Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Different Philosophy - Teenager Style

WHEN I heard the learn’d astronomer;   
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;   
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them;   
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,   
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander’d off by myself,   
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,   
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.”

Who am I? What makes me think that I have thoughts that are worthy of a blog? What makes me worthy of being called a philosopher? What gives me the right to philosophize? After all, I am nothing but a high school student, albeit a good one.

WHEN I read the wise philosopher;
When the reasons, the arguments, were laid in front of me;
When I was explained the reasons and purposes, to grow, learn, and appreciate them;
When I, sitting, heard the philosopher, where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-hall,
How soon, unaccountable, I became curious and thought;
Till rising and walking out, I wander’d off by myself,
In the dark and un-lit library, and from time to time,
Look’d up at all the wisdom surrounding me.

Plato and Socrates were teenagers once as well. I am not saying that I am as great a thinker as they (despite claims by Facebook quizzes), but everybody has wisdom inside them. Every day we rationalize our world, and try to understand it. We all are philosophers, and each focus on what is most important to them. There is now a venue for my philosophy; why should I not write what I think of the world?

No idea is truly unique. As the William Ralph Inge said, “Originality is undetected plagiarism.” I’d like to disagree, but his argument is sound, especially when coupled with Benjamin Franklin’s, "Originality is the art of concealing your sources.” Everybody builds their ideas off the basis of others. My ideas and beliefs are not unique, nor are they necessarily profound. There is one thing that nobody else can claim the opposite of, though. They are mine. Not solely, in many cases, but they are what I believe. In an increasingly narcissistic world, that is a valid argument.

If you want to hear what an American teenager has to say, you are welcome to hear it. Perhaps I'll end up at the University of Chicago for philosophy, and you can say that you read me when I was in high school. Probably not, though. If you do not want to hear what I have to say, nobody is forcing you.

Welcome all, and have a nice day.