Leopoldo on the Duty to Philosophize

A Duty to Philosophize
Letters from Leopoldo Giordania to Arturo

Today you asked about philosophy. What a great question for a young man to ask. I am not formally trained in the discipline, but let me point to the difference between having a philosophy and philosophizing. One is what we think we know, the other is action!

Thoughts rush like a turbulent river, over and through us. We have little choice but to flow with them from birth to death. We are all in that river, Arturo, and when the truth is told, we are the river itself. Human beings think. Turning thoughts into a memorable, repeatable and useful philosophy is the goal of philosophy, but the act of doing this is philosophizing.

No one should have to embrace a particular philosophy, only to philosophize. This is one of the tenants most dear to Socrates, a man we’ve talked about at great length. Our minds travel in diverse directions, sometimes all at once. Mind can also become stubborn as a donkey. When that happens, remember this little joke. Kick your ass in the ass and keep going.

Some call Socrates the father of philosophy. That is a bit ambitious, but the life he lived, and the arguments he made, have influenced thinkers for centuries. He philosophized, debated, and challenged the thinkers of his time. In the end, they killed him for it, the whole while believing in their own piety.

Let me tell you a secret. Everyone around me claims to know God. That word to them is a noun. How can that be? I only know God as a verb. Nouns exist outside of the self. That is what Aristotle was all about, labeling things ad infinitum.

There is no money in philosophizing, so says the bastard. He may be right, but why condemn this old friend for intellectual curiosity? There is no value in money except what to do with it, so what does he do? Little of value. I love the bastard, but there is more to living.

You asked for my philosophy. It is to philosophize. That is my duty, pleasure and passion. Making and losing money is enticing. Ascending to power is going to be seductive, celebrity is alluring. But in the end, I am just Leopold and you are just Arturo. Your father can believe he is something more, but even that lovely bastard is just a man.

Here is a philosophy for you, be what makes you happy!