(pic source/credit: #philosophy memos)
According to the numbers divulged by #Publico (PT daily newspaper, 35.000 circulation- https://www.publico.pt/2016/12/18/sociedade/noticia/-a-filosofia-esta-de-volta-1753263), the places available for the Philosophy degree at public Universities were readily taken at the first stage of the national contest. The article goes on speculating and evaluating the data while interviewing several students and teachers regarding the utility of such a degree in today’s context.
It’s true that Philosophy access might be easier than many other courses (Medicine, Economics, Engineering) in what it comes to grades, but these numbers and especially the question “why study and what use is there for Philosophy” can’t be ignored as a sign of times to come, which we all hope more devoted to reasoning than warfare.
The fact is that for everyone else than people who studied or show a true interest in Philosophy might be too hard to notice that Philosophers took a step back or were told to shut up and sit. People who merely contacted with Philosophy at school, or people who never, ever saw something special on being friends with knowledge might even have never noticed the slow and excruciating disappearing of Philosophers as political, economical, and social advisers. No team, no government would hire now someone connected with Philosophy or someone with a background exactly built upon questioning and exploring contradiction. There might be exceptions around the vast world, of course, but the general tendency for Thinkers is not to be there, where decisions are truly made.
It wasn’t always been like this, you know. The very fundaments of Politics and the theories Politicians so publicly ravage, were most written by Philosophers. Men and women who devoted their time into looking into themselves as their own guinea pigs, attending to every detail, mental, physical, social, communal thus leaving us books and documents which are the healthy root of a Tree that just spread too many rotten arms: Statistics– which fails us so much these days because it does not question its own methods and just puts every sensibility in the same dirty recycled opinion bag; Sociology-which doesn’t scratch deep enough to bleed out the true problems from its object of study, leading us at random and dying at the shore; Economics which are nothing but toxic and mass murderers of nations; Religion- left on a leash too long without true, valuable criticism except that from neurologists which might be the only ones truly exploring the mind these days.
I am reading Voltaire for the past month or so. I am reading a lot of it. Right now, I am gulping through pages of his Treatise on Toleration (to be read Tolerance at today’s light) and I can’t help myself thinking why isn’t #Antonio Guterres (recently appointed to take office as UN’s President) reading the same book on his free time and why isn’t he coming to the philosophical conclusion that History is repeating itself, with the once secondary actors claiming the stage and wanting to write their memories in blood. Oh! Wait a minute, Antonio Guterres wouldn’t like Voltaire’s notion that Monotheism (at Voltaire’s time Catholicism, now Islamism) is murderous and that in older times and older civilisations Religious liberty was more evolved and that Religious persecution was minimal until Christians came along. After all, Antonio Guterres was the man who almost transformed a lay country like ours into a Christian harbour for the rich and the wealthy.
If Politicians understood that Philosophy contains everything else and lays basis for anything else, they would hire and take seriously the idea of having people who know where Politics come from and can walk their way into its serious foundations and fundaments. The student’s number rise in the best Public Universities provides at least reasonable doubt about the future and about how the power seats might be occupied and used. After all for every Philosophy diploma is one less lawyer, marketer, sociologist for the ranks of people who want to be inside the system, rather than questioning it.
All of this could be discussable of course. But for that you need Philosophy. That’s the use of it. Kant once drew a map, which he put into words which we take time to connect and concoct. He explained why a plate can be a plate because it’s a circle first and foremost. And why we see other plates and relate them; and circles in the sky and know they are circles. He once told us about a cool as fuck Europe, where what happens today wouldn’t happen. He told us many things but for most of you and most of our actual politicians he was just a bore that people set their watches to.
Hannah Arendt explained us why evil is but natural. Voltaire was little short of being a rockstar on his day.
They had only one job: Thinking. And they excel at it.
Now, politicians multitask our demise.