I am alone.
I need solitude: to feel, to think, to be me.
I am seriously intense and potent.
It is all part of it.
Today is the first day before tomorrow,
And the last day before the past.
There is bliss, I have felt it.
There is also pain (who hasn’t felt that)
To be whole and alive I need to read and write.
It beats the hell out of sleeping (I need that too.)
I can love or feel it for longer than most people do it.
I feel too much. I think too much. I need to be alone too much for your average care bear.
In this dialogue, the student is learning to be a philosopher. To love wisdom, is a way of being and it requires passion and reason. The philosopher is showing the student the ways to learn in order to find the best ways to apply the knowledge to being a student. At this point, the student has been a teacher for many years. But the philosopher is the real old boy. Even though the student has good understanding of teaching, he does not know how to be a philosopher. The frustration the student feels is muddying his ability to learn. So, the philosopher is showing him how to clean his mind and practice being a philosopher.
Student: I have gone to school for many years. And I have been a teacher for just as long. I am even beginning to see how and why I must give up knowledge and power to become a philosopher. But why must I keep all this wisdom to myself?
Philosopher: I must still be a student, teacher and keep all this wisdom to myself. What do you want to know?
S: Epictetus is a great Stoic. He never wrote down a word, but he shared his knowledge and wisdom. He had power. Why can’t I do as he did?
P: You are not Epictetus. He learnt using the great Socratic method. Can you do that method and still be a philosopher?
S: You teach me using riddles. What do you mean? Speak plainly, tell me the truth.
P: I do not know the truth. You might answer this question yourself, if you were not ready to throw in the towel. All those great philosophers and all the history of their ways allow us to find a method that works for us. At some point, the fact and experience will allow the willing to give up power and knowledge to become a philosopher.
S: Yes, I understand I must apply the principles to my own experience, but why must I give up power and wisdom?
P: Just for one minute a day, try giving it up. This is how another great philosopher learnt to put principles into practice.
S: You make it sound like a history lesson. You are just a leached out old grandfather trying to tell me how to live the good life.
P: Yes, and you are tired of giving up your power and wisdom.
S: No I’m not, you keep telling me to do it.
P: I’m going to stop. You must walk your own way. Hold on to power and wisdom for one minute each day and keep at it for a whole month, if you can. But at the same time, give up power and wisdom for a minute at another convenient time on the same day, compare the two, try it for a whole month. See if you can tell which one leads to the truth. However, if you can learn to practice being a philosopher everyday, you may just become like the ‘leached out old grandfather’.
In this dialogue, the myth of a better way is exploited by the two principle players. Yet, as with the idea of the old cliché, sometimes it is more important to do than to believe. Each of us has a body and mind to guide us on this journey we call life. It is not always proper to spell out the differences based on what we say and do. It is easy to be mislead by belief, desires, and even passion. But they all influence our choices, actions, and even belief. It may seem simplistic to say each to their own, but the truth does not lie. And somewhere in there we can begin to be a better person.
History: One must have a laser focus and use the best method.
Herstory: What do you mean? Tell me, or show me, if you must.
His: Aristotle had some amazing ideas, but until Ptolemy and other Aristotle disciples can see past their noses, I can not see anyone progressing much beyond this ‘fire and brimstone’ way of being.
Hers: Being human is a messy business. We fight over life itself. We must live, love, laugh?
His: I propose a reexamining of history based on the method used by the great philosophers. This way, we can stay the course till we find a firm footing on belief or way.
Hers: I believe you (I believe you believe you). In which method, there are many methods or at least there are more methods than we use at present.
His: I realize the scientific method has sent us too far down the road. One needs compassion, the east has shown us that we need manners and methods and compassion.
Hers: These seem to go out the window during a fight. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
His: A good fight wouldn’t hurt anyone.
Hers: War? Peace? Pestilence?
His: Morals and ethics?
Hers: There lies the rub. What is the solution?
In this dialogue, it is important to note that Alexander the Great had passed away and many of his mighty generals were fighting over power, property, and politics. As many riches were being used to forge forms out of great ideas. Many individuals awakened to ideas and resources, as if the treasures of the world had suddenly materialized. The banquet begins with a group of philosophers attending lectures at the two great schools. And in their midst’s, grow other fine schools described by the teachers.
Skeptic: As the latest newcomer, I have many questions. I shall leave no stone unturned, because knowledge is power. And we believe to know is to understand which will build the mind, body and use of everything else. This method creates a journey and the proper use of impressions. Yet, did not Plato mean the same truth when he and others questioned living the good life?
Forms: I’m afraid, my friend the skeptic is just a division of another of Plato’s forms. There are other way’s to question. We now see many schools in Athens: Plato, Aristotle, Epicurean, Stoic, Cynic and Skeptic. These I call schools but they are ways to live the good life or so they all claim.
S: Yes, I agree these schools compete in Athens. Today we all crave fame and fortune. We all claim to know how to live the good life. But have we defined our terms of reference? Are each of us, as individuals, able to live the good life in our own way? In this way, could we have all found the way? Look to the east, are there not ways that work for many people?
F: Many people need terms or definitions: religion, philosophy, ideas, poetry, and more. We leave the system open, closed and in degrees of these two extremes. We all seek answers, knowledge, power, wealth, materials. Some of us more than others. There is too many variables to define even one way.
S: Yet, we have joined together to practice universality in our schools. We explore many more ways to reach a better way. Our answers we use to build a mind in ourselves to be better people, governments, institutions; we are creating information and technology.
F: We chase our tails and we invent toys. We fight intellectually. We even fight to find ourselves. Like our friends the Cynics, who give up all possessions to find their true selves. They are truly philosophical and homeless. And yet, freedom, equality, and many fine ideas are here to stay. We build great cities.
S: I want to have the ultimate answer. But like Plato, I realize it will not unveil itself to me in this body. I must die. I must be as good as I can be. We all struggle for peace. The stoic says not to dwell on pleasure. The Epicurean says not to dwell on pain. Plato’s school tries to build the heaven on earth. Aristotle’s school tries to let each individual do his best. The Cynic takes it to the finest degree as you have said about the homeless philosopher. And I, as a skeptic, will question all these ways and build my own. Who is right?
F: I insist Plato is right. But we all insist we are right. More people will find more ways. It is an epic story that will build institutions, governments, philosophies, information, technology and some semblance of peace and prosperity.
In this dialogue, me and my future are at stake in the real drama of my life. Everyone of us stand beside ourselves and choose which way to live. In a real sense we are athletes that exercise our brains to have more of what works in our day to day lives. In this conversation, a time traveler pleads for help: simplicity, compassion and patience.
Me: How are you doing old boy?
Old Boy: You certainly sound chipper!
M: What happened to your leg?
OB: Broke it in a biking accident.
M: Looks lame.
OB: Yup. Do you ride?
M: Yup. And I wouldn’t give it up for nothin.
OB: Could ya slow down?
M: What’s the fun in that?
OB: Is it worth it?
OB: Can you prevent an accident? Would you want to try?
M: Ofcourse I would.
OB: Slow down.
M: Train your Brain, the best way, mindful, knowing yourself. I wish I’d spent more time allowing myself to discover the wonderful nature of my mind.
OB: It’s not to late. Who knows, small steps every day will add up. Either to a broken lame leg or a better one.
M: Like changing a brain can save lives? You must be joking?
OB: No, I am a safety first kinda guy. But start with yourself first. You can’t help anyone if you don’t help yourself.
M: What no ‘love your neighbor ‘?
OB: Ya, train your brain, train your body, train your family and friend and your neighbor. Maybe, tip the world to go in a better direction. But start at the source. Use a little simplicity, compassion and patience. Your choice.
In this dialogue, two famous philosophers talk about societal problems as acceptable male behaviour. Why do we need to hear it? Because it shows the extreme poverty that culture has had in the past. It also explains the need for treating people better, wiser, with sanity: a charter of human rights is essential.
Plato: none of them are Greek therefore none of them are fit for serious study.
Aristotle: Yes, if future generations see our chauvinism as bad what would they think of us condoning paedophilia treating women as subordinate or slavery?
P: I do not chase boys or harass women but a slave is the treaty question.
A: We mostly tolerate these bad habits of our Greek upper class but what of it. Doesn’t every culture have bad habits.
P: Socrates would say these habits are better left unpracticed.
A: Do you agree?
In this dialogue, two personas exemplify a normal state of mind to discuss an unacceptable one. It is often misunderstood or considered unimportant. Today things like sleep deprivation and gallstone pain are common problems that are reaching epidemic proportions. Yet, the state of mind, is hardly taken seriously and needs to be expressed better in literature and culture. Common concerns are often overlooked due to ignorance and lack of compassion. This story is trying to kill two birds with one stone.
Insanity: Had another f***ing tantrum, just about lost my cookies on that one.
Sanity: What set you off. Did someone mess with you i.e.) punch you, shoot you, put you in the hospital?
S: You get some kind of bad ass news? You fired? Get the death sentence? Loose someone important to you?
S: What then?
Is: Well, first, I told you it was a tantrum. But, I think it’s more like a mood swing because I’ve had this difficult sleeping problem for the last couple of years.
S: Really, what is wrong?
Is: I think I need surgery for gallstones. It’s painful enough to wake me every night and I have a tough time getting eight hours sleep.
S: So, you are sick and you deny it. And you are sleep deprived and getting mood swings.
S: Good enough.
In this dialogue, the softness in their voice is difficult to pin point. The valor and feelings make speaking a tide that ebbs and flows. She’s alright in her fashion and he is the distraction. He is a strong note of contention for her acceptance and passion. They drift along a shore. They paddle out. They get more. They want peace. They like action. They fill out the reaction. Looking for love, they find more and more and more…
Him: Can you feel your voice rising and falling? Is it more of a vibration? Does it come and go? I just want to go out from the shore.
Her: Yes. Yes. Yes. I want beach and sand. Till, the water breaks on shore. I like the shore. More, more, more!
Him: You feel the wave passing through your legs. You always look. I see you breath. Hold my hand in yours.
Her: Ya. Come on out, let’s swim out to the breaking waves. You want my hand, you are light, I can pull your body next to me.
Him: Don’t do that, unless you want to, I am happy with your hand. Let’s body surf these waves.
Her: Let’s get some.
In this dialogue, two savvy voters discuss the looming compromise to keep the B.C. Liberals in power, to keep the B.C. Greens growing towards the third alternative. On the liberal side you keep the power structure in play for a couple more years. And maybe learn a thing or two about greener ideas for proportional voting, climate change and human rights/ cooperation and collaboration.
BC Greens: We are tired of letting the planet go to pot. We need to stop all the pollution. We need to figure out a way to implement good change without fracturing the power structure. You liberals need to have our help. If you expect to have a majority for a couple more years. At least that’s what I read in the paper.
BC Liberals: What about these media people? They worked pretty hard last night dealing with this big news. I was reading the Globe & Mail this morning, they set out most of the information, analysis, and strategy for our new government.
BCG: You think? I believe the NDP may garnish us a better future. After all, they offer the voter a $400 rent subsidy. And your optics seem to find it difficult to give our party official party status: an office, budget, and staff!
BCL: Hey, Christy is looking good. We won the popular vote and we won the most seats. You can’t forget the last 16 years! We have made it possible for your party to exist. I mean both the NDP and Liberals have had fights and worked through many issues over the years. You guys are the new kids on the block.
BCG: Ya, we are mostly young smart people with power and money from people who earn their way through political change. We are tired of big money from the unions and business. We want ‘fair trade’ in our politics. We are listening to the people who vote for us and we build a party for them. Hell, we are them.!
BCL: Well, we might be getting a little long in the tooth. And we are also a party that believes in its people. Our country is democratic and our liberal principles make it stay democratic. That’s the way it is. So, unless you can prove to me that are ideals that need replacing, I think I will wait for the final count to come in over the next couple of months.
BCG: Ya, we believe you. That’s why you are going to support our private members bills and honor us with party status. And we will give you another couple years of ‘clean air’.