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Archive for Monday, May 26, 2003

Real philosophy

May 26, 2003

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To the editor:

The success of "The Matrix" movies proves one thing to me: Society is hungry for philosophy. While the Wachowski brothers' trilogy is undoubtedly full of incredible action, I believe the main reason people are drawn to it is for the ideas it presents about man's fundamental relationship to reality. That is what philosophy is, and it is something that we cannot live without.

Philosophy is not some kind of parlor game. It is a view of reality (metaphysics) and knowledge (epistemology) that is inescapable. Each one of us has a philosophy about these things, whether we recognize it or not. The question is whether you will go through life simply picking up a contradictory amalgam of ideas about these things from society, books you read, parents, church etc. or will you consciously attempt to develop your view of the world and man's relationship to it. Will you choose reason or mysticism? Individualism or collectivism? Free will or determinism?

The novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand presents one view of reality (objectivism) that has come to mean a great deal to me personally. According to the Library of Congress her epic novel "Atlas Shrugged" is the second most influential book in America next to the Bible. So what will your philosophy of life be? Objectivism? Christianity? Marxism? Only by studying philosophy intentionally can we escape the philosophical junk heap most of us have created and resolve the contradictory ideas that make our lives so unhappy. The alternative? Remain enslaved to the "Matrix" of borrowed ideas.

David Claassen-Wilson,

Lawrence

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