The Aristotelian Mindset

One of my housemates studied Philosophy at University. This study led him to develop the habit of comparing his own life and ideologies with that of the quotes taken from philosophical intellectuals he had learnt of throughout his degree. The most prevalent quote he attempted to live his life by was a quote from Aristotle; “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

His enthusiasm to pursue the quote led to some diabolical extremities. In our household if we were even to discuss something as nominal as a acquaintance having changed their hair colour or the enjoyment we had experienced during a particular excursion, we would be met with a glance of disdain from him followed by a tut of discontent which would always go off in a room like a gunshot. After a few months of immaculately careful conversational topic selection my housemates tolerance, and that of my own wore thin. We eventually had to sit him down and explain, that whilst good in concept Aristotle’s quote did not work when applied to the modern day. To hazard a guess as to why, I would think it is due mostly to the growth of conceptuality in the generic human mind as all humans are now capable of thought that fulfils all brackets of Aristotle’s quotation at surprising ease. In an attempt to remove him from his pursuit of a so-called ‘strong mind’ I used what I’m going to here after refer to as the footballing analogy to explain this to him. Which when detailed was met with a surprisingly minimal amount of resistance and a seemingly effervescent acceptance in the antagonist.

The explanation goes as follows; I have been in many a pub and listened to all a football fan can discuss about an individual player. The player’s appearance, which I find is near always based upon the commenter’s opinionated view towards said player, this depicts the discussion of a person thus fulfilling the ‘weak minds’ description. Although the aforementioned fan could just as easily discuss an event where said player has scored thus filling the ‘average minds’ quota with the recollection of an event. It comes even easier for these fans to enter into the discussion of how the team could be improved tactically to exponentially increase the output of the player often with such a prevailing confidence that leaves listeners questioning the teams’ manager’s own practiced views. Which in retrospect is a theory, wholly embracing that of a ‘strong mind’. This, in Aristotle’s allegorical terms seems to make the generic football fan a modern day intellect. I am very dubious to accept this as the truth and after the explanation, as was my philosophical housemate, thus putting an end to his desire to epitomise that of an Aristotelian ‘strong mind’.