring students. Moreover, the persons who students would hope are most concerned about them turn out to be the very ones who are least concerned: their professors.

The impersonal nature of college is largely attributable to the fact that its professors a very different kind of bird from its students. Professors come from a very elite and successful group of former students, and to the average student they may even appear to be odd in their love of their subject. They were among the best students; they were selected to attend graduate school, and their performance at every level was always exceptional. To accomplish this, they either (a) had none of the problems that many students have (which alternative is actually quite unlikely), or (b) they faced the same difficulties as other students, but worked to overcome these difficulties very quickly. This is why many professors actually have difficulty empathizing with the problems their students have with the professors’ subject. Their very success set them apart from all the other contemporary students with whom they shared their own education.

It had never been an issue with professors to consider their own feelings when they studied, or to be less than enthusiastic about the subject matter they studied, or even to be motivated to look into their subject matter beyond that which they encountered in class. The fact that professors have earned degrees in the very subjects they teach graphically illustrates why they might convey little or no sympathy for students who don’t plan to major in their subject. For that subject was never difficult for them.

Too many students, who appear to have a thirst for simple answers, ready explanations, and instant gratifications, often ask their professors (often with a petulant tone of voice), “Why are we studying this? What am I going to use this for? How is this relevant to me?” Well, if you complete the assigned readings diligently, and have some inchoate interest in reading further related materials, then you may be in a position to understand why your professor chose this subject to master. Many areas in life require intimate knowledge and acquisition of depth of subject in order to appreciate why someone might love this subject–or why that subject may eventually retain some value for you, or even why that subject may be valued by society generally. It takes a certain courage and honesty to admit that as a student, you are not in any position to judge the value of a subject; and that to determine its potential value for you, you must exert the effort and do the necessary work to disclose to yourself just why that subject is valued. This is why the good learning habits of good students enable them to see what others who refuse to do the work cannot see: that the benefits of a college education, even if invisible to you now, become apparent to you later.

I’ve got to go to dinner, but rest assured I will pick this back up quite soon. Just do your job as a student—press the professors to clarify any issue, idea, or conception that seems opaque to you— that’s what they’re paid to do.

9. Forrest Noble - November 24, 2007

Thank you very much. Lots of good info in most everything you have said above. I’ve enjoyed reading it but think maybe your philosophy of life may be a little bit too cynical, do you think?

I am an aspiring student, all right, in almost every subject, was a math-science major but have a lot of opinions on lots of subjects. I was a teacher in these subjects at a College level but also continue to go to College–right now taking languages. I’m 64 years old but haven’t figured it all out yet, but I’m getting closer? The Budweiser seems to provide a lot of “valuable” insight!!

respectfully, forrest noble

10. Moriae - November 25, 2007

“Too cynical?” No, I think not. Such terms only make sense as a contrast with something else, and I’m at a loss to embrace other attitudes. But what’s “cynical” about noticing the role of adopted facades? If truth is to be ever served, then a critical attitude is crucial. And such a critical attitude would only deserve respect if we instinctively focus it on our more cherish tastes and values before we foist it upon the views we do not favor. Such is the heart on honesty.

11. Forrest Noble - November 25, 2007

Moriae, skepticism, I believe, is one of the more important facets of intellect. In “cynicism” I’m referring to the meaning “leaning toward a pessimistic point of view”. I also meant no offence by it, solely a perceived observation.

Optimism has its place in the world promoting happiness and bolstering spirits. A little “well-thought-out concern”, I believe, can also better motivate people to move toward their objectives/ goals. I also agree that a critical ability can serve a person well, but not always a critical attitude. “Too introspective” can also be a problem. Our tastes and values are important self motivators but to foist them upon others via criticism, as you pointed out, may often be construed as egotism.

Again, I enjoy your well-written words and thoughts,

your new friend forrest

12. Moriae - November 25, 2007

Well. thank you Forest. Actually the epithet of ‘cynic’ doesn’t bother me at all, nor is the association with ‘dogs’ objectionable. My experience is that the company of dogs is much more preferable to the company of many humans. After all, you won’t find dogs killing other dogs to get seventy-two virgin dogs in the great kennel in the sky. Only humans have the unexampled gall to believe such things.

But on a less humorous note I’d still like to defend the pessimistic view to some degree. The first point to be made is simply that the evidence supports it. Whether it be history, religion, or nearly any current event you care to note, the depressing nature of nearly every human act is noteworthy. There are many more murder worldwide than kind acts done to strangers for no reason. Every human victory is particular in nature, disparate in quality, and annoyingly infrequent. But these are victories nevertheless, and that’s why they are studied in the Humanities. If they were more frequent then the need to admire these victories would be diminished. They are important for the simply reason that they ARE rare. Why people are reluctant to note this rarity is curious to me. It is plain, but it is blatantly unaknowledged. The reasons may be many, but I think the desire of our pride to be flattered plays some role. We prefer to feel good than we do feeling bad. But if the truth tends towards the uncomfortable, the human response will be avoidance, not recognition. This is really the crux of the matter. I get no pleasure noting the often dispicable nature of many people, but in acknowledging this behavior what needs to be done becomes much clearer. I will not allow discomfort of an idea to become a guide for what is true. I think it is one of the true ironies of human life that many people count the disagreeable nature of a truth against the truth itself. That isn’t a trait to be proud of. As Shakespeare said: “Pity’s sleeping. Strange times that weep with laughing and not with weeping.”

13. Forrest Noble - November 25, 2007

Moriae, I don’t ascribe to the killing part, also there doesn’t have to be 72 either, they don’t even have to be virgins, as long as they’re good looking they’re O.K. by me, no dogs allowed!

We all have the option/ choice of looking on the brighter side of life, all but the naïve know there is a dark side but why spend your time there? Get into the sunlight – it can be beautiful if one perceives it that way. As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”– not outside of ourselves somewhere. The “annoyingly infrequent” comment, if you can relish small accomplishments then victories can abound. Perceptions of the good times or bad times again are only perspectives. Relish the small things. Stop to smell the roses—so to speak. I think avoidance often can be a valuable tool unlike an Ostrich sticking its head in the sand when a lion attacks. Laughing in the face of adversity may not be the way to overcome it, but neither is crying. Sadness can be a valuable human emotion. Enjoy it like a sad movie—but not for long.

Thanks again for your well considered words,
Your friend forrest

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