14 June 2006

The surge of heat continues in the Netherlands and since I've never lived anywhere save on the attics of houses, I know no different than my summers to be extraordinarily hot and sweaty.

So this is the perfect time to dig into heavy philosophy. As you may recall reading somewhere, in the past months I've made up my mind that I wanted to read some serious philosophy, and plenty of it. To take one summer, as it were, and shoot my brain all the way up to date of the important stuff. Because I felt seriously lacking in that department. As the good MC Kingsley of Herzog the Vile fame said to me (and I'm paraphrasing here): the people of today are still struggling with questions that were answered millennia ago. And in the light of my own petty problems, I thought I should transcend that and at the same time wizen up, lest I should be forever compared to the rabble.

So far I've read two books: The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell and The Prince by Nicolḷ Machiavelli. The former handles mythologies from all the corners of the world and argues their similarities all spring forth out of the ancient process of man's maturing struggles and the cycle of life and death; the latter is concerned with how to rule a state as a dictator, by any means necessary. As you can see, I don't restrict myself to any sort of boundary but hop across all terrains. Variety is the spice of life, after all.

Having read these two very interesting books, I'm now digesting Plato's The Republic. Plato being one of the ancient Greek philosophers, he practically wrote the book on philosophy. And what do you know -he did. I feel this is about as close to the core of the matter as you can get, so it was required reading for me. At the same time, I feel like an oeuf for reading this when I'm already 22 years old. Not that every time isn't the correct time to learn, but I feel these sort of basics should have been required reading when you're young. I know that the highest high school educations learn Greek and at the same time some of this, but it's all so pathetic that it's restricted to those scarce few.

And so, people like me who enjoyed but the standard runnings in high school are left to their own devices. We'll just have to figure it out for ourselves, where it could benefit so many more people. I say fie then on the schools of our country that are concerned only with useful, but ultimately petty trivia where they could also be teaching something that is infinitely more important.

Back to my own experiences: Plato. It's a bit arduous to read in the blistering heat of my towering penthouse, but it's rewarding nonetheless. I'm like a sponge: I'm gobbling it up and soaking myself with wisdom. Ancient, Greek, stark raving mad wisdom.