Thursday, November 18, 2010

Studying philosophy, part 1

I recently became interested in what it means to me as a student to be studying philosophy. I will try to explore that in upcoming posts. I will begin by sharing a letter I wrote to a fellow volunteer.

Preamble: I volunteer as a Peer Helper. Part of this Volunteering involves being on a Committee. I am on the Student Transition committee. We meet once a week with tea, coffee, and baked goods. Students can come in and talk for an hour. The head of this committee, aware that my mother killed herself, was very upset when the group had a conversation regarding suicide. She emailed me and expressed concern. I thought that I would share my response, as it involves how I see philosophy. It's a bit cheesy because I was trying hard to reassure her. The other thing to gather is my dislike of people being concerned about me, which has little to do with philosophy.


The world philosophy day was set in Iran. There was a concern expressed that freedom of thought would not be permitted, as the government of Iran has shut down many humanities programs in the university were the conference was being held. There have also been deaths and imprisonment's. The concern was that the government would use the world Philosophy day (put on by Unesco to allow for a wider variety of philosophical interests.) The group that [name removed] belongs to sent someone to ask the PSU to send a letter to our Chair to endorse moving it (if that makes any sense.) World philosophy day is now in Paris.

I really didn't find the conversation disturbing or upsetting. I find microskills disturbing because it requires self-reflection and self-analysis. Even if I had found it upsetting that isn't necessarily a bad thing, although in that case I would have wanted to talk it over with someone. I study philosophy because it challenges my beliefs, sometimes it can be unbalancing but once you regain your balance you've gained something. You know, we seem to be talking after all. I think I find it confusing when people are worried about me. I don't want conversations to be censored because I am in a room. It'd be missing part of life.

Sincerely, Jesse.

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