10.22.2006

VP on philosophy

from the first chapter of Varjak Paul's On Philosophy: Function and Mystery

"Philosophy, or a vast portion of it, is like the small child who stands before a mirror and, for the first time, realizes it is himself who is looking back. Being still, thinking, "The eyes that see me seeing are mine, the mind that thinks what I think is mine; I exist", that is the most fundamental philosophical thinking, and yet, it is undertaken infrequently. But why? Because such pure knowledge is virtually unattainable. There are fleeting glances, moments in which the mind and soul are, in conjunction, able to see how the functional and mystical collide. Such moments are, understandably, few and far between.

Philosophic thinking, then, even when nearing its best, is a distant relative of those moments of absurd insight, those brilliant stretches of the heart, when to the intellect conjoined. Inherently so few and far between, such moments are unfit as permanent lodging, even for the most rugged of thinkers. Rather, the functional, day-to-day grinding of the mental mill is what keeps philosophy moving forward, even if glacially. The trick is to remain watchful, for new mirrors appear in the strangest of places."

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