The cold winter we have had so far is really affecting my thought process. My brain has slowed down considerably and I’ve been mired in a deep trough of contemplation. I can’t seem to escape from this persistent question, “What is wisdom?” As I searched for something to read that would lighten my load, I ran across some notes I saved from college. Apparently, I’ve been thinking about philosophical stuff for a long time but it used to be more fun.
Back in the day, when I wasn’t chasing girls or playing Frisbee, I was studying the other great thinkers of history. I guess, when you’re twenty years old, even one rational thought qualifies you to be included in this group. And yes, I had more than my share of rational thoughts so you can stop snickering now. The revelation for me now is that my reaction to the wisdom of the ages was pretty flippant, but since I was the only one reading Spinoza during happy hour that might explain it.
I have always been good at taking notes. I write really fast and I’m good at remembering critical information. That’s how my love of famous quotations got started. If I ran across something worthwhile I wrote it down in my notebook. After a while, as the notebooks filled up, I started to add my own commentary to these classic examples of wisdom and deep thinking. Let me give you some examples of how my addled brain worked back then.
“I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way.” Carl Sandburg
“I’m a freshman. I don’t know where I’m going or how to get there.” Guy R. Horst
“One of the disadvantages of wine is that it makes a man mistake words for thoughts.” Samuel Johnson
“One of the advantages of wine is that it triples the dating pool.” Guy R. Horst
“When the candles are out all women are fair.” Plutarch
“When the lights are out all men are scared.” Guy R. Horst
“To know all things is not permitted.” Horace
“No wonder my GPA sucks.” Guy R. Horst
“A woman drove me to drink and I never even had the courtesy to thank her.” W.C. Fields
“A woman drove me to drink. I don’t know how I got home.” Guy R. Horst
“Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.” H.G.Wells
“Just ask a philosophy major with a student loan.” Guy R. Horst
“The older I grow the more I listen to people who don’t say much.” Germain Gidden
“The older I grow the more I listen to people who don’t drink much.” Guy R. Horst
“The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms.” Socrates
“The beginning of wisdom is the financial aid form.” Guy R. Horst
“They talk most who have the least to say.” Matthew Prior
“Beware of the professor who delivers his lecture even when no one comes.” Guy R. Horst
“Beware of the man who goes to cocktail parties not to drink but to listen.” Pierre Daninos
“Beware of the man who wants to drive you home after the party.” Guy R. Horst
“Lord give me chastity, but not yet.” Saint Augustine
“What the hell, send Chastity right over.” Guy R. Horst
“Happiness is the rational understanding of life and the world.” Baruch Spinoza
“Not to mention $1 shots.” Guy R. Horst
Now I feel a little better. The sun is out and it’s a balmy 15 degrees outside. Time for a walk with the dog. I hope you enjoyed my recollections. Here’s one more of my favorite quotes about philosophy that you might find useful. Frederic the Great once made this declaration, “If I wished to punish a province I would have it governed by philosophers.” If old Fred was still around, I would take that job.
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