Pitfalls of Philosophy

Nihanth Subramanya

I love thinking. Hypothesizing, analyzing, defining, interpreting, questioning, criticizing, modeling. I love it. Talk to me about anything and I will engage you for as long as we hold up, finding out what it means to you and negotiating language for communicating about it.

Everything leads to philosophy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Getting_to_Philosophy

Learning how to philosophize, to me, was about learning how to think, learning how to learn. It has enabled me to better understand some very abstract concepts pertaining to language, computer science, physics and metaphysics, and so on. And the more I’ve dived into it, the stronger I’ve become, mentally.

So with such positive effects, what could the pitfalls possibly be?

Nobody really gives a flying fuck.

It’s true. Most people, in my experience, don’t give a single fuck about what most things mean, or why they are the way they are. They just want to get their shit done and move on. So it’s rarely a social thing, and as Aristotle would say, I’m a social animal.

It gets lonely.

When you’re passionate about something nobody else gives a fuck about, you tend to become isolated and lonely. It sucks.

It makes me take myself too seriously.

I’ve learned that philosophy is almost dualistically opposite to comedy. If philosophy is about meaning, comedy, on some level, is about relief from it. Yin and yang.

It’s distracting.

As great as it feels to philosophize and discover meaning, it doesn’t actually get work done. It’s a drug and I’m an addict. And addicts tend not to be the most productive people.

It’s depressing.

I once saw a comment on Reddit that described depression along the lines of being let in on a secret that’s impossible to communicate, changes the way you see the world, and consumes you everywhere you go — how come nobody else sees what you see?

Philosophizing gets me to such a place. Because, as I describe in another post, truth is subjective, and absolute truth doesn’t really exist (or can’t be known, anyway). Truth is limited by language, so if my truth outpaces my expression, I get depressed.

It doesn’t fucking matter.

At the end of the day, philosophy’s utility is as a resource to inspire your actions and choices as you move through the world. All the knowledge in the universe has no meaning when stored and left untapped. It doesn’t matter how much I know or understand unless I use it to make life better.

It’s all the same, only the names change.

Paraphrasing Bon Jovi here. Even these seven points can be linked to one another and a case made for how they’re all really saying the same thing. And now I’m getting into linguistics. Do you see my point?

So yeah.

I’m trying to be less philosophical. My strategies include being more picky with what I engage, as well as dusting off my sense of humor, something I haven’t maintained nearly as well as I should have in recent years. It’s already working, and I find some of the more negative symptoms slowly going away.

Perhaps my relationship with the meta will evolve and find a balance, but in the meantime, it’s time to just play the damn game for a while. 🎮

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